1. Jan. 15 — Showtime in Los Angeles
There is something special about wins on the West Coast. The 10:30 p.m. tipoffs mean only the most committed of fans are up watching. Most people wait for the next morning to see the results and try to piece together what happened.
So as the Orlando Magic took the court against the Los Angeles Lakers, the expectations were largely hoping that the game could be competitive. When the Magic opened up a double-digit lead in the first half with B.J. Johnson stepping in off the bench with Evan Fournier out to give a huge boost that was something else.
And considering that D.J. Augustin was out and Josh Magette was recently cut, the team had only one traditional point guard in Markelle Fultz to use. It felt impossible the Magic would even be in this game.
They not only were in the game, it was their game to win or lose. And even as the Lakers came back, the Magic pushed them aside.
In Markelle Fultz’s case, literally pushing aside LeBron James on his way to the basket.
This was undoubtedly Fultz’s coming out party on a national stage. He had a triple-double with a then-career-high 21 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists and controlled the tempo of the game. It felt like confirmation that he was someone the team could turn to.
It helped too that Fultz hit the floater over James that gave the Magic the lead for good in the dying seconds. Further proof of his clutch bona fides.
There were just so many moments in this game. Aaron Gordon put on a dunk show with one off the backboard for a one-handed jam and then a monster slam over JaVale McGee.
It was undoubtedly the top game of the 2020 season for the Magic.
It was a game that was worth staying up for 100-percent.