The Orlando Magic were down 10 in the first quarter but rallied to end the first quarter up by four capped off with a late 3-pointer from Paolo Banchero and never looked back in a 117-109 victory at TD Garden on Friday.
This was one of the Magic’s most impressive wins so far. They won this game by playing elite defense and absolutely dominating the rebounding battle.
The Orlando Magic rode a strong defense and rebounding effort to outlast the Boston Celtics and take home their most impressive win to date.
Orlando outrebounded Boston 53-38. They had six players grab at least five rebounds, and the three centers on the team combined for 28.
Mo Bamba lead the team in rebounds with 12 off the bench, followed by Bol Bol and Moe Wagner both pulling in eight. That included Bamba grabbing five offensive rebounds to lead the Magic to 15 offensive rebounds.
He was not alone taking on the glass with Wagner adding four and Fultz adding three. The accounted for 20 second-chance points with those offensive rebounds, so they made sure to convert every time down the floor.
This was the most dominant the Magic have ever looked on the boards, and they grabbed rebounds on both sides of the ball.
The Magic’s defense was almost as impressive as their rebounding performance.
They held the Celtics to 41.7 percent from the field and 23.9 percent from three. Of the 10 players who attempted a shot for the Celtics, seven shot 45 percent or worse, and six of them shot 25 percent or worse from three.
They even locked in on Boston’s superstar duo. Although Jayson Tatum had 31 he shot just 9 for 20 and 2 for 6 from three. Jaylen Brown shot 7 for 17 on 4 for 10 from deep.
But enough about the Celtics’ performances, tonight was about the Magic’s electric win. Let’s look at the award winners for tonights Magic game.
MVP: Moe Wagner
Moe Wagner has continued to show out in his increased playing time due to the injury of Wendell Carter Jr. Wagner who was not getting many minutes to start the year, is showing the team that he can contribute as he has started his eighth consecutive game.
Wagner was all over the place tonight doing a little bit of everything. He contributed a team-high 25 points on 9-for-12 shooting, 1-for-2 from three, and 6-for-6 from the free throw line. He added eight rebounds, four offensive and four defensive, along with an assist and a steal, and some solid defense.
Wagner was dominant around the hoop and driving to the hoop. He had a couple of dunks, a couple and-ones and a lot of good drives to the hoop. He even had a nice baseline pass to Kevon Harris for a dunk.
Wagner was for sure the MVP of this one.
Defensive Player of the Game: Markelle Fultz
Markelle Fultz in his eighth game back was solid too. He had 12 points on 5-for-10 shooting with four rebounds and four assists. His biggest contribution however came from the other side of the ball.
Fultz was fantastic on defense. He had two steals which led to five points for the Magic, a block and was right in front of Marcus Smart all night. He was given Smart as his assignment and held him to 3-for-9 shooting, 1 for 7 from three and a turnover.
His quick hands and feet were getting the Magic out running in transition early and often, and he ended the game with a +2 plus/minus rating. Fultz set the tone defensively early on and was a key part of one of the Magic’s best defensive games this year.
What has been seen so far of Fultz on both sides of the ball this season is tremendous but tonight he stood out defensively.
6th Man of the Game: Mo Bamba
Mo Bamba was great in his role off the bench and did exactly what was expected of him. He had 8 points, 12 rebounds, an assist and a steal, with a team-high +15 plus/minus. The Magic were at their best tonight when he was on the floor and that shows in his plus minus.
Offensively Bamba did a little bit of everything. He was great as the screener in the pick-and-roll, he finished around the rim with some nice dunks, and hit a big three-pointer late in the fourth quarter. He was also persistent on the offensive boards. He pulled in five of them which led to three points for the Magic.
Defensively this was Bamba’s most promising games. This may seem interesting as the lengthy Bamba is normally known for his shot-blocking. Even though he did not record any blocks this was a game that showed maturity in Bamba’s defense.
Bamba was not block-excited or block-heavy today. He was not jumping too much to try to get blocks and was not leaving his man or over-rotating to try to get blocks. He was poised on defense, made good contests and played great help defense and good defense in pick and roll situations.
So him not recording a block does mean he was not a presence in the paint. Along with his great defense he pulled in seven of his 12 rebounds on the defensive end. After every shot went up Bamba boxed out and tried to put himself in position to get a rebound. Whether it went in or not he was always ready, which is exactly the hustle and fight you wanna see from Bamba.
Rookie of the Game: Paolo Banchero
This award was pretty easy to handout as Caleb Houstan ended the game with a DNP, but that does not mean Paolo Banchero’s performance should go unnoticed.
He has 20 points, five rebounds, five assists and a steal. The rookie continued his impressive season on a big stage against a quality opponent.
Offensively Banchero was scoring from all three levels with ease. He made three of his six threes and dominated the paint inside to go with some mid-range shots. He started off the game hot scoring 13 of his 20 in the first quarter including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end the first to give the Magic a two-possession lead.
Scoring was not his only way of contributing, he had 5 assists that lead to 11 points from the Magic. His playmaking is getting better as the year goes on and he is learning how to really set up his teammates. He brings his average to 3.9 assists after tonight.
Defensively, Banchero had a steal and four defensive rebounds along with some solid perimeter and post-defense throughout the game. Banchero got the assignment of superstar Jayson Tatum which is never an easy task. However, he was poised, moved his feet and contested to make things hard on Tatum. He forced him to fight for everything.
Banchero’s improvement on both sides of the ball is outstanding.