Magic Extend Winning Streak with Victory over Wizards in NBA Showdown
ORLANDO, Florida — Franz Wagner scored a season-high 31 points, Jalen Suggs added a season-best 22 and the Orlando Magic rolled to their eighth straight victory, 139-120 over the Washington Wizards in the NBA on Wednesday night.
One night after being eliminated from the NBA’s inaugural In-Season Tournament by a tiebreaker, the Magic shot 60.7% overall and made 17 of 27 from 3-point range in the opener of a two-game series. The teams play again Friday in Orlando.
“I’m going to stick with one game at a time,” Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said. “We’ve got Washington again on Friday, so we’ve got to prepare for it the right way.”
Cole Anthony had another big game off the bench with 25 points. The Magic’s win streak is one short of the franchise record set in 1994 and matched twice in this century.
“You start analyzing the schedule and things like that, you start to lose,” Suggs said. “Attention to detail, I think that’s one thing that’s made this run, and this start of the season, so special for us. We’re so locked in in any situation.”
Kyle Kuzma led Washington with 24 points. Deni Avdija added 22 and Jordan Poole scored 19. But the Wizards, who have lost 10 of 11, couldn’t keep up with the Magic in the second half.
“At half we were down 10, still within striking distance, but they got it going from 3 in the second half,” said Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. “We tried to amp up the pressure a little bit which opened up some 3s, but they move the ball. They’re set and ready. We just have to get there with a little more urgency.”
The big offensive games by Wagner, Suggs, Anthony and the Magic bench (65 points, 19 assists) more than compensated for Paolo Banchero’s least productive game of the season. The Magic’s top scorer had six points and four turnovers before turning his ankle and leaving the game in the third quarter.
“I think it’s really cool the way we’re figuring out how we want to play, and this game was a good example,” said Wagner, who shot 11 for 14 with four 3-pointers. “The first half we were up 10 but we weren’t playing the way we want to play, and it’s good that we have that awareness. We don’t (just) want to be really good now; I want to be really good at the end of the season, and that’s why we’re going to keep getting better.”
Orlando’s bench took over in the final quarter and stretched the lead to 21 on a spectacular dunk by Anthony with 6:40 remaining. It was Anthony’s sixth straight game of 15 or more points, all off the bench. In those six games he has averaged 20.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists.