Big Scoring Performances From Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier Help Magic Beat Nets

by Josh Cohen

The Lead

Although still undermanned, the Orlando Magic showed Friday against a Brooklyn Nets team that had previously won 14 of their last 15 games what they are capable of when they get outstanding production from several of their core guys and stay composed down the stretch. Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier each scored season highs, Nikola Vucevic came close to a triple-double and the Magic’s defense, just as it’s been the last several games, was stellar in Orlando’s 121-113 victory.

Top Performers

The Magic were able to snap their nine-game losing skid behind sensational performances from Gordon and Fournier. Playing in just his third game over Orlando’s last 20, Gordon exploded for 38 points on 14-of-20 shooting from the field and 7-of-8 from 3-point range. Fournier, meanwhile, was just as sharp, scoring 31 on 10-of-13 shooting overall and 6-of-8 from downtown.

Top Storyline

If the Magic continue to play defense the way they have the first five games coming out of the All-Star break, they’re going to be very competitive and win a fair share of games the rest of the way. Holding James Harden, an MVP candidate, to just 4-of-15 overall shooting and Joe Harris to 3-of-13 3-point shooting is no easy feat.

Clutch Moments

Two 3-pointers down the stretch, one from Fournier and the other from Gordon, helped seal the victory. Fournier’s came with 4:11 left and Gordon’s with 1:39 remaining. The 6-foot-9 Gordon also had a tip-in late and the 6-foot-7 Fournier made a driving layup off a Gordon assist shortly after.

Key Stretch

After the Nets cut a 19-point deficit at the start of the fourth down to four with seven minutes and change left, the Magic went on a 7-2 run to reclaim momentum. Vucevic, who finished with 22 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists, knocked down a jumper in that stretch and Fournier scored the other five.

Key Stat

The Magic drilled a season-high 21 3-pointers. It was the fourth time in franchise history and second time this season they made at least 20. The team record is 23, set on Jan. 23, 2009 at Sacramento.

Player Spotlight

Making his second straight start and fourth of his NBA career with Michael Carter-Williams (non-COVID illness) out, Chasson Randle had his best game in a Magic jersey. The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder scored a season-high 13 points and made four of his six 3-point tries. Randle, Stanford’s all-time leading scorer, has now appeared in 13 games for Orlando after getting signed to a two-way contract on Feb. 15.

Quote of the Night

“That was just a great all-around game for our team. We showed what we can be defensively and offensively. We put it together. I thought it was a collective effort. They can score in bunches. We stayed composed and we continued to execute down the stretch and it resulted in a win. It shows good resilience.” – Gordon

Up Next

The Magic will now fly back up north and make a visit to Boston for a contest against the Celtics. Tip-off is at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. The Celtics have been inconsistent all year and are currently in the midst of a three-game losing streak. Their most recent setback came against the Kings, who held Boston to a season-tying low 96 points. Jaylen Brown, a first-time All-Star this year, led the C’s with 19 points, while Kemba Walker, despite making just six of his 18 shot attempts, chipped in with 16.

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