Magic Fall to Celtics in Evan Fournier’s Return to Orlando

by Josh Cohen

The Lead

Several of Kemba Walker’s best games of his career have come against the Orlando Magic. A four-time NBA All-Star, Walker has three 40-plus-point performances against Orlando, two of which with Steve Clifford as his head coach in Charlotte. While he didn’t reach the 40-point mark on Wednesday night at Amway Center, his 32 points helped the Boston Celtics defeat the Magic 132-96.

Player Spotlights

Each playing against former teams, Evan Fournier and Moritz Wagner were both excellent. Fournier, who played for the Magic from 2014-2021, scored 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field. Wagner, meanwhile, who appeared in just nine games with Boston earlier this season after he was traded there from Washington, tallied 20 points, his second 20-plus-point performance since joining the Magic last week.

Key Stretch

After the Magic had pulled within six around the four-minute mark of the second quarter, the Celtics went on a 17-5 run to rebuild a big lead going into halftime. During that time, Jayson Tatum, who got off to a slow start, buried four shots, including two from 3-point range. Walker, Fournier and Robert Williams also made baskets for Boston over those final four minutes before intermission.

Top Performers

Dwayne Bacon scored 20 points, his seventh game with at least that many this season, and Mo Bamba amassed 19 points and a career-tying-high 15 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season and third in his last four games.

Rookie Watch

R.J. Hampton, one of the stars of Monday’s win in Detroit, continues to gain more confidence. On Wednesday, he matched his career high with 18 points, grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds and dished out five assists. It was his fourth straight double-digit scoring game.

Key Stat

Sindarius Thornwell, who signed a two-way contract with the Magic on Tuesday, became the 28th player to appear in at least one game for the Magic this season, tying an NBA record. The Grizzlies also used 28 players in both the 2015-16 and 2018-19 seasons.

Quote of the Night

“I think he’s doing a great job. I actually used him as an example this morning of how things can change in the NBA quickly. Ten, twelve days ago he wasn’t on a roster and now he’s playing major minutes for the end of the season. I think what these opportunities do is they give him a chance to try out for everybody. He’s smart. He’s a good competitor. He brings a lot of energy to the floor and he’s doing a good job so far.” Clifford, who was back on the sidelines after clearing the NBA’s health and safety protocols, on Wagner.

Up Next

The Magic head back out on the road for a clash with the Charlotte Hornets on Friday at 8 p.m. The Hornets, who defeated the Pistons in their last game behind a strong fourth-quarter finish from Rookie of the Year candidate LaMelo Ball, currently sit in eighth place in the East, 2 ½ games back of both the Heat and Celtics for sixth. Charlotte will be on a back-to-back when it hosts Orlando. The Bulls are in town the night before.


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