After the Orlando Magic’s shootaround Wednesday morning, both head coach Jamahl Mosley and guard Cole Anthony talked about the importance of not getting too high after wins and not getting too low after losses. Just as it was critical for the team to not get too high after the win over the Utah Jazz on Sunday, it’s now going to be critical for them not to get too low after their 123-90 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
The early portion of the season has been a struggle for Terrence Ross, one of only five players on the Magic with at least five NBA seasons under their belt. Perhaps his 17-point performance Wednesday against the Nets will be a boost for him going forward. The 6-foot-6 30-year-old, now in his sixth season with the Magic and 10th in the league, made seven of his 14 shot attempts.
With six steals Wednesday, Franz Wagner is now the fourth rookie in Magic history to record at least six of them in a single game. Jameer Nelson holds the franchise rookie record with seven of them in a 2005 game against the 76ers. The other two with six in a contest during their rookie campaigns were Maurice Harkless and Elfrid Payton.
The Magic had a rough time from long distance. They made just four of their 33 3-point attempts (12.1 percent). It was the first time in Magic history they shot lower than 13 percent from beyond the arc with at least 30 attempts.
Out for Orlando were Michael Carter-Williams (left ankle), Jonathan Isaac (left knee), Markelle Fultz (left knee) and E’Twaun Moore (left knee sprain). Wendell Carter Jr. suffered a left eye abrasion in the third quarter and didn’t return. Unavailable for Brooklyn were Nic Claxton (non-COVID illness), David Duke Jr. (G League – Two-Way), Kessler Edwards (G League – Two-Way), and Kyrie Irving (not with team).
It’s championship or bust for the Nets. Obviously, if they had Irving – and maybe they will eventually – they’d be even more formidable. Surprisingly, their defense has been ahead of their offense in the early portion of the year, ranking ninth in defense and 20th in offense entering Wednesday’s action. Kevin Durant and James Harden, if all goes according to script, will deliver. The question is: which supporting cast members will do the same? There are some other big names on this roster, including Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge and Paul Millsap. Will any of them be able to rewind the clock in a series or two in the postseason?
Quote of the Night
“I think coach Mose hit it off in the locker room when he said it’s the first game where we didn’t compete. We just didn’t have that it factor…We just have to go out there and compete like our backs are against the wall.” – Mo Bamba
The Magic wrap up their five-game homestand Saturday when they welcome the Washington Wizards to town. The Wizards, 7-3 going into their game Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, have been one of the league’s surprises to start the year. Their most recent win came against the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks, getting 30 points from Bradley Beal and 15 each from Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell, both acquired from the L.A. Lakers in the Russell Westbrook trade.