Moe Wagner recorded a season-best 27 points, including 16 straight for the Magic during one stretch late in the third quarter and into the fourth, and Cole Anthony tallied 21 points, however Orlando, despite pulling within five in the fourth quarter after trailing by as many as 25, were unable to complete the comeback in Saturday’s 128-109 loss to the Chicago Bulls at Amway Center.
After an Anthony 3-pointer with 4:28 left in the fourth trimmed Orlando’s deficit to five, Chicago responded with three straight baskets. Zach LaVine first connected on a driving layup; Patrick Williams then drilled a 3-pointer; and Alex Caruso completed the 7-0 run with a layup. The Bulls outscored the Magic 17-3 to close the game.
Moe Wagner’s 16 straight Magic points in the second half were tied for the fifth-most consecutive points by a player in franchise history. The most is 20, set by both Terrence Ross on Jan. 9, 2022 versus Washington and Tracy McGrady on Feb. 21, 2003 vs. Chicago.
The Magic’s bench got them back in the game. Moe Wagner, Anthony, Jalen Suggs, and Bol Bol combined to score 68 points. The Bulls, meanwhile, were scorching hot from downtown all night, going 16-of-35 (45.7 percent). DeMar DeRozan, a 27 percent 3-point shooter coming into the game, made all five of his 3-point attempts.
Chuma Okeke (left knee injury recovery) was out for the Magic. Lonzo Ball (knee), Javonte Green (knee), and Marko Simonovic (neck) were unavailable for the Bulls.
This Day in History
The Magic won several thrillers against the Celtics during the Dwight Howard/Stan Van Gundy era. One such victory came on Jan. 28, 2010, when Rashard Lewis connected on a game-winning layup with 1.3 seconds left to propel Orlando past Boston. Lewis finished with 23 points, while Howard posted 19 points and 10 rebounds. Ray Allen led the Celtics with 20 points.
Where the Bulls finish in the standings this season is of great significance to the Magic. That’s because Orlando will get Chicago’s draft pick this year if it’s outside the top four. If the Bulls do miss the playoffs and catch some lottery luck, then the pick transitions to next season, when it’s top three protected. Entering Saturday’s action, the Bulls were tied for 10th place in the East with the Wizards. Chicago will be another interesting team to keep an eye on at the trade deadline. It’s possible they could be buyers or sellers, depending on the direction they elect to go in.
The Magic start a four-game road trip on Monday in Philadelphia against the 76ers at 7 p.m. This will be the first of two straight games in Philly, with the other taking place on Wednesday, also at 7 p.m. Earlier this season, the Magic hosted the Sixers for back-to-back games. Philly won both, despite not having Joel Embiid, James Harden, or Tyrese Maxey in either. Shake Milton led the Sixers with 24 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists in the first meeting and 29 points, five boards, and seven dimes in the second. Franz Wagner scored 24 points in the first game and 17 in the second for the Magic.