Paolo Banchero led with 17 points, Cole Anthony scored 14 and Caleb Houstan, who finished with 11 points, hit a pair of clutch 3-pointers late in the Orlando Magic’s 114-108 preseason victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night.
Terrence Ross, the oldest player on the Magic at age 31, said during training camp that he expects the team’s ball movement to be much better this year than last. Throughout the preseason, but especially in the two played at Amway Center, there were several examples of the Magic sharing the rock until the best shot became available, including the one shown below that ended with Ross knocking down the triple from the right wing.
Another spectacular play was turned in by Franz Wagner when he crossed up Cedi Osman and went in for the two-handed slam.
Houstan’s big triples came on back-to-back possessions with under two minutes left – the first of which breaking a 104-104 tie. Kevon Harris, one of the Magic’s two-way contract players, and R.J. Hampton combined to block three shots in the final 70 seconds. Hampton’s first of two came from behind as Sharife Cooper, with the Cavs down two, attempted a fast break layup with 35 seconds remaining.
The Magic won the rebounding battle 51-35. That helped Orlando take 12 more shots than Cleveland. The Magic were especially dominant on the offensive glass with 16 boards on that end of the floor, resulting in 21 second-chance points.
Inactive Players/Injury Report
Jalen Suggs (knee), Markelle Fultz (toe), Gary Harris (left knee rehabilitation), and Jonathan Isaac (left knee rehabilitation) were unavailable for the Magic. Moe Wagner exited with a sprained right ankle after playing seven minutes. For the Cavs, Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, and Jarrett Allen did not make the trip to Orlando and Kevin Love (knee), Dean Wade (ankle), Dylan Windler (ankle), and Ricky Rubio (knee) were also out because of injuries.
Quote of the Day
“That’s how we’re going to be good. Playing together, playing off each other. Obviously, there are going to be nights when guys have it going, and I think that’s when the talent takes over a little bit and you kind of let people play. And there’s a place for that for sure. But I think our coach is doing a good job of making sure that we know what our identity is.” – Franz Wagner during his most recent appearance on the Orlando Magic Pod Squad
The Cavs made the summer of 2022’s biggest splash in the NBA by acquiring Mitchell in a blockbuster trade. They had to give up quite a lot for him, including a few future unprotected draft picks, pick swaps, Collin Sexton, and Lauri Markkanen. But clearly, Cleveland believes now was the time to bolster the roster and unite Mitchell with fellow All-Stars Garland and Allen, as well as Evan Mobley, last year’s runner-up for Rookie of the Year. Are any of the four A+ caliber players, or are they all in that A-/B+ category? The reason that’s an important question is because aside from the 2004 Pistons, which featured four or five top 25 guys that season, no other team has won an NBA title in NBA history without a true A+ player on the roster. Only time will tell.
The Magic tip off their regular season on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. on the road against the Detroit Pistons. Like the Magic, the Pistons are in the process of developing an identity around their young core, including 2021 No.1 overall NBA draft pick Cade Cunningham and the electric Jaden Ivey, chosen fifth overall in the draft this past June. A surprise move they made shortly before the start of training camp was acquiring veteran forward Bojan Bogdanovic from the Jazz. The 33-year-old brings 3-point shooting, toughness, and a high basketball IQ to a team that ranked 28th in offense and 24th in defense last season.