Wendell Carter Jr. Returns and Leads Magic to Thrilling Victory in Overtime Over Heat

Josh Cohen
Digital News Manager

The Lead

Wendell Carter Jr., back after missing the last three games with a hip injury, led seven Orlando players in double figures with 27 points, as the Magic showed a ton of resolve and composure after relinquishing a 15-point fourth-quarter lead to pull out a 126-114 overtime victory over the Miami Heat on Saturday at Amway Center.

Clutch Moments

The biggest shot of regulation came on the last play of regulation, as Jimmy Butler, known for saving his best for pressure-packed situations, buried a game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer. The Magic then opened the extra session with a 10-2 run. Markelle Fultz started it with a pull-up jumper; Jalen Suggs and Cole Anthony each knocked down 3-pointers; and Carter slammed home a driving dunk to cap that stretch. 

Top Performers

In addition to his 27 points, Carter grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds and dished out two assists. Paolo Banchero finished one assist shy of a triple-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, while Franz Wagner scored 17 points before leaving the game early with a sprained right ankle. Suggs and Anthony each had 16 points off the bench. Butler scored 38 for Miami. 

Key Stats

The Magic matched their season high with 34 assists. They also outscored the Heat by 10 in the paint and outrebounded them 54-35. There were 15 lead changes and 10 ties throughout the game. 

Quote of the Day

“It’s all about just knowing how to play the game of basketball. I think that’s what coach (Jamahl Mosley) wants us to realize, is that we are all really good basketball players. It’s about us being able to play with multiple lineups. We have a lot of talented players – from the first man to the last man on the roster. It’s important to for everybody to know everybody else’s game and understand defensively what they like to do, offensively how they like to get their shots…As a young team, I think it’s really good that he’s doing that so just so we can get used to playing with anybody essentially.” – Carter on Mosley exploring various lineup combinations 

Injury/Inactive Report

Franz Wagner, as mentioned above, had to exit the game early with a right ankle sprain. Kevon Harris (G League – Two-Way), and Jonathan Isaac (left adductor surgery) were out for the Magic. Caleb Martin (knee), Nikola Jovic (G League – On Assignment), and Duncan Robinson (illness) were unavailable for the Heat. 

This Day in History

Nine times during their 2008-09 season, the Magic won by at least 25 points. One of those games occurred on March 11, when they steamrolled the Chicago Bulls by 28 at the old Amway Arena. Orlando held to Chicago to just 31.4 percent shooting from the field that night. Derrick Rose, a rookie then, made just two of his 12 shots. 

Rivals Report

How much of a threat will the Heat be, assuming they make the playoffs, in a seven-game series against any of the elite teams in the East? We know their defense is good enough to hang with anyone. The question is with their offense. They rank last in scoring, which is quite shocking for a team three games over .500 with less than a month left in the regular season.  

Up Next

The Magic will be in three different time zones during their upcoming four-game road trip. The first stop will be San Antonio, where they will take on the Spurs on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET. Orlando won the first meeting on Dec. 23 at Amway Center behind a near triple-double from Cole Anthony, who recorded 23 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, and 21 points from Franz Wagner. They were in San Antonio for a preseason game, which they also won.