Just three games into the season and already the Orlando Magic are showing the kind of poise, resilience, and growth you’d hope to see from a young, developing squad. Two nights after losing by 25 to the same opponent, the Magic outplayed and outhustled the New York Knicks in the second half to notch a 110-104 victory on Sunday night.
Inside Madison Square Garden, where his dad Greg Anthony played his home games his first four NBA seasons, Cole Anthony put on a show, scoring 29 points, the second most in his professional career, on 9-of-16 shooting. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound guard stuffed the rest of the stat sheet, too, grabbing a career-best 16 rebounds and dishing out eight assists.
Terrence Ross didn’t take a single shot in the first half, and he attempted only two in the third quarter. He was scoreless going into the final frame. Then boom, the 6-foot-6 veteran converted into “The Human Torch.” Ross scored all 22 of his points in that fourth quarter, making six of his nine floor shots and eight of his nine free throws.
Moe Wagner scored eight points. They all came during the game’s most pivotal stretch. Late in the third, with his team down nine, the 6-foot-11, 245-pounder buried a 3-pointer. Then early in the fourth, he had an AND-1 along with a ferocious dunk. These buckets all came during a 15-0 Orlando run.
The Magic have started the same five in each of their first three games. Their average age on opening night in San Antonio was 21 years, 213 days. That was the youngest opening-game starting lineup since the NBA began tracking starters in 1970-71, per Elias Sports Bureau.
For Orlando, Gary Harris (right hamstring; injury maintenance), Michael Carter-Williams (left ankle), Jonathan Isaac (left knee), Markelle Fultz (left knee), E’Twaun Moore (left knee sprain) and Chuma Okeke (right hip; bone bruise) were out. Unavailable for New York were Nerlens Noel (sore left knee) and Luka Samanic (G League; Two-Way).
Quote of the Night
“From the jump, we came in with a different mindset. We came out aggressive. And we weren’t just aggressive to just go score, we were aggressive to make plays for each other. I think that was kind of what Mose (head coach Jamahl Mosley) had preached to us, especially after our last loss to the Knicks…Instead of having one good quarter, put four good quarters together. I think that’s what we were able to do tonight. We were able to get a big win against a good team in a hostile environment.” - Anthony
In the second game of a back-to-back, the Magic will take on the Heat in Miami on Monday at 7:30 p.m. Over the summer, the Heat made two splashy moves. The first was acquiring six-time NBA All-Star Kyle Lowry in a sign-and-trade from the Raptors. The other was inking 2021 NBA champion P.J. Tucker to a deal. They now team up with a core that just two seasons ago reached the NBA Finals. Probably the biggest key for Miami is Tyler Herro, who has gotten off to a terrific start, scoring 27 in the Heat’s opener against the Bucks and 30 in an overtime loss to the Pacers.