Magic Come Up Short Against Sixers in Paolo Banchero, Moe Wagner’s Return

Josh Cohen
Digital News Manager

The Lead

Franz Wagner recorded 24 points, Paolo Banchero scored 19 in his return from a seven-game absence, and Bol Bol had 18, but the Orlando Magic were unable to get into much of a flow throughout their 107-99 loss on Friday night to the Philadelphia 76ers at Amway Center. 

Key Stretch

After a pair of Mo Bamba free throws cut the Magic’s deficit to five just past the halfway point of the fourth quarter, the Sixers went on a 7-2 run. Tobias Harris knocked down a mid-range pull-up jumper; Shake Milton buried a long two; and Georges Niang drilled one of his five 3-pointers. Orlando had five empty possessions during that span. 

Clutch Moment

Montrezl Harrell’s transition dunk with 1:13 left after a Franz Wagner missed 3-pointer extended Philly’s lead to seven. 

Key Stats

The Magic scored eight more paint points and took nine more free throws, while the Sixers made five more 3-pointers and outrebounded Orlando by 12. 

Injury Report

Wendell Carter Jr. (right plantar fascia strain), Terrence Ross (illness), Chuma Okeke (left knee soreness), Cole Anthony (right internal oblique muscle injury), Markelle Fultz (toe), and Jonathan Isaac (left knee rehabilitation) were out for the Magic. Joel Embiid, James Harden, and Tyrese Maxey were all out with foot injuries for the 76ers, while Matisse Thybulle (ankle) and Jaden Springer (quadriceps) were also unavailable. 

Quote of the Day

“I think this is a very close group. I think that sticks out to me. Even in close games, the chemistry is at an all-time high as far as I’ve experienced it in the NBA so far. You need that for the ability to bounce back. You need to enjoy each other. You need to enjoy being in the gym together. You need to have the ability to embrace these moments. I think this team has that. You have to keep going, even if you lose (and) no matter what your record is.” – Moe Wagner, who had seven points and five rebounds in his season debut Friday

This Day in History

On Nov. 25, 2018, with the Magic in L.A. playing the Lakers, Nikola Vucevic had a monster performance with 31 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists and Terrence Ross made a go-ahead layup with 34 seconds remaining as part of his 16-point effort in Orlando’s win. LeBron James, then in his first season with the Lakers, posted 24 points and Kyle Kuzma had 21. 

Rivals Report

We can’t properly assess the Sixers until they have Embiid, Harden, and Maxey together for a longer stretch. Their defense has been very good, though. That’s normally a prerequisite to win the title, or at least make the Finals. Since the mid-90s, very few teams won the championship without having a top-eight defensive team. It’s too early in the season to come to any conclusions about any one team, but what’s interesting is the Bucks, Cavs and Sixers all rank in the top six in defense, while the Celtics – the defending Eastern Conference champs – rank 17th in defense. Boston does have the league’s No. 1 offense.  

Up Next

The rematch between the Magic and Sixers will take place Sunday at 6 p.m. This is the second of six times this season in which the Magic will play the same opponent in back-to-back games in the same city. The Magic just recently were in Indianapolis for two straight games against the Pacers. The Raptors and Cavs will have extended stays in Central Florida this season, while the Magic will do the same in Boston and Philadelphia.