For the second straight game, the Orlando Magic clamped down on one of the league’s best scorers. On Wednesday, it was Luka Doncic. On Friday, in their 114-97 victory over the Phoenix Suns, it was Devin Booker, as the three-time NBA All-Star was held to just 17 points, 10 fewer than his season average, on 6-of-19 shooting from the field.
Wendell Carter Jr., going up against fellow 2018 draft pick Deandre Ayton, scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half. Terrence Ross was also stellar after intermission and finished with 14 points. Franz Wagner tallied 17 points and fellow 2021 draft pick Jalen Suggs had 16. Bol Bol recorded his third double-double of the season with 13 points and a career-best 15 rebounds.
Over the last two games, the Magic held the Mavs and Suns to a combined 24-of-84 shooting from 3-point range (28.6 percent). Orlando has also done an excellent job defending without fouling much. Dallas took just 19 free throws on Wednesday, while Phoenix attempted just nine foul shots. The Magic, who pulled down 50 rebounds Friday, have outrebounded their opponent in seven of their last eight games.
By hitting two of the Magic’s 15 threes Friday, Ross tied Rashard Lewis for sixth on Orlando’s all-time made 3-pointers list. Dennis Scott is the franchise leader in this category, ahead of Nick Anderson, Evan Fournier, Jameer Nelson, and Hedo Turkoglu.
The only times Phoenix led in Friday’s contest was when it was 4-2, 6-4, and 37-36. Orlando led by as many as 21 in the fourth quarter.
Quote of the Day
“It feels like when you see him on the court, you’re seeing a unicorn before he disappears until God knows when (or) until you see him again. It’s hard to describe him. He’s like a freakish, mythical alien that can play basketball. The stuff he does doesn’t look real. No matter how many times you see it, you just don’t get used to it.” - Ross of Bol on an episode of the Orlando Magic Pod Squad that will air next Thursday
Paolo Banchero (sprained left ankle), Cole Anthony (right internal oblique muscle injury), Markelle Fultz (toe), Moe Wagner (sprained right midfoot), Gary Harris (left knee rehabilitation), and Jonathan Isaac (left knee rehabilitation) were out for the Magic. Chris Paul (heel), Cam Johnson (knee), Landry Shamet (concussion), Ishmail Wainright (personal), and Jae Crowder (not with team) were unavailable for the Suns.
This Day in History
On Nov. 11, 2015, Shabazz Napier scored 22 points and Nikola Vucevic buried a game-winning fall-away jumper at the buzzer over Roy Hibbert in the Magic’s victory over the Lakers. This was one of Vucevic’s two game-winning buzzer-beaters that season, with the other being against the Hawks. Hibbert led L.A. with 15 points, while D’Angelo Russell, a rookie then, had 14 points and Julius Randle scored 12.
Many thought last season was Phoenix’s year to win the title. They had the league’s best record in the regular season; Booker was the consensus best shooting guard; Paul was a legitimate MVP candidate; Ayton was very efficient; Mikal Bridges was in the DPOY conversation (finished second to Marcus Smart); and they got plenty throughout the regular season from the reserves. So far this year, Booker, with Friday’s game being an exception, has been phenomenal, and Bridges has taken another leap in his development. But for them to truly rebound from last year’s shocking loss to the Mavs in the playoffs, they must get more from the rest of the squad.
The Magic have two more games on this seven-game homestand, with the next opponent being the Charlotte Hornets on Monday at 7 p.m. This will be the Hornets’ second and final visit to Orlando this season. The Magic steamrolled the Hornets in that contest behind 21 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists from Banchero and a season-best 19 points from Mo Bamba. Gordon Hayward, Charlotte’s second-leading scorer this season, tallied 18 points and Nick Richards had 14 points and six rebounds.