The Orlando Magic and Sacramento Kings played a game on Saturday evening at Amway Center unlike most. It was wild, to say the least, and featured several stellar performances, including one from rookie sensation Paolo Banchero, who tallied career highs of 33 points and 16 rebounds. De’Aaron Fox, however, took matters into his own hands down the stretch, as the dynamic point guard erupted for 37 points and hit a near half-court shot as time expired in overtime to lift the Kings to a 126-123 victory.
A ton went down before the Fox game winner. Right before it was a steal and driving dunk from Chuma Okeke to tie the game after the Magic forced Malik Monk to make an errant pass by trapping him at the corner baseline in the backcourt. One of Fox’s other big shots came late in regulation, when he banked in a tying shot with 25.4 seconds remaining.
With this being just his 10th game of his career, Banchero became the second-fastest Magic to player to score 30-plus points. Only Shaquille O’Neal did this quicker, doing so in his third game with the Magic. Last year, Franz Wagner did it in his 35th game, now the fifth fastest in franchise history. The 6-foot-10 German scored 31 on Saturday for his second 30-plus-point scoring game in his career.
The Magic led by as many as 20 early in the third quarter. The Kings led by as many as 10 midway through the fourth. Orlando took a four-point lead with just under a minute left in regulation when Wendell Carter Jr., off a feed from Bol Bol, dunked one down. Bol, meanwhile, recorded a career-best 23 points on 10-of-11 shooting from the field.
The Magic continue to use their size and length to their advantage. They scored 78 paint points in this contest. However, they also continue to struggle with their 3-point shooting. They made just four of their 23 attempts from beyond the arc.
Quote of the Day
“He is going to be really, really, really good for a long time. Obviously, he is athletic, but he doesn’t play the game with only his athleticism. He is very physical, strong, very skilled and has a plethora of moves. He is 6’10, 250 pounds, and moves the way that he does. There are not too many who can do that. He is going to be real good for a long time. He has had a great start to his career.” – Fox on Banchero
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. Everyone was available for the Kings.
This Day in History
On Nov. 5, 1993, O’Neal recorded 42 points and 12 rebounds, Nick Anderson scored 18 points and Penny Hardaway, in his first professional regular season game, filled up the box score with 12 points, eight rebounds and assists in Orlando’s opening-night victory over the Miami Heat. Rony Seikaly, who played with the Magic a few years later, led the Heat with 21 points.
The last few years, the Kings seemed prime to make a big leap. It didn’t happen in any of those seasons, however. Perhaps, this is the year where they make significant strides. On paper at least, they have a roster that should contend for a play-in tournament spot. They also now have a defensive-minded head coach in Mike Brown, which should help in the long run. Most important, though, is the inside-outside duo of Fox and Domantas Sabonis. Sacramento took a chance acquiring Sabonis in the middle of the last season in a deal that sent Tyrese Haliburton to the Pacers. They, obviously, need the 7-foot-1, 240-pounder to deliver in big moments.
Monday’s contest between the Magic and Houston Rockets, scheduled for 7:15 p.m. at Amway Center, will feature four top five draft picks in the last two years – Jalen Green and Suggs from 2021 and Banchero and Jabari Smith Jr. from 2022. The Rockets, like the Magic, are in the process of establishing an identity. While most figured they’d struggle defensively – especially early in the season – there must be some surprise about their offensive difficulties. Entering Saturday’s action, they ranked 28th in offensive rating – with only the Clippers and Lakers behind them.