Magic Rally Late But Come Up Short Against Spurs in Preseason Action

Mo Bamba
by Josh Cohen

The Lead

Orlando Magic Head Coach Jamahl Mosley has been tinkering with the starting lineup throughout preseason so far. Sunday’s contest against the San Antonio Spurs featured both Mo Bamba and Wendell Carter Jr. Both thrived playing alongside one another, as Bamba posted 16 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks and Carter had 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two blocks. The Magic, however, fell 101-100 despite making a late comeback.

“Winning Plays”

Midway through the first quarter, rookie Jalen Suggs poked the ball away from Dejounte Murray as the San Antonio point guard attempted a behind-the-back dribble. The 20-year-old Suggs dove on the floor, managed to wrestle the ball away from multiple Spurs and then flung it down the court to Gary Harris for a layup. On San Antonio’s next possession, Terrence Ross deflected a pass away and then raced the other way for a thunderous one-handed jam. It’s “winning plays” like these that Mosley expects to see from his squad regularly throughout the season.

Clutch Moments

After the Magic, who trailed by as many as 18, tied the game with just over two minutes left, Keita Bates-Diop drilled a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:02 left. Suggs found Bamba for an alley-oop dunk on Orlando’s next possession to pull the Magic within one. A shot clock violation by San Antonio gave the Magic a chance to win it in the final seconds. However, Bryn Forbes poked the ball away from Suggs as he was attacking the paint and time expired as players from both teams scrambled on the floor for the loose ball.

This Day in History

On this day 11 years ago, the first ever Magic game was played at Amway Center. Orlando defeated New Orleans, then the Hornets, by a whopping 54 points. The starting lineup for the Magic that night featured Dwight Howard, Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis, Jameer Nelson and Quentin Richardson.

Injury Report

Out for Orlando were Jonathan Isaac (left knee), Markelle Fultz (left knee), Michael Carter-Williams (left ankle) and Chuma Okeke (right hip). Unavailable for San Antonio were Zach Collins (left ankle surgery), Tre Jones (left ankle sprain) and Jock Landale (concussion protocol).

Rivals Report

Weird to even say it, but the Spurs are embarking on a rebuilding project. San Antonio finally decided it was best for their franchise to go all in on a youth movement. As is the case with the Magic, there are many promising young players developing in the Alamo City. Among them are 18-year-old Josh Primo, their 12th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, and Keldon Johnson, just 22 and already an Olympic gold medalist having competed on Team USA in Tokyo this past summer. They did bring back Forbes, a member of last season’s championship Bucks team, and added several other veterans, including Doug McDermott, Thaddeus Young and former Magic player Al-Farouq Aminu.

Quote of the Night

“Besides playing with my teammates, I think that was the best part. It was electric in there. We really feed off of that energy. We are a young team. We want to run. We want to get out and play fast and I think we really fed off of that energy pretty well.” – Bamba on playing in front of the home fans for the first time this season

Up Next

The Magic wrap up their preseason on Wednesday when they host the Boston Celtics. Tip-off is 7 p.m. This will be the second meeting between the two clubs this preseason. They squared off on Oct. 4 in Boston with the Celtics coming out on top 98-97. Cole Anthony and Moe Wagner led Orlando with 16 points apiece, while Bamba recorded 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks. The C’s were led by Jaylen Brown, who scored 25 points.

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