Franz Wagner erupted for a season-best 34 points and his putback layup with 30.2 seconds left broke a tie, as the Orlando Magic defeated the Toronto Raptors 113-109 on Friday at Amway Center for their second consecutive thrilling victory.
While Wagner made the game’s biggest shot, the Magic’s stifling defense prevented the Raptors from grabbing the lead down the stretch. Toronto, in fact, didn’t make a shot from the field in the last four minutes. Every shot they took was contested, including Fred VanVleet’s potential game-tying mid-range shot with five seconds left.
This was Wagner’s second 30-plus-point performance this season and third of his career. He had 31 earlier this year against Sacramento and 38 last year against Milwaukee. Paolo Banchero, who knocked down a pair of game-sealing free throws with four seconds remaining, finished with 23 points, while Cole Anthony scored 18 off the bench and Markelle Fultz had 15 points, three rebounds and five assists.
It was the 15th time already this season that Banchero scored 20-plus points. The last two players to score at least 20 points in 15 of their first 20 games in their NBA career were Michael Jordan in 1984-85 and Zion Williamson in 2019-20.
The Magic, who led by as many as 20 in the third quarter, shot a season-best 59.2 percent from the field and they outscored the Raptors by 10 in the paint. They also won the rebounding battle 43-33.
Gary Harris (right hamstring soreness), Wendell Carter Jr. (right plantar fascia strain), Jalen Suggs (right ankle soreness), Chuma Okeke (left knee soreness), and Jonathan Isaac (left knee rehabilitation) were out for the Magic. Precious Achiuwa (ankle), Otto Porter Jr. (toe), and Juancho Hernangomez (ankle) were unavailable for the Raptors.
Quote of the Day
“It’s fun to play against really good players. Obviously, there’s a bunch on every team in the league. I think we have a lot of guys like that, though, that like the challenge. Most importantly is how we work together as a group, communicate, and we show that we can play really good defense.” – Franz Wagner on accepting the challenge of guarding the other team’s best players
This Day in History
Hedo Turkoglu was arguably the Magic’s all-time most clutch player. He made several game winners during his time with the franchise. One such instance came on Dec. 9, 2008 when he banked in a game-winning 3-pointer with 0.3 seconds remaining in the Magic’s thrilling victory in Portland over the Trail Blazers. Rashard Lewis led Orlando with 27 points, Turkoglu scored 24 and Jameer Nelson had 21. Brandon Roy posted 30 points for the Blazers, while LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points and 13 rebounds.
One night, the Raptors might look like legitimate championship contenders and the next night they might look like a team that could struggle just to get into the play-in tournament. That’s how up and down they’ve been through their first 26 games. Their longest winning streak this season is two and their longest losing streak is two. They’re great at certain things – such as scoring off turnovers, second-chance points, and in transition – and they’re poor at other things – such as shooting threes and off pull-ups. Pascal Siakam should be a lock to be an All-Star for a second time in his career and OG Anunoby has taken another pretty big leap.
The rematch between the Magic and Raptors will take place Sunday at 6 p.m. This is the third of six times this season in which the Magic will play the same opponent in back-to-back games in the same city. Last month, the Magic were in Indianapolis for two straight games against the Pacers, while the Sixers visited Orlando for consecutive contests. The Magic will play the Celtics twice in a row in Boston later this month. Then in late January/early February, they will have an extended stay in Philadelphia. The Cavs come to Orlando for two straight in April.