Sore Left Hand Limits Jalen Suggs’ Minutes in Magic’s Loss to Celtics

by Josh Cohen

LAS VEGAS - Just past the midway point of the second quarter of Thursday’s summer league game against the Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic rookie point guard Jalen Suggs ripped the ball away from Carsen Edwards, accelerated down the court, made a move toward the hoop and on the drive was fouled by Edwards.

Immediately after falling to the floor, Suggs started grabbing his left hand in obvious discomfort. He stayed in the game for a few more possessions, but eventually went back to the locker room for an examination.

When addressing the injury after the Magic’s 108-71 loss, Magic Head Coach Jamahl Mosley said the 6-foot-4, 205-pounder has a sore left hand and is still being evaluated. In his 11 minutes, Suggs scored six points, hauled down two rebounds and dished out one assist.

As advertised after Orlando made him the fifth overall pick in last month’s draft, Suggs has looked dazzling for stretches during summer league. He willed his team to a comeback victory over the Golden State Warriors in the opener and then filled up the stat sheet in the Magic’s second game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. On Thursday before the injury, he was ultra-aggressive getting to the basket and initiating contact.

Not much in general went right for the Magic against the Celtics. They fell behind by double digits in the first quarter and were never able to slow the C’s down, especially Payton Pritchard, who finished with 17 points, four rebounds and nine assists. Another standout for Boston was Sam Hauser, who has reportedly agreed to become one of the team’s two-way contract players. The undrafted 23-year-old tallied a game-high 21 points on 7-of-12 overall shooting and 6-of-10 3-point shooting.

The only Magic player who scored in double figures was Tahjere McCall, one of five members of the Lakeland Magic’s 2021 G League championship squad playing for the organization’s summer league team. Another player that got extensive playing time was Ignas Brazdeikis, the 6-foot-6 forward who signed a two-way deal with the Magic on Wednesday. He played 12 minutes and finished with four points.

“I just felt like it was a great opportunity and a great steppingstone for me and my career,” he said. “It’s a great organization. Great people. I loved finishing the season off with Orlando. Got the opportunity to play. Enjoyed every single moment of it and I just felt like it’s a great spot for me and my career.”

While it remains to be seen how he will be utilized by the Magic this upcoming season, Mosley is thrilled to have him on board. A physical, smart and unselfish player, Brazdeikis is someone that should fit in well with this young developing core.

“It’s those guys that are willing to play hard,” Mosley said. “He’s (a) ball mover, (has) basketball IQ, just trying to make the right play at times. And just trying to make his teammates better. He plays with pace. He plays with passion and just plays extremely hard and I think that is going to be extremely important for us moving forward.”

Mosley made the decision to rest the team’s starters after halftime, which included Cole Anthony, R.J. Hampton and Franz Wagner. Anthony, who scored five points, likes the direction of this team even though they’ve struggled with their shooting in the early portion of summer league.

“I’m not in game form. I’m not in tip top form yet,” he said. “I haven’t played a five-on-five basketball game in three months. I haven’t had access to it. I’ve been individually working out. I’m all on top of that. In terms of five-on-five basketball, I’m getting back into rhythm. I think we are definitely building that chemistry, especially me, Franz, Jalen. Me and R.J. already had a little chemistry from last year. The more we get to play together, the more we get to know each other, the easier it’s going to become.”

The Magic will be back in action on Sunday when they take on the Houston Rockets at 8 p.m. ET.

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