Which Team Leads the NBA in Fourth-Quarter Scoring You Might Be Wondering? It’s the Orlando Magic

by Josh Cohen

MILWAUKEE - The Golden State Warriors lead the NBA in points per game. No surprise there, as the Warriors possess the league’s best record at 14-2.

The Milwaukee Bucks lead the NBA in total 3-pointers made. Once again, no shock with that considering they are the defending champs and the attention put on Giannis Antetokounmpo creates plenty of wide open 3-point looks for his teammates.

The Utah Jazz, led by Donovan Mitchell, have the league’s best offensive rating. Like the Warriors and Bucks, they are legit title contenders, so nothing staggering about that.

What you might not expect, though, is that the team that ranks No. 1, or in the case of threes made tied for No. 1, in each of those categories in the fourth quarter alone is the Orlando Magic.

While true that despite their fourth-quarter surges they only have four wins, the Magic have been ultra-resilient down the stretch throughout the early portion of the season.

In the fourth quarter, they are averaging a league-best 28.9 points per game. The Suns, Jazz, Knicks, and Bulls rank second, third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in this category.

The Magic have made 63 triples in the final frame, tied with the Bucks and Trail Blazers for the most. The Knicks are fourth and the Warriors and Jazz are tied for fifth.

Orlando’s offensive rating in the fourth is 118.6, 16 points higher than their overall offensive rating, which ranks 27th. The Knicks, Jazz, Suns and Heat are second, third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in fourth-quarter offensive efficiency.

Why have the Magic thrived in the final 12 minutes? If you ask head coach Jamahl Mosley and the team’s players, they say it’s because they are playing with great energy, intensity, and precision down the stretch.

On Saturday in Milwaukee, the first of two straight games against the Bucks, it was the Magic’s reserves that led the comeback from 29 down to as low as six with just over two minutes left. Milwaukee head coach Mike Budenholzer had to reinsert his starters back in late to withstand Orlando’s furious rally.

“Their aggressiveness, and their energy, and their toughness, and their resiliency, and never giving up no matter what was going on out there,” Mosley said. “Our energy, and our intensity, and our fight, and our will just to keep going no matter what was happening during that game. From twenty-nine down to keep fighting, that’s what that group is about. They stayed ready. They worked when they are not playing games. But they showed that they are willing to come out there and fight.”

One of the stars leading the comeback attempt was Mychal Mulder, who is on a two-way contract. Known for his outside shooting touch, the 6-foot-3 guard scored 10 of his season-best 13 points in the fourth.

Born in Etobicoke, Ontario, Mulder had quite the journey to get to the NBA. After high school in Canada, he opted to play at Vincennes University, the oldest college in Indiana. There, he caught the attention of several Division I schools, including Kentucky, where he transferred to and played alongside Jamal Murray his first year there and De’Aaron Fox, Bam Adebayo and Malik Monk his second year in Lexington.

Not getting drafted didn’t discourage him. He decided to go the G League route, playing with the Windy City Bulls for two seasons. His stellar play earned him a training camp invite from the Miami Heat – which is always a good sign considering the Heat have done a great job developing young talent in recent years. Although he didn’t make the Heat’s roster, he did play for their G League squad in Sioux Falls, where the Warriors noticed him and signed him to a 10-day contract in February 2020.

The Warriors were not one of the teams that made the trip to Disney to play in the bubble, so that season he was limited to seven NBA games. But he played well enough during that stretch, averaging 11.0 points, that Golden State kept him on board for the next season. He started in six of the 60 games he appeared in last season with the Warriors.

With a two-way roster spot open, Mulder jumped at the opportunity to join this young and energetic Magic team, which has benefited them considering the experience he has and his willingness to do whatever it takes to help this team move in the right direction.

“I feel like we have good chemistry all around up and down the roster,” the 27-year-old said. “Guys love playing for each other here. We play for one another. We’re a unit. We’re connected. That’s the most important thing on the offensive end as well as the defensive end. I think both feed each other, and the connectedness is going to show over time. We’re young, but we are continuing to get better and taking steps in the right direction, and that’s all we could ask for right now.”

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