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Just like Magic, Orlando hypnotize Warriors, 115-101


PhilBoxing.com




Chase Center, California: The Orlando Magic did what only 4 teams have done to the reigning and defending NBA champions on their home court this season— beat Golden State, 115-101, Saturday night.

The Magic started their West Coast swing with a bang, showed a well-rounded offense and stifling defense that put a damper on the long-awaited return of Andrew Wiggins and Andrew Iguodala who were extensively out due to injuries.

Not only did the Magic beat the Warriors (2-0) in the teams’ season series for the first time since the 2012-13 season, but they also ended their own drought in 9 previous visits to the Warriors, who now have lost consecutive home games this season.

Paolo Banchero, #1 NBA rookie draft, posted 25 points, showing his leadership skills needed to lift Orlando out of the doldrums.

Frank Wagner added 24, M. Fultz and C. Anthony 16 apiece, W. Carter 13, J. Suggs 9. For good measure, T. Ross added 5, M. Wagner 4, G. Harris 3, in an all-around effort.

As a team Orlando made 44-of-87 buckets (50.6% FG), 13-of-32 treys (49.6% 3-PT), scored more in the paint (52 to 26), got more steals (12 to 7), and had less turnovers (11 to 16). Their largest lead was 18 points.

Considered as long and strong, the Magic has the arsenal to dominate in the paint and force opponents to kick out. The Warriors offense prefers to run plays like so, but their shooting tonight was disappointing at 18-of-58 from downtown.

Orlando showed no fear as they induced 16 Golden State turnovers, 12 off steals, and 6 coming from Markelle Fultz, who tied a career-high.

The Magic showed a suffocating defense— reminiscent of a healthy, clicking trio of Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala & Klay Thompson— limiting the Warriors to 101 points, the third-lowest game output, this season.

Despite their excellent showing, Orlando (15-25) are near the bottom of the Eastern Conference, ranked 13th of 15.



Klay Thompson missed a game that was not the second game of a back-to-back set for the first time this season; he has been sidelined for a total of 9 games, thus far. Of note, the Warriors are 3-6 this season without Thompson in the lineup and 1-4 without Thompson and Curry in the lineup this season.

At the post-game press conference, coach Steve Kerr addressed why the team decided to scratch Thompson at the last minute, “It got sore during warm-ups and the training staff looked at him and just for precautionary reasons, kept him out of the game.”

“Well, I just think you're talking about a guy who’s had two major injuries in the last few years. So, stuff like this happens. It's like you get a little bit older and you've suffered some injuries, you're going to be more susceptible to aches and pains and so something we just have to deal with,” coach Kerr explained if the recent double-overtime game against the Atlanta Hawks was a reason to sit Klay Thompson.

An undermanned Golden State made 33-of-88 baskets (37.5% FG), a paltry 18-of-58 treys (31% 3-PT), were aggressive committing more fouls (17 to 14, scored more points off of turnovers (16 to 11) despite more turnovers (24 to 10). The Warriors controlled both boards with more rebounds, 49 to 44, but could not hold on to their brief 7-point lead due to inconsistent plays. The team’s home record fell to 17-4 and 5-2 on the current homestand.

Two-way forward Anthony Lamb had a stellar night leading the Warriors with 26 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals off the bench.

Wiggins and Iguodala showed some rust in brief intervals with restricted playing time, and appeared to be in good condition. Wiggins finished with 12 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists in 19 minutes, and Iguodala had just 2 rebounds, 1 assist and didn't attempt a shot in 12 minutes.

Jordan Poole was erratic, going 5-for-17 from the field (2-for-11 from three) with 4 careless turnovers. The streaky Poole finished with 21 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 assists, in an indecisive and poor performance dotted with bad shooting and passing.

The Warriors are persistently dealing with multifaceted health-related player issues that have made it harder for them to repeat as NBA champions. GSW was without Steph Curry (shoulder subluxation), James Wiseman and Jonathan Kuminga (ankle issues), and just before the game Klay Thompson who was taken out at the last minute.

Per the Warriors: Anthony Lamb tallied a career-high 26 points (prev. 22, 5/5/21 vs. PHI)… He has scored 17-or-more points in three-straight games… Lamb also set new career highs in field goals made (9) and attempted (20), 3-pointers attempted (14) and tied his career high in 3-pointers made (5)… Kevon Looney, playing in his career-best 151st consecutive regular season game (second-longest active), has recorded 10-or-more rebounds in five-consecutive games, matching a career-long streak… It marked his 13th game on the season with double-figure rebounds… Looney has grabbed 29 offensive rebounds in the last four games, the most for a Warriors player in a four-game span since Erick Dampier had 29 from 3/24-3/30/04…Donte DiVincenzo, making his 11th start of the season, finished with 15 points and made a season-high-tying five 3-point baskets (four times).

The Warriors are now ranked #9 in a bunched up Western conference, and are still on track for the play-in tournaments in the postseason.



Upcoming:

Golden State Warriors (20-20): Host Phoenix Suns (20-20) on Tuesday night in the final game of their season-long, and franchise-long-tying eight-game homestand.

Orlando Magic (15-25): Visit Sacramento Kings (20-18)



The Golden State Warriors team and organization remains as the gold standard on and off the court. The team’s success is shared all the way around with the community like tonight’s Educator Appreciation night.

In an inspiring and kind gesture, the team has made the dream of a 12-year-old boy named Braxton Barefoot come true. Braxton, who hails from North Carolina, has Spinal Muscular Atrophy, helped out Steve Kerr as Coach For The Day through Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Note of Appreciation:

Special thanks to Messrs. Raymond Ridder, Brett Winkler, Cole Lawrence, Darryl Arata, and the Warriors staff for their kind assistance.

Banner photos, stats and video link are courtesy of the NBA and brought to you by PhilBoxing.com. The photo collages of Klay Thompson, Franco Finn, Braxton Barefoot and Kevon Looney were taken by this aspiring writer.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Emmanuel Rivera, RRT.


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