Magic beat Suns for first consecutive wins despite Paolo Banchero’s absence – The Denver Post
No Paolo Banchero, no problem for the Orlando Magic.
That was once again the case Friday, with the Banchero-less Magic (4-9) picking up a 114-97 win over the Phoenix Suns (8-4) at Amway Center for their first consecutive victories after also beating the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday.
The Magic’s formula Friday was similar to Wednesday’s: Slow down the opposing team’s best offensive player and a do-it-by-committee approach offensively without their leading scorer in Banchero.
The gameplan worked again.
“We’re going to continue to do it by committee,” coach Jamahl Mosley said.
The Magic had six players score in double figures, led by Wendell Carter Jr.’s 20 points (7-of-15 shooting), 10 rebounds and 5 assists for his team-high sixth double-double.
After getting the Luka Dončić defensive assignment Wednesday, Chuma Okeke (11 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists) was tasked with being the primary defender on the opposing team’s best player.
He delivered defensively once again, giving Devin Booker little space to get comfortable when matched up one-on-one. R.J. Hampton (8 points on 3-of-3 shooting and 2 assists) also did well slowing down Booker when given the assignment.
The Magic executed their defensive switching gameplan well, too, to keep a defender in front of Booker often to hinder him from establishing a scoring rhythm.
They held Booker, who entered Friday averaging 27.5 points on 48.9% shooting from the field and 40% shooting on 3s, to 17 points on 6-of-19 shooting (2 of 8 on 3s).
Franz Wagner had 17 points (7 of 15), 6 rebounds and 3 assists for the Magic while Jalen Suggs recorded 16 points (7 of 12), 5 assists and 3 rebounds.
Bol Bol scored 13 points (5 of 8) to go with a career-high 15 rebounds.
Terrence Ross led the bench with 14 points (5 of 9) in 24 minutes while Mo Bamba added 9 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists in the Magic’s third win of their seven-game homestand.
Cam Payne led the Suns with 22 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds.
The Magic held the Suns to 31% shooting on 3s (13 of 42) and 40% (38 of 95) from the field.
Banchero missed his second consecutive game Friday because of a sprained left ankle. He was listed as questionable on the team’s injury report before being ruled out two hours before tipoff.
“We don’t really do timelines [for returns],” Mosley said. “He’s going to continue to stay day-to-day for us.”
Banchero, the No. 1 pick in June’s draft, was originally added to the team’s evening injury report on Tuesday.
He suffered the injury in Monday’s home loss to the Houston Rockets, rolling the ankle on a drive to the basket with 2:51 remaining.
Banchero did finish Monday’s game, recording 30 points on 8-of-16 shooting and 12 of 14 on free throws to go with 6 rebounds and 4 assists in 35 minutes.
He missed Wednesday’s win, which was his first absence.
Banchero is averaging a team-high 23.5 points, which also is the most among rookies, to go with 8.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 34.6 minutes.
Two-way guard Kevon Harris, who also missed Wednesday’s win, was available Friday after being listed as questionable because of a left rib contusion but didn’t play.
Cole Anthony (torn right internal oblique), Markelle Fultz (fractured left big toe), Gary Harris (left knee injury recovery), Jonathan Isaac (left knee injury recovery) and Moe Wagner (sprained right midfoot) remain sidelined.
The Suns were without Chris Paul (sore right heel), Cam Johnson (torn right meniscus) and Landry Shamet (concussion protocol).
This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Khobi Price at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @khobi_price.
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