ORLANDO – The Orlando Magic (24-22) beat the Phoenix Suns (26-20) 113-98 on Sunday at the Kia Center.
Orlando, coming off a 107-106 loss to Memphis on Friday, is looking to right the ship against one of the NBA’s best scoring trios: Kevin Durant, Bradley Beal, and Devin Booker.
Orlando’s offensive struggles continued in the first quarter of this game as they struggled to get shots to fall.
Phoenix came out as expected, with Devin Booker scoring their opening six points. Orlando worked to get back into the game but continued to struggle to get shots to drop.
Orlando depended on their hustle, eventually forcing Phoenix into 10 turnovers in the first quarter and keeping the score close through hard work.
At the end of the first quarter, Orlando was down eleven, but it could have been worse.
Kevin Durant scored very little, and it seemed as if Beal and Booker were at the center of the Phoenix offense as Orlando worked to keep Durant covered.
In the second quarter, Orlando started to get some shots to drop, and the intensity of defense from Jonathan Isaac and later Wendell Carter Jr helped Orlando inch closer to the Suns, ending the first half 56-61, down only five points.
The second half was a different game.
“I couldn’t be more proud, you know?” Said Magic Head Coach Jamahl Mosley “We talk about the defensive end of the floor and what we want to do. I mean that was about [as] elite [a] fourth quarter that I’ve seen. Their communication, their switching, their navigating the right situation offensively
Orlando came out with more focus in the second half. They were more aggressive and challenged more. The Magic started to come back in the game, slightly outscoring the Suns 31-29 in the third quarter.
“They are playing a physical game all game.” Said Booker “I think after the start that we had, they just reverted to being extra physical and hoping they can’t call every call and that is what we got.”
In the fourth quarter, Orlando turned it on, and the Suns were not getting the calls, being outmuscled 31-19.
Orlando had four out of their five starters in double figures, with Paolo Banchero scoring 26 and leading the team. Moritz Wagner was aggressive and scored 16 off the bench. Markelle Fultz took what the Suns gave him and scored 14 points.
Orlando took care of the ball in this game, committing only 10 turnovers.
The Suns finished the game with 23 turnovers. Kevin Durant had a relatively modest 15 points, while Devin Booker scored 44 points.
Bradley Beal, who was playing with a mask due to a recent facial injury, scored only nine points.
After the game, the Magic rushed to the airport and headed to Dallas for the second part of a back-to-back against the Mavericks on Monday.