Cover Image Credits: Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images
The Orlando Magic and the Sacramento Kings squared off today in what was the second seeding game for both teams. The Magic are coming off of a win against the Brooklyn Nets and the Kings are coming off of a loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
In the pregame, fans saw the usual for teams in the bubble. Both teams knelt for the National Anthem and crossed arms with one another. The only exception, once again, being Jonathan Isaac. Speaking of him, he was expected to play about the same amount of minutes as last game (16 or 17) while Markelle Fultz was being prepped to play more than his last game (19). Wesley Iwundu was also activated for Orlando after sitting out the first game due to neck pains.
To start off the game, Aaron Gordon pushed his way into the paint and executed the infamous and-1. This opened up a 7-0 run for the Magic and they would never look back. Orlando was getting easy buckets in the paint while Sacremento’s defense was clearly struggling to stop them.
Gordon went on to have nine points in the first four minutes of the quarter while playing good defense on the other end of the ball.
Orlando even experimented with some zone defense that had the Kings a bit shook up. Buddy Hield would go on to shoot an ill 1/5 from the field, missing layup after layup opportunity. Terrence Ross was substituted into the game and absolutely owned the last three minutes of the quarter. The first quarter was capped off by a half-court heave by Markelle Fultz, which gave the Magic a 44-26 lead, very comfortable to say the least.
Gordon already had 11 points and 4 rebounds while shooting 4/6 from the field. Terrence Ross also had an impressive start, garnering 10 points on a 2/3 shooting performance.
To start off the second quarter, the Kings came out in a full court press. The Magic ended up breaking this press which led to a Terrence Ross heavily contested three that went in. At this point, Orlando’s bench was the most impressive thing in this whole game. They had more than half of the total points scored by the team.
Eventually, Harry Giles saw the court for the first time in the bubble. The Duke alumni quickly had an impressive defensive stand on veteran Nikola Vucevic and a dunk at the other end. Although it got the team’s morale up a bit, the Magic were still dominating this game. They went into halftime with a 78-54 lead (yes, the Magic actually scored 78 in the first half).
Everything was clicking, including their deep range shooting. Orlando shot 11/19 from three in the first half and 61% from the field.
Gordon had an impressive 19 points to go along with 4 rebounds on 70% shooting, including going 2/2 from deep. Nikola Vucevic had 11 points and 6 rebounds on 5/9 shooting from the field.
For the Kings, De’Aaron Fox had 9 points and 2 assists while shooting 4/7. Harry Giles had a nice stat line of 8 points and 4 rebounds on 3/4 shooting.
Although the third quarter started out pretty much even, the Magic eventually started to run away with it, outscoring the Kings 35-24 for the whole quarter. Sacramento’s defense simply let their opposition score anyway they wanted. The score heading into the fourth quarter was 113-78 in favor of the Magic.
As the Magic continued their dominance in the fourth, something tragic happened to one of their brightest players, Jonathan Isaac. As he ran into the paint attempting to make a move to the basket, his knee moved the wrong way. He immediately fell to the ground and laid there, wincing in pain. As he was being taken out in a wheelchair, both teams patted his back and the overall energy was just down. Although not certain what happened, it is speculated that he tore his ACL.
Late in the game, Terrence Ross ended up making a three to tie Allen Iverson on the all-time three pointers made list. Overall, the Kings had a solid quarter, outscoring the Magic 38-19. This wasn’t enough to bring them back into the game and Orlando ended up winning with the final score of 132-116.
The game leaders for Orlando were Aaron Gordon (22 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists), Nikola Vucevic (23 points and 11 rebounds) and Terrence Ross (25 points and 2 rebounds). The leaders for the Kings were De’Aaron Fox (13 points and 3 assists), Harry Giles (23 points and 8 rebounds) and Bogdan Bogdanovic (12 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists).
This game was dominated by the Magic through and through. The unfortunate and untimely injury to Jonathan Isaac is a huge loss to that roster and it’s safe to say everyone will be wishing him a speedy recovery. Seeing Orlando adapt to their recent loss and witnessing if the Kings can make a comeback in their third game keeps both these teams as some of the more interesting to watch in the bubble.