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Orlando Summer League: Mavericks defeat Magic in game 3

Orlando got off to another hot start behind more strong play from Isaac, but trailed off in the second and third quarters

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Nebraska Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Three games into Orlando Summer League, we’re starting to get a better idea of who each player is and what they’re good at. Encouragingly, we’re also seeing signs of progress among the Magic’s most important prospects, even in such a short amount of time. Unfortunately, the Magic still weren’t able to take the win, falling 86-76 to the Dallas Mavericks. Jonathan Isaac put together another great performance, filling up the box score with 9 points on 3-5 shooting, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks, and a steal in just 12 minutes of the first half. He did not play the second half as a precaution due to minor hip soreness. Marcus Georges-Hunt continued his summer scoring spree, leading all scorers with 20 points, including 4-6 shooting from deep.

The Magic got out to their second straight strong start, racing out to leads of 16-3 and 26-9 in the first quarter. Isaac was all over the court defensively, erasing mistakes and bothering opponents on the perimeter and interior with his length. One encouraging sign: he was able to play most of the first quarter rather than exiting early like his two previous starts. His absence was certainly felt throughout the rest of the game, when the Mavericks were able to score with impunity.

Georges-Hunt continued his scoring role that he’s adopted the past few days, and it’s probably fair to say he’s improved in that capacity, upping his total each game. The Magic still have him under a partially-guaranteed contract, and he’s doing his best to prove his worth as an off-the-bench shooting option, something the Magic could sorely use.

Another player who may have proved his worth this last week: Derrick Walton Jr., who got a chance to start today in place of Kalin Lucas, who did not see playing time. He too excelled at the start of the game, collected a game-high 5 assists, and showed that he’s the Magic’s best pick-and-roll guard at Summer League. While his 6-1 stature and his senior status coming out of Michigan may ultimately limit his upside, Magic fans are clamoring for the team to sign him as a third guard option.

After the strong first quarter, the team once again trailed off in the following 20 minutes, allowing the Mavericks too many easy shots while failing to generate a lot of penetration themselves, leading to just 11 points in the second quarter and 17 in the third. While the Magic did make a push in the fourth to get within single digits, ultimately they would have to settle with taking the fourth-quarter standings point—albeit in controversial fashion, thanks to a buzzer-beating jumper from Matt Costello that would have been wiped off the board if replay were used.

Incidentally, Costello is also having a fine week, making smart decisions defensively and in pick-and-rolls. Unfortunately, he had a poor day fouling and committing turnovers on Monday, but there have been times throughout the week when he’s looked like the better option over Stephen Zimmerman. Still, with three centers already on the roster, it’s hard to imagine he’ll be seriously considered for the main roster, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him in Lakeland this year.