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Orlando Magic showing balance in early-season success

That included double-doubles by four different players against the Celtics

NBA: Orlando Magic at Boston Celtics Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Gordon may have felt a little left out on Monday night.

He was the lone Magic starter not to finish with a double-double in Orlando’s 93-90 victory over the Boston Celtics.

It had been two and a half decades since the Magic last had four players finish with double-doubles in the same game.

In that game, Shaquille O’Neal had 29 points and 12 rebounds, Penny Hardaway had 18 points and 15 assists, Nick Anderson had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Jeff Turner added 12 points and 11 rebounds in a 117-116 loss to the Golden State Warriors.

The present-day Magic had more success during their double-double frenzy.

That balance, along with strong defense (and quite a few missed open looks by the Celtics), and a high assist rate for the commonly isolation-happy Magic, helped Orlando upset a team that many believe to be headed to the NBA Finals.

Nikola Vucevic led the way with 24 points and 12 rebounds for his second double-double of the young season. Double-doubles, of course, are to be expected from Vucevic, who has finished in the top 20 in the league in the category in each of his six seasons in Orlando, topping out at third most in 2012-2013 with 46. For his fellow starters, though, the double-doubles came as somewhat of a surprise.

Jonathan Isaac reached double figures in rebounds for the first time in his young, grabbing 12 board to go along with 18 points, both of which were career bests. That made for his first ever double-double in what was just the 31st game of Isaac’s career.

D.J. Augustin, who had two double-doubles last season, dished out seven first half dimes and overcame a difficult shooting night (3-of-13) against the Celtics en route to a 10-point, 10-assist performance.

The Magic point guard was matched in assists by Evan Fournier, who recorded a career-high 10 assists to go along with 14 points for his second career double-double. It was the second consecutive game that a member of the Magic established a new career-high in assists, with Fournier following in the footsteps of Vucevic, who recorded 12 assists in his triple-double on Saturday against the Sixers.

Thanks to the penetration and distribution of the Orlando backcourt, the Magic’s ball movement resulted in 28 assists on 38 baskets made for a 73.7 percent assist rate. While the over-dribbling and shot selection remained an issue at times in the half-court set against the Celtics, it was encouraging to see the Magic sharing the ball and putting an emphasis on getting the ball into the paint to help create an inside-out offense.

Also encouraging in the small sample size of the early season, is that in the Magic’s four games this season, they have been led in scoring by a different player in each game (though we probably shouldn’t really count Terrence Ross’ team-high 14 points in that disaster of a game against Charlotte). For a team like Orlando that lacks a true go-to scorer, they will need balance of that nature to be successful.

The double-doubles will prove to be an aberration. As our knowledgeable commentor Mike from Illinois pointed out, it was just the third time in franchise history the Magic had four players with double-doubles in the same game.

But the numbers so far suggest that the Magic are finding new ways to score and getting production from a variety of players to do so.