Only a giraffe that moves like a lion could put up numbers like this.
Jonathan Isaac on Wednesday night fully lived up to the half-giraffe, half-lion nickname that Terrence Ross bestowed upon him a few weeks back. Displaying his length, speed, agility and defensive instincts, Isaac had 13 points, 10 rebounds, a career-high six blocks, five assists and four steals in the Magic’s 107-106 loss to the Mavericks.
The 22-year-old became just the third player since the 1983-1984 season to record 13-plus points, 10-plus rebounds, 6-plus blocks, 5-plus assists and 4-plus steals, joining Hall of Famers Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson. That’s kind of an arbitrary set of parameters but it does show how unique the all-around stat line truly is.
Isaac became the third Magic player to have six blocks and four steals in a game, joining Ben Wallace in 1999 (six blocks, four steals), and Bo Outlaw in 1999 (7 blocks and five steals).
He was one steal shy of the rare 5x5 game (points, rebounds, assists, blocks, steals), which has happened just 19 times in NBA history (six of which were by Olajuwon). With one more steal (I thought he had it at the end but they credited the steal to Markelle Fultz), Isaac would have also become just the third player in Magic franchise history to have five blocks and five steals in a single game, behind Dwight Howard in 2008 (five steals, five blocks) and Bo Outlaw in 1999 (five steals, seven blocks).
Isaac, now leading the NBA with 3.0 blocks per game along with Anthony Davis, also limited Kristaps Porzingis to 10 points on 4-for-14 shooting.
“Isaac is very good and very improved,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle told reporters after the game. “Because he doesn’t necessarily have gaudy stats, he may not get in the running for Most Improved Player. But I’ll tell you what, top to bottom, I haven’t seen a guy who has improved more than him in the last year. He’s a major factor at both end. I just love the way he plays.”
Jonathan Isaac makes a great defensive effort and assist for your Heads Up Play of the Day! pic.twitter.com/TvGAVUJWg1— NBA TV (@NBATV) November 7, 2019
The league is taking notice of Isaac, opponents are likely dreading having to face him, and Magic fans are witnessing one of their own develop into arguably the league’s top defensive player.