On a night where the Orlando Magic put together arguably their best overall performance of the season, it was a fourth quarter injury that stuck out most.
Up by 28 early in the fourth quarter, the Magic were cruising to yet another impressive victory against the Sacramento Kings, when when all the air was pulled from their ballon. Driving to the basket, Jonathan Isaac, who returned less than a week ago from a left knee injury he suffered in January, planted to go up, and as he did his left knee buckled, sending Isaac to the ground in a heap.
Isaac, who has battled lower body injuries since being entering the league, was taken off the court in a wheelchair. The injury left a dark cloud over an otherwise flawless performance for the Magic. According to the Undefeated’s Marc Spears, the Magic fear Isaac suffered a torn ACL.
“That was tough, man,” said Aaron Gordon of Isaac’s injury. “That one brought me to tears instantly just because I know how good of a guy J.I. is, and I know how hard he works and how hard he has worked to get back since hurting himself in D.C. So that one’s tough. But, I hope it’s just a tweak.
“I hope it’s nothing serious. I know when you do come back from injury, and you do feel a twinge or pain, you always think the worst. So, I’m just hoping it’s not as bad as it seems.”
The Magic picked up right where they left off on Friday against the Brooklyn Nets, making nine of their first 11 shots from the field to race out to an early 21-12 lead. It was a lead the Magic, who shot a blistering 62.8 percent in the opening half, would not relinquish, beating the Kings 132-116.
Orlando’s 132 points marked the fifth straight game where they’ve scored 120 points or more, a franchise record.
The lead peaked at as many as 36 in the third quarter, thanks in large part to stellar play off the bench from Terrence Ross and Markelle Fultz. The duo combined for 28 points in the opening half, with Ross finishing with a game-high 25. Fultz added 14, including a 3⁄4 court heave at the end of the first quarter to tie a Magic franchise record for points in the first quarter with 44.
The Magic knocked down a season-high tying 18 three-pointers, and tallied 31 assists on 43 made shots. Their 78 first half points were three shy of the franchise record set last year against the Atlanta Hawks. The 65 bench points tied a season-high, previously set on March 10th against the Memphis Grizzlies, moving the team to 8-0 this season when the bench scores 50 points or more.
Nikola Vucevic, who finished the night with 23 points and 11 rebounds, scored 12 in the third quarter to help steady the ship for the Magic after a slightly shaky start to the second half.
Coming off a slow start on the defensive end in Friday afternoon’s victory, the Magic were locked in from the start, smothering the Kings, and not allowing them to get out in transition, something coach Steve Clifford preached the team would need to do before the game.
De’Aaron Fox, who is strongest when getting out in transition, was quieted all night, finishing with just 13 points and three assists. Whenever the Kings tried to run, the Magic were already ready and back on defense to slow them down.
Sacramento was led by Harry Giles, who scored 23 off the bench. Five more Kings, led by former Magic summer leaguer DaQuan Jeffries, finished the night with 12 points.
Aaron Gordon set the tone early for the Magic, scoring 11 of his 22 in the opening quarter.
The Magic will continue their run to the playoffs on Tuesday night against T.J. Warren and the Indiana Pacers.