It’s been a season defined by injury and absence for the Orlando Magic.
In a game where they were missing four rotation players, not even including Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac, and also without Steve Clifford after he tested positive for COVID-19, injury struck once again in gruesome and heartbreaking fashion.
Devin Cannady, a recent two-way contract signee who was coming off a career-high 17-point performance, went up to contest a shot in the first quarter, landed awkwardly and was down on the court in immediate pain. Mo Bamba took off his jersey and covered Cannady’s injury before medical personnel got to his side. Cannady’s right leg was placed in an air cast and, after what was a roughly 15 minute delay, he was taken off the court on a stretcher, giving a thumbs up and a wave to the crowd on his way out.
Devin Cannady was taken out on a stretcher during the Pacers-Magic game after suffering a lower leg injury— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 26, 2021
Prayers up pic.twitter.com/rq17guvyAe
The Magic later announced that Cannady suffered an open fracture of his right ankle, which will require surgery.
It was a difficult scene to watch for a player who was just beginning to make the most of an opportunity after being named MVP of the G League Finals with the Lakeland Magic.
The Magic, who were down by six when the injury occurred with 3:09 left in the first, seemed understandably shell shocked when play resumed. The Pacers quickly increased their lead to double figures, with a three-point play by Edmond Sumner making it 35-21 with 33 seconds left in the quarter. The Pacers shot 59.1 percent in the quarter, led by Sumner, who had 12 points. The Magic shot just 37.5 percent in the first, but got to the line for 10 attempts, making seven.
The Pacers pushed their lead to 15 after Doug McDermott scored seven straight points to make it 50-35 with 6:46 left in the second. But the Magic responded with a 12-0 run, with Robert Franks scoring seven points during the run to pull the Magic within 50-47. The Magic cut the deficit to one following threes by Cole Anthony and Chuma Okeke, and soon tied it at 57 on a pair of free throws by Dwayne Bacon. Malcolm Brogdon followed with a floater and McDermott drained a three in the closing seconds to send the Pacers into the break up 62-57.
The Magic shot 47.6 percent in the quarter, hitting 4 of 8 attempts from deep to close the gap. Bacon had 11 points and Anthony added 10 to lead Orlando at the half.
In the third quarter, the Pacers used a balanced attack to put up 41 points on 66.7 percent shooting to blow the game wide open. The Magic again had a rough quarter offensively, going 1 of 9 from deep and shooting 28.6 percent overall. The Magic went over three minutes without a field goal as Indiana increased its lead. The Pacers then closed the third with a three-point frenzy, hitting four in the final two minutes, the last of which was by Oshae Brissett at the buzzer to give the Pacers a 103-77 lead going into the fourth.
The Magic began chipping away against Indiana’s second unit, getting within 16 with 3:48 left following a three by Mo Bamba and a three-point play by Bacon. But, as has been the case for quite some time now, the defense was a mess for the Magic, with their inability to get stops putting them in a hole that was too deep for the offense to dig out of.
The Pacers shot 54.5 percent, making 15 of 32 threes (46.9%). They had seven players in double figures, led by Brogdon with 24, Sumner with 21, and Justin Holiday, who made 6 of 8 attempts from deep and had 20 points.
While the Magic defense wasn’t pretty, there were positive on the offensive end for the young guys. Okeke, following what has been a dismal three-game shooting slump in rookie wall types of outings, continued to shoot with confidence and knocked down some shots, scoring 12 points on 5-for-12 shooting (2-for-5 from three). Anthony continues to look more comfortable running the offense and finding the open man, finishing with 14 points, 7 assists, 7 rebounds and just one turnover. Wendell Carter Jr. was back in the starting lineup but on a minutes restriction after an ankle injury and still tallied 10 points and 13 rebounds in 21 minutes. Bamba had an efficient night 6-for-9 shooting night, scoring inside and out for his second straight 17-point game. R.J. Hampton’s speed was on display as he scored 14 points, including a pair of threes.
Bacon led the way with 20 points as the Magic had seven players finish in double figures despite shooting 39 percent from the field.
The losses and the injuries continue to pile up in a season that has been filled with far too many of both. The Magic now welcome the defending champs minus LeBron to town on Monday for the second night of a back-to-back.
Wishing a speedy recovery to Devin Cannady...