If the Orlando Magic end up getting, say, the sixth pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, just barely missing out on the likes of Cade Cunningham or Jalen Green, names such as Moritz Wagner and Chasson Randle and Ignas Brazdeikis will live in Magic lore.
As in: “Remember when Ignas Brazdeikis helped the Magic get a meaningless win over the Pistons and cost them Cade Cunningham?”
Doing so is a disservice to those three - who combined for 42 points in the Magic’s 119-112 victory in Detroit on Monday - and to the Magic’s core players who performed in a way we can only hope to see on a nightly basis in the near future. That being Mo Bamba, who, after a slow start, had career-highs of 22 points and 15 rebounds, and R.J. Hampton, who was three rebounds shy of a triple double with 16 points, a career-high 10 assists and 7 rebounds — nearly eclipsing the career-high 18 points he scored in Saturday’s win.
Seven players finished in double figures for a Magic team that shot 51.1 percent and won back-to-back games for the first time since April 1.
It’s two wins that a majority of Magic fans, myself included, didn’t ask for or want. But it was two wins that included a Cole Anthony game-winner, and career nights by Bamba and Hampton.
Hoping for losses at this stage of the season, and after the last decade of Orlando Magic basketball, is understandable. Even if it means only a minimal improvement in odds in the draft lottery. But getting angry over wins, especially when the Magic aren’t exactly rushing their injured veterans back into the lineup, is a waste of energy. It’s fair to ask the front office to pull the plug on the season, as they did. It’s unfair to ask the same of the players that coaches who still have to take the court each night, and who are fighting for future opportunities and paychecks.
The Magic bench (70 points) easily outscored their starting unit (49), led by Bamba, Hampton, Randle (a season-high 18 points), and Brazdeikis (14 points in his Magic debut). The bench unit combined to go 25-for-44 from the field (56.8 percent), and was on the court to close out what was a tight game alongside Wagner.
The win improves the Magic’s record to 21-44 as they fall a full game out of the league’s bottom three. They are now tied with the Thunder for the fourth worst record, and sit just a half game behind the Cavs with seven to play. Current positioning would mean an 11 percent chance for the Magic to land the top overall pick, whereas Houston, Detroit and Minnesota each have a 14 percent chance.
Here’s a mini “Twitter reacts....” story to see how Magic Twitter is handling the win.....
Come on bro... we now have a winning culture thanks to those back to back wins https://t.co/1DXSLqcVgS— Cunningham ➡️ Orlando (@McKay_DeLaVega) May 4, 2021
In a week this team has gone from an 80% chance of picking top 5 to a bow 45% chance of picking top 5.— Magic On Top (@MagicOnTop) May 4, 2021
“It’s only one win though”
We will never get nice things.
Fk a relationship..No heartbreak like being disappointed by the @OrlandoMagic— fultzworld (@LegendofBamba) May 4, 2021
Add some losses to the collection ffs— Isgak aka Iceman (@IcemanCT) May 4, 2021
This winning streak is like really fun and really depressing at the same time...— Stephen Cameron (@Stephen0610) May 4, 2021
guys, c’mon.— EVRYDAY Magic (@EVRYDAYMagic) May 4, 2021
if there was 1 team worse than the Magic in the league— it was the injury-riddled Pistons.
As weird as it is to say, the Magic were supposed to win this game.
with that being said, it’d be nice if the Magic lose out for the rest of the season now.
In 2018, the Kings had the seventh best odds...and they picked second that year.— Aaron Goldstone (@AaronGoldstone) May 4, 2021
In 2019, the Pelicans had the seventh best odds, Grizzlies eighth. They picked one and two
In 2020, the Hornets had the eighth best odds, they picked second.
Once again, it’s a lottery ♂️
Magic beat the Pistons in a crucial game to lose. Nothing to say, just sad at the result. I know we all have pride. But some franchises do what it takes to win big in this league long-term. Others…don’t. Snakebitten franchise, true, but also victims of our own design.— Cigamodnalro (@cigamodnalro) May 4, 2021