Two of the league’s top rookies took centerstage Saturday evening as Paolo Banchero and the Magic faced off against the 2022 No. 4 overall pick Keegan Murray and the Sacramento Kings.
Terrence Ross returned to the Magic’s lineup tonight after missing their previous game with an injury, but Bol Bol remained in the Magic’s starting five.
Orlando opened the game with a 22-8 lead, shooting 91%(!) from the field in the process. But the law of averages brought the Magic back to earth, as Sacramento responded with a 15-4 run over the next three minutes.
The Magic closed the opening period on a 7-2 run, leading 33-25 heading into the second, with the starting unit scoring all but two points.
Franz Wagner paced the Magic to start the second quarter: at point guard, the 6-foot-10 wunderkind scored or assisted on Orlando’s first five field goals. With 7:24 to play, the team led 47-36.
Late in the first half, Banchero scored ten straight points for the Magic and with 3:14 remaining the team led by 12 (57-43). And the exclamation point was this stepback, and-one three-pointer from Bol:
At halftime, the Magic led 65-47. Orlando had four players score in double figures in the first half: Banchero, Wagner (both with 15), Wendell Carter Jr. (13) and Bol (12).
Orlando’s offense stalled to begin the second half. A handful of turnovers and missed shots materialized into a Carter Jr. technical foul at the 5:41 mark. And with 5:25 remaining, the Magic were forced to take a timeout as the Kings cut their lead to just five (73-68).
Sacramento entered the fourth quarter with a six-point lead (83-77) as they outscored Orlando 36-12 in the third. The Magic’s 12 points was the fewest points they have scored in a quarter this season.
After the Kings knocked down their first three three-pointers of the final period, Orlando’s starters responded with a 6-0 run and cut Sacramento’s lead to four with 8:03 to go.
A turnaround jumper from Bol briefly gave the Magic the lead (94-92) with 6:09 remaining, igniting a back-and-forth affair between the two foes. In the final 5:49 of the game, there were four lead changes and three ties.
With 25.4 seconds remaining, Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox banked in a game-tying jumper (106-106) and on the ensuing possession, Orlando missed two potential game-winners resulting in the team’s first overtime game of the 2022-23 season.
Fox took over to start the extra period, scoring or assisting on his team’s first nine points. And when the Kings took a six-point lead with 54.8 remaining, the game seemed all but over. But back-to-back scores from Wagner brought Orlando back to within two.
Following a pair of Domantas Sabonis’ free throws, with 14.7 seconds left, Wagner converted yet another layup to bring the Magic back to within two. And a perfectly executed trap resulted in a Chuma Okeke steal and score with 2.5 seconds remaining, tying the game at 123.
Double-overtime looked imminent as Fox dribbled the ball up the floor, but his near half-court jumper fell threw the net and the Kings escaped Orlando with a 126-123 victory.
Banchero finished the game with career-highs in both points (33) and rebounds (15) while Wagner totaled a season-high 31 points. Bol Bol also totaled a season-high 23 points while missing just one shot all game. Fox scored a game-high 37 points for the Kings.
The Magic will have a day to recover from the heartbreaking loss before they are back in the Amway Center Monday for a matchup against the Houston Rockets.