ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – With the news of Markelle Fultz’s long awaited return to the court being “probable” tonight, the Orlando Magic and fans were on another level of high.
Indiana got the scoring started with Oshae Brissett’s baseline three-pointer, which Orlando immediately answered with Mo Bamba’s alley-oop dunk from Wendell Carter Jr.
Indiana quickly dampened Orlando’s hype by outscoring them, though. By 7:12 in the first quarter, head coach Mosley called a timeout with his Magic already lagging 16-7. Out of the timeout, Franz Wagner scored a quick alley-oop dunk from Jalen Suggs, who then followed with a field goal of his own.
At 3:55 in the first quarter, the crowd erupted as Cole Anthony switched out for the player Magic fans have been waiting for: Markelle Fultz. He wasted no time, either, firing an assist to Franz Wagner for a successful shot.
Fultz got his first successful shots in the second quarter, his first being a fadeaway from the the free-throw line. Shortly thereafter, he did a fake-out layup. Before he was switched out, Fultz scored two of his three field goals, contributing four points and 3 assists.
The ball play got aggressive in the second quarter–sure a few fouls ensued, but the aggression lied in the rim attack. For the Magic, Wendell Carter Jr. shouldered the dunking duties, knocking down three. On the whole, Carter put the team on his back in the first half, going five for six on field goals and getting a double double early in the night with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Jalen Smith led the scoring for Indiana in the first half with 14 points and six rebounds. He was 4-6 on field goals, 3-5 on three-pointers, and 3-4 on free throws. He was ejected for two technical fouls after a controversial call in the third quarter, however.
The Magic came out strong in the third quarter, but began self-sabotaging with fouls.
By 3:00 left in the third quarter, Mosley had filled the court with some serious weapons: Markelle Fultz, Terrence Ross, Wendell Carter Jr., Chuma Okeke, and Gary Harris.
By the end of the third quarter, the Magic led the Pacers 90-75.
The Magic kept the pressure on in the fourth quarter, entering into the bonus via Garry Harris’ three-pointer with 8:34 left in the game, 101-83. By the final buzzer, the Magic defeated the Pacers 119-103.
Overall, for Indiana, Tyrese Haliburton led his team in scoring with 23 points and seven assists. Wendell Carter Jr. racked up 21 points and twelve rebounds for the Magic.
The Magic rematch with the Pacers at Amway Center Wednesday, March 2 at 7pm ET.
Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org