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Orlando Magic Rally Early But Ultimately Fall to L.A. Clippers, 111-102



LA's Isaiah Hartenstein blocks Terrence Ross's shot during the Orlando Magic;s match against the LA Clippers at Amway Center Wednesday, January 26, 2022. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – The Orlando Magic had a better third quarter against the L.A. Clippers at Amway Center Wednesday…but they still ended up slipping in the fourth.

The Magic started started strong scoring in the first quarter, making 25 points in the first half (two more than LA). They made three less than LA in the second quarter, scoring 23 to LA’s 26, but came out ahead by a hair.

Mo Bamba thrilled the crowd with back to back dunks in the second quarter. The Magic were only behind by one point at halftime, 49-48.


Second Half

Things looked promising for the Magic at the beginning of the third quarter–more rebounds, a successful three-pointer and nice alley oop pass to Franz Wagner from Cole Anthony. Anthony repeated the same alley oop pass–this time from backcourt–halfway into the third, and Wagner dunked it in again.

On the Magic’s next possession Mo Bamba got a nice dunk in from Wendell Carter Jr.’s pass.

With Luke Kennard’s foul, Cole Anthony went to the free throw line for three…and nailed all three.

Late in the third, Anthony was Orlando’s leading man with 13 points, seven for seven on free throws and three for five on field goals and eight assists.

LA’s Terance Mann was the leading scorer for the Clippers with 14 points. He was six for nine on field goals and two for three on three-pointers.

The Magic ended the third quarter with a 78-76 lead, but it began to slip through their fingers in the fourth.

In the fourth quarter, the tables turned for Luke Kennard, and he ended up at the line shooting three and scored all three.

By the 7:32 mark in the fourth, the Magic lagged behind 89-82.

The Clippers ran away with the lead with consistent scoring while the Magic began missing more of their shots. By 4:50 left in the game, the Clippers led 96-89.

A controversial play came in the final two minutes of the game. Gary Harris made a baseline three-pointer, and with a 104-89 score, the Magic needed some points. However, after review, the basket was disallowed due to Harris being out of bounds when he made the shot.

Mo Wagner made up for it on Orlando’s next possession. In fact he scored twice in a row, bringing the score to 105-94.

Franz Wagner followed his brother’s example and double scored as well, nailing a three-pointer followed by a dunk, pushing the Magic to 99 points to LA’s 106. The Clippers froze the clock with a timeout with 16.1 seconds left to play.

What put the nail in Orlando’s coffin, was Wendell Carter Jr.’s foul on Amir Coffey, who went to the line for two.

Cole Anthony softened the blow with a three-pointer to break the 100-point mark at 102, only to foul Jay Scrubbs, who went to the line for two.

The Magic called time out with 8.4 seconds left in the game and a 111-102 score.

The Magic next host the Detroit Pistons at Amway Center Friday.


Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. |


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LeBron James Inks 2-Year, $97.1 Million Deal with Lakers



LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James has agreed to a two-year, $97.1 million contract extension through the 2024-25 season with the Los Angeles Lakers, his agent announced Wednesday.

Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul said the league-maximum deal makes James the highest-paid player in NBA history. His new deal includes a player option that would keep the second-leading scorer in NBA history with the Lakers past his 40th birthday in December 2024.

The 37-year-old James is headed into the final year of his most recent contract with the Lakers, who signed the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player and four-time league champion in July 2018. The new deal means the 18-time All-Star will make $46.7 million this season.

Barring injury, James is likely to surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s career scoring king this winter. James and the Lakers also still hope to be in contention for another title if James and Anthony Davis can return at full health after an injury-plagued 2021-22 ended without a playoff appearance.

James’ new deal syncs with Davis’ most recent contract extension with the Lakers, allowing both to leave the Lakers or to negotiate new deals in 2024. Both superstars are represented by Klutch.

James’ recommitment to the Lakers also silences persistent talk of his possible departure as a free agent or in a trade. James hasn’t appeared to be going anywhere on social media or in his public appearances, and he praised the hiring of new Lakers coach Darvin Ham.

James has missed significant portions of the season due to injury in three of his four years with the Lakers. He was largely healthy in the elongated 2019-20 season when the Lakers won the franchise’s 17th NBA title in the Florida bubble, and he has been every bit the dominant player of his prime when at full strength in the ensuing two years.

Although his contract status inspired plenty of offseason chatter, James seemed unlikely to relocate after spending the past four seasons of his 19-year career with the storied Lakers. His family is settled in Los Angeles, where his eldest son, Bronny, is a 17-year-old senior and college basketball prospect playing at Sierra Canyon High School in Chatsworth.

James has occasionally said he intends to play on the same team with Bronny when his son reaches the NBA. Although plenty of obstacles remain between the younger James and the NBA, he could be draft-eligible in the summer of 2024.

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Orlando Magic Select Caleb Houstan in the Second Round (32nd Overall) of 2022 NBA Draft



Michigan basketball wing Caleb Houstan was a five-star recruit in the class of 2021. (Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando Magic have selected forward Caleb Houstan in the second round (32nd overall) of the 2022 NBA Draft.

Houstan (6’8”, 205, 1/9/03) played and started in all 34 games last season as a freshman at the University of Michigan, averaging 10.1 ppg., 4.0 rpg. and 1.4 apg. in 32.1 minpg., while shooting .355 (60-169) from three-point range. He led the Wolverines in three-point field goals made. Houstan scored in double figures 17 times and had 20+ points twice. He had ten games with 3+ three-pointers made and four games with 4+ three-pointers. Houstan was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week for the period ending Jan. 24 and helped Michigan reach the Sweet Sixteen during the NCAA Tournament for the fifth consecutive time.

A native of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, Houstan graduated from Montverde Academy in Montverde, FL. As a senior (2020-21), he was named Florida’s Gatorade Player of the Year. Houstan was also named a 2021 McDonald’s All-American, a Naismith Second Team All-American and to the Sports Illustrated All-American Third Team.

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Orlando Magic Select Paolo Banchero with the First Overall Pick of 2022 NBA Draft



The Orlando Magic have selected Paolo Banchero in the first round of the 2022 NBA Draft. Photo via NBC Chicago.

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando Magic have selected forward Paolo Banchero (pronounced pow-loh ban-CARE-oh) in the first round (first overall) of the 2022 NBA Draft.

Banchero (6’10”, 250, 11/12/02) played and started in all 39 games last season as a freshman at Duke University, averaging 17.2 ppg., 7.8 rpg., 3.2 apg. and 1.05 stlpg. in 33.0 minpg., while shooting .478 (245-513) from the floor. He led all true freshmen in the nation in scoring. Banchero led the Blue Devils in scoring and rebounding, while ranking second in minutes played. He also ranked fifth in the Atlantic Coast Conference in rebounding and sixth in the conference in scoring.

Banchero was named Second Team All-America by the NABC and USBWA, while being a Third Team All-America selection by The Associated Press and The Sporting News. Among his many accolades, he was one of 15 finalists for the John R. Wooden Award, given to the nation’s most outstanding player, and one of five finalists for the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award. Banchero was named to the All-ACC First Team, the ACC All-Freshmen Team and was the ACC Freshman of the Year. He was also named to the ACC All-Tournament Team, the NCAA All-Tournament Team and the NCAA West Region’s Most Outstanding Player, leading Duke to the 2022 NCAA Final Four.

While at O’Dea High School in Seattle, WA, Banchero led the team to the Class 3A state championship as a sophomore (2018-19) and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. As a junior (2019-20), he was named Washington’s Gatorade Player of the Year, a MaxPreps Junior All-American and the MaxPreps National Junior Player of the Year. Despite his senior season being postponed due to the pandemic, Banchero was named a 2021 McDonald’s All-American, a Naismith First Team All-American and a Sports Illustrated All-American.

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