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Orlando Magic Share the Ball All Around, Rout the Detroit Pistons 119-103



Franz Wagner attempts a layup for the Orlando Magic during the Magic's match against the Detroit Pistons at Amway Center Friday, January 28, 2022. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – For a change, the Orlando Magic started and finished strong in Friday’s game against the Detroit Pistons. Tonight’s match was basically a scrap at the bottom of the barrel, with the Pistons in second-to-last place (11-36 on the season) in the Eastern Conference above the Magic (9-40).


First Quarter

Franz Wagner meant business. He clocked 13 points, including two dunks, and went five for seven on field goals, one for two on three pointers and two for two on free throws…in the first eight minutes of the game. His teammates Cole Anthony and benchers Gary Harris, Terrence Ross and Chuma Okeke each contributed five points. Mo Bamba got a nice dunk after a defensive battle on both sides of the court early in the first.

For Detroit, Hamidou Diallo led in scoring in the first quarter with six points courtesy of two successful three pointers.

The Orlando Magic had a strong 39-19 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Detroit’s Trey Lyles and Rodney Magruder picked up on the scoring in the second quarter with seven and nine points off the bench, respectively. By halftime, they were the team’s scoring leaders, contributing a total 10 points each.

Franz Wagner led the scoring the first half with 17 points and Gary Harris came in second with 10 off the bench.

The Magic led the Pistons 67-51 at halftime.


Second Half

By third quarter, Detroit’s Saddiq Bey led his team in scoring with 13 points, going four for nine on field goals and three for four on free throws.

Franz Wagner still led the Magic in the third with 18 points.

The Magic were looking good in the third: 50 percent to Detroit’s 36.2 percent on field goals, 31 rebounds to Detroit’s 25, 61.5 percent to Detroit’s 45 percent on three pointers. Could they keep up this momentum in the fourth?

Well Terrence Ross gave his aggressive answer, fanning the flames with three three-pointers in the first two minutes of the fourth.

Heading into the final quarter, it was reported from the sideline that veteran player Robin Lopez told his Orlando Magic teammates that the reason the Magic were doing really well in this game was everyone getting their hands on the ball, encouraging them to keep it up to get the win.

By 6:02 in the fourth, the Magic were ahead on field goals, 37 for 72 to Detroit’s 25 for 72. While the Pistons shot a few more threes, the Magic nailed more of them: the Pistons were 10 for 25 while the Magic were 12 for 22. The same was true for free throws: the Pistons shot more of them, but the Magic nailed more of theirs, getting 25 of their 26 (96.2 percent) to Detroit’s 29 for 36 (80.6 percent). Detroit had 30 points in the paint to Orlando’s 46.

In a reverse of their typical fate, the Magic led by 22 points with less than three minutes left in the game, 117-95.

In the end, the Magic led 119-103 for a refreshing W after many consecutive losses.

The Orlando Magic continue their homestand Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks at 7pm ET.


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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