ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – The Magic showed the fruits of their rim attack training against the Dallas Mavericks at Amway Center Sunday.
Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley continued to employ the Mo Wagner-Terrence Ross duo in the first half. Last week he praised their on-floor chemistry in getting to the rim.
Orlando’s breakthrough player of the night, though, was Chuma Okeke. He showed himself aggressive in the first half coming off the bench with 10 points-3 in the first quarter, seven in the second.
Luka Doncic led the Mavs in scoring in the first half with 17 points, going six for 12 in field goals, two for four on three pointers and three for four in free throws. Jalen Brunson followed with 13 points, going five for seven on field goals, two for three on three pointers, and nailed his one free throw.
Three Magic players each contributed 10 points in the first half: Franz Wagner, Wendell Carter, Jr. and Chuma Okeke off the bench.
The Magic went into halftime with a 64-59 lead.
The Magic showcased some more fancy handiwork in the third quarter with Cole Anthony’s around-the-body pass to Franz Wagner, who laid the ball in to bring the score to 75-66.
The Magic got a fast break in with Cole Anthony making an easy pass to Chuma Okeke for the dunk.
The Magic fought to maintain dominance through the third quarter, despite still struggling with fouls, heading into the fourth quarter with a 91-88 lead.
Okeke kept up the scoring, contributing four points in the third quarter for a total of 14 points.
With 5:16 left in the match, the lead switched to Dallas, 106-102. Though Orlando led the Mavs in rebounds 35 to 33, creating more chances to sink the ball in, Dallas had the edge in actually completing shots, going 54.2 percent to Orlando’s 51.3 percent in field goals and 53.3 percent to Orlando’s 34.4 percent in three pointers.
The lead in the final three minutes of the game came down to free throws. The Magic closed the 106-102 gap to tie at 106. Then both teams tied at 107 on account of free throws again.
The final minute of the game was a nail-biter, with the Magic leading 109-107 with a foul called on Wendell Carter Jr. after a rebound attempt. The Mavs gained one point after free throws and the Magic called timeout immediately thereafter. For the first time all season, the Amway Center was in an uproar cheering for the Magic. Ironically, the Magic’s Wendell Carter Jr. ended up at the free throw line himself and nailed one. The Magic led at 110-108 with a whopping 16.4 seconds on the Mavs timeout.
Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | email@example.com
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.
Orlando Magic Select Caleb Houstan in the Second Round (32nd Overall) of 2022 NBA Draft
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.
Orlando Magic Select Paolo Banchero with the First Overall Pick of 2022 NBA Draft
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.