The Orlando Magic didn’t have to look too far back when planning the game for the Toronto Raptors.
They won’t have to do it for Sunday either.
The Magic were just five full days away from their 13-point road loss to the Raptors when the teams faced off again on Friday.
It was obvious the recent game helped the Magic (7-20), who came out hot offensively, scoring 37 in the first quarter and 67 in the first half en route to a 113-109 win over the Raptors ( 13-13) at Amway Center.
Franz Wagner scored a season-high 34 points, including a layup after Markelle Fultz (15 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds) missed a shot from halfway to give the Magic a 111- 109 with 26.9 seconds left.
“He wants to win,” coach Jamahl Mosley said of Wagner. “We’ve been saying this since the beginning of the year: he’s one of the most competitive guys I know. Add that to the basketball IQ on top of that, that’s what makes him special.
Wagner shot 12 of 15 from the field and made all 8 of his free throws.
“Franz showed a variety of ways to score the basketball, but by doing it in the flow of the offense, nothing was forced,” Fultz said. “You just have to play his game and believe in the work he has done. A big rebound, a big setback. This is what Franz does. He’s a great player, man. It’s just exciting to be there with him and watch him grow.
Paolo Banchero (23 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists) sealed the victory with 2 free throws, giving the Magic consecutive victories for the second time this season.
They were coming off a 116-111 home win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.
Cole Anthony added 18 points (7 of 10 shooting), 5 assists and 3 rebounds off the bench. Moe Wagner had 11 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists while Bol Bol had 10 points and 6 rebounds.
Pascal Siakam led the Raptors with 36 points.
Playing a team multiple times within a tight time frame – especially back-to-back matches – allows for better match planning.
It was clear the Magic needed to improve after allowing 56% shooting, 12 offensive rebounds, recording just 24 defensive rebounds and having 16 turnovers leading to 29 Raptors points last Saturday.
They shored up rebounds (7 offenses allowed) while overcoming their struggles with turnovers (20 for Toronto’s 20 points) and fouls (27) with strong shooting (59.2% from the field, 38.5% on 3s ).
They will play again Sunday at the Amway Center to wrap up a “baseball-style” series — when two teams play back-to-back games at the same location with no travel in between — which means the Magic will face the Raptors three times in eight days.
“It’s great,” coach Jamahl Mosley said before the match to have been able to play a team so close to each other several times. “The guys understand and feel what they did to us in the last game. Their physical level, they turn us around, they attack the basket – they understand what to expect and now it’s if we can go out there and execute the game plan the right play.”
Wendell Carter Jr. (strained right foot plantar fascia), Gary Harris (strained right hamstring), Jonathan Isaac (left knee injury recovery), Chuma Okeke (left knee pain) and Jalen Suggs (left knee pain) right ankle) sat down on Friday.
None of the injured players participated in the morning shootout.
“They’re just running right now, just to get their bodies moving a bit more,” Mosley said. “Each guy has his own category of what he’s capable of. Wendell moves a little. Gary jogs up and down, taking a few shots. JI, obviously, you know, went through Lakeland practices. Chuma is also getting down to the ground doing a little up and down running.
“Jalen still feels a bit of pain. He’s not in the field yet.
This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Khobi Prize to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @khobi_price.