Franz Wagner’s performance in the Orlando Magic’s 113-109 home win Friday over the Toronto Raptors highlighted two things: the versatility of individual scorers and an ideal version of the team’s offense.
Wagner shone, scoring a season-high 34 points, including the set-up layup. He was efficient and decisive, shooting 12 of 15 from the field – including 9 of 10 inside the paint – and made all 8 of his free throws.
He balanced his score in the first three quarters (10, 8 and 14) before scoring the decisive bucket.
“I had a few practices after the second and third play when the defense had to move a bit,” Wagner said when asked what he saw of the Toronto defense that allowed him to have his best performance of the season. “I saw the ball go in and had a few free throws early.
“After that, a couple came into transition and did pick-and-roll throughout the game where it’s hard for defenses to grab a player. It’s something I continue to do: play in the flow of the attack and not chase shots.
Playing in the flow of offense was a theme for the Magic throughout Friday, not just for Wagner.
While this isn’t reflected in most numbers in a traditional boxscore (24 assists on 42 field goals, 19 of 21 free throws, 50 points in the paint, and 10 of 26 of 3), the plan coach Jamahl Mosley’s play was executed by the Magic. as well as they have done at all times this season and were rewarded with 59.2% shooting from the field and an offensive rating (points scored per 100 possessions) of 116.5 – their best since winning 11 November against the Phoenix Suns.
“This game shows that what the coaches tell us works,” Wagner said. “They tell us to go to the paint and make decisions from there. Toronto is really good at crashing on the paint and defending the rim. This second and third action is when you get rim shots most of the time. It’s thanks to the way we moved the basketball and let everyone touch it throughout a possession.
Forty-two of the Magic’s 71 field goal attempts came after the ball carrier went into the paint, including 14 of the first 19 during the first quarter when they shot 66.7% from the field (14 from the field). 21) and 60% over 3s (60% ).
This does not take into account their paint dabs preceding a shot foul that did not count as a field goal attempt.
The Magic moved the ball side-to-side well and attacked the paint quickly on player and ball movement – a strength of the team that was further evidenced by Orlando shooting 72.2% on the drives and 84% on the rim.
“It makes it a lot easier when you have guys who know how to make and when to make what decision,” Wagner said. “We have so many guys who can handle the ball and make decisions. That’s when we can reach our potential, when all these guys can make decisions.
The Magic have had more ball players in recent games after the returns of Markelle Fultz and Cole Anthony, giving them more options to create offense.
“We continue to learn from each other,” Fultz said. “Guys are starting to realize that’s how our team can play. We are young, sporty and we want to make everyone a threat. We’ve done it in the last few games, I just think [Friday] you saw the results of taking shots and getting the shots we wanted. Something we must continue to build on. We still had a few too many turnovers, but it’s about improving a little bit every day.
The Magic (7-20) and Raptors (13-13) 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.
This will be the third game between the two teams in nine days.
This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Khobi Prize to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @khobi_price.