ORLANDO – The Orlando Magic continued on their quest to evaluate their young talent and lost to the Indiana Pacers 131-112 at the Amway Center on Sunday Night. This was no ordinary night, however.
For a team that has sustained devastating injuries, trade requests that led to a total overhaul of their roster, and now a team of promising young players, little did they know that more tests were to come.
Steve Clifford out for health and safety protocols.
On Saturday, Magic Head Coach Steve Clifford held a press conference, telling the media that he had tested positive in Saturday morning for the COVID-19 Virus.
After the Magic loss to New Orleans on Thursday, Clifford’s test resulted in a positive reading. On Friday, he tested twice, both were negative. He remained quarantined after the initial positive test, and his temperature and oxygen levels were monitored, He has no symptoms of the virus.
The thought is that he may have contracted it from a referee in Atlanta during Orlando’s last game there. Clifford Sid that there was no way he would be allowed to coach Sunday’s game against the Pacers. Assistant Coach Ty Corbin, who has head coaching experience with the Utah Jazz.
Magic Still Trying to Work Together
One of Steve Clifford’s biggest issues with this team is that they don’t always work together and follow the plan from the coaches. You’ve got a bunch of young players, some from outside the organization, such as RJ Hampton, who see tis as a big opportunity, and others from Orlando’s G-league team, the Lakeland Magic.
After Thursday’s blowout to the New Orleans Pelicans, Clifford lamented that the team had guys out there trying to make highlights and build up their stats, but were playing terribly. Sunday seemed to have a similar result as the Pacers did the same.
The Pacers had little trouble with the Magic. They shot over 50% from the field, and had seven players with double digit scoring, lead by Malcolm Brogden (24), Edmund Summer (21), and Justin Holiday (20). The Pacers also shot close to 50% from deep.
Orlando managed to have several players with double digit scoring, including the team leading Dwayne Bacon with 20. The Pacers scoring was hard for the Magic to keep up with and Indiana dominated fast break scoring 27-9.
Mo Bamba scored 17 points, and Cole Anthony and RJ Hampton both scored 14.
Cannady’s Devastating Injury
At 3:09 left in the first quarter, Magic reserve guard Devin Cannady attempted to block a Edmond Summers layup and landed awkwardly. The result was a devastating Open ankle fracture. As Cannady screamed on the floor in pain, Mo Bamba took off his jersey and covered his leg, keeping the injure from view.
“I just saw my teammate was down, and I just did what he would probably do for me. I just thought quick and I didn’t want him to see (the injury). I just took my shirt off my back and gave it to him. I know that’s what he would have done for me.”
Cannady was the G League Finals MVP after helping the Lakeland Magic win the title at Disney in March, originally signed a 10-day contract with Orlando on April 6 before inking a two-way deal on April 16.
After stabilizing the injury, medical staff mangled to get Cannady onto a gurney and Cannady clapped his hands and gave a thumbs up as they rolled him off of the floor, to the crowd’s applause.
Bamba later posted a screen capture of Cannady, Cole Anthony, RJ Hampton, and others on video call, noting that they were all glad that Devin was in good spirits.
The Magic still have 13 games left to sort all of this out, as far as players, coaches protocols, and getting things to run smoothly so that they can properly evaluate these players and help them grow.
On Monday, the Los Angeles Lakers come to town after losing 3 straight games and looking for blood. The game is at 7pm tonight at the Amway Center.