WASHINGTON – The Orlando Magic defeated the Washington Wizards 130-120 at Capital One Arena in Washington D.C. on what is considered a homecoming for Magic Guard Markelle Fultz.
Fultz, born is nearby Upper Marlboro, MD, led the Magic in a 9-0 run to seal the game in the fourth quarter, and scored 21 points — on 7-of-13 shooting — and seven assists. The win is the second for the Magic in the 2020-21 NBA season after a 117-107 win over the Miami Heat on opening night.
Before the season, the Magic stated some key things that we would see this season: More outside shooting for Nikola Vucevic, more aggressive play from Aaron Gordon, including more drives and playmaking in the paint, and more confidence and stronger play from Fultz. All three have been on display so far this season.
In Washington, Fultz caused havoc, with drives in the paint, creative passes to teammates, including one spinning move with a back hand pass to Vucevic for a score.
And the unique thing is, that Fultz doesn’t care if he scores.
“I keep saying it over and over again, but being aggressive for me doesn’t mean I have to score every time. I just want to put pressure on the defense and make the right basketball play to help my team win,” Fultz said. “I think tonight that’s exactly what I did. I tried to just be aggressive and put pressure on the defense. If I had a chance to score, I went to score, but if I saw somebody open or saw something better for the team I just tried to make that play. We ended up getting the win, so it all worked out.”
Here are the numbers. Terrance Ross led the Magic with 25 points, including going 50% from deep, Vucevic followed with 22 points on 20 shots including 7 from 3-point range, close to the prescribed 8-14 3-point shots by Magic Head Coach Steve Clifford.
Wizards’ guard Bradley Beal lead all scoring with 39 points, and the new ly added Russell Westbrook, who contributed 15 points, but did have 12 assists.
As for the Orlando Magic Rookies, Cole Anthony got a good tase of NBA life by guarding Westbrook. Anthony and the Magic overall held Westbrook at bay as much as possible, holding him to 6-of-19 shooting overall and 0-of-4 from 3-point distance.
Chuma Ofefe is still feeling his way, but is definitely showing promise in ways not seen on the boxscore. On Saturday, Chuma scored scored three points, pulled down three rebounds and dished out two assists in 18 minutes.
The Magic return to the court on Sunday to face the Wizards again in a back to back at 7 pm at Capital One Arena in Washington D.C., and head to Oklahoma City to face the Thunder on Tuesday.