Markelle Fultz returns, leads Magic to 119-103 win over Pacers
ORLANDO, FL – The Orlando Magic beat the Indiana Pacers 119-103 on the day that guard Markelle Fultz returned to the floor, over 400 days after a major knee injury.
Fultz, who went down with a torn ACL in December of 2019, scored a respectable 10 points with 6 assists and 2 rebounds in 16 minutes of work. Prior to the game, the Magic players sported Orlando Magic T-shirts with Fultz’s number as they came into the arena.
We wanted to show him that we had his back” Said Mo Bamba. “He was with us through his rehab, he was with us as we worked all season, and he just wanted to show him our support.”
Fultz definitely felt the buzz in the crowd as he got ready to enter the game.
“I just felt the energy of the crowd as I got up to check in.” said Fultz. “Once Cole made a foul to get me in, The crowd’s energy was amazing”
Orlando withstood yet another slow start. Indiana started the game aggressively. After the Magic won the opening tip, the Pacers forced a stop and literally snatched the ball away from them.
Once Fultz hit the floor, the energy of the Magic increased. He went right to his strength, driving into the paint and causing havoc on opposing defenses.
Yes, we talked to the guys about playing with Markell.” said Wendell Carter Jr. “They just said to hold your hands up, because he will get the ball to you quicker than you think, outta nowhere.”
the Magic managed to get some runs against Indiana, taking th quarter 35-19. The Pacers 3-point shooting kept them in the game, but Orlando’s tightening defense made that difficult.
Orlando shot only 11% from 3-point range through the first half, but things started warming up from deep in the second half, leading to the gap between the scores slowly growing.
Orlando had a record eight players on the roster score in double figures tonight, showing the ball distribution and balance was flowing well.
The Pacers newly acquired Buddy Held had a strong game, always proving to be a threat to score with his speed and ball handling. Held scored 18 points and dished out 6 assists for the Pacers.
Tyrese Haliburton was the high scorer of the game, with 23 points and 7 assists.
Nut without the third part of their scoring trio, Malcolm Brogan, Indiana proved to be a bit short handed.
The Magic face the Pacers again at the Amway Center on Wednesday March 2nd.