The Orlando Magic start the season with an impressive 30-point victory against the Houston Rockets, setting a new opening-night record in team history. Jonathan Isaac and Cole Anthony shine as the Magic’s defense and bench deliver.
In an opening-night clash between the Orlando Magic and the Houston Rockets, two teams in the midst of rebuilding, the stage was set for a crucial showdown. Although it’s just one game, the outcome held significance for both teams.
Orlando, however, emerged as the clear victor with a resounding 116-86 win, marking the largest margin of victory on opening night in the Magic’s history.
“I would say extremely (proud),” stated forward Jonathan Isaac about his team’s performance. “Our mindset is just how are we moving forward? Can we keep that level of intensity and focus the entire 48 (minutes)?”
Orlando’s defense was a standout in the game, limiting the Rockets, who had signed several free agents in the offseason, to just 32 points in the paint. Additionally, the Magic out-rebounded the Rockets 56-31, a significant achievement considering Houston’s strong ranking in rebounding and points in the paint from the previous season.
The Magic’s bench was also exceptional, outscoring the Rockets’ reserves 59-27. Cole Anthony, who recently signed a contract extension, led the way with 20 points, while Jonathan Isaac, playing his first regular-season game since February, contributed both defensively and offensively with 11 points.
Franz Wagner led the starters with 19 points, and Paolo Banchero showcased his versatility with 12 points, five rebounds, five assists, and one steal.
While Houston briefly closed the gap in the third quarter, the Magic quickly regained control, outscoring the Rockets 24-7 to close the period.
Throughout the summer and training camp, there was a lot of talk about the Magic’s potential to become a top-10 defensive team this season. While it’s only one game, the dominant performance against the Rockets in front of a sold-out crowd suggests that this goal is attainable.
The challenge now is to maintain this level of energy and effort as the Magic embark on a four-game road trip on the West Coast, starting in Portland on Friday.
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