NBA: Second-half demonstration pitch of Magic takes down the Rockets

NBA Magic Paolo Banchero

Paolo Banchero #5 of the Orlando Magic reacts with a volley during the first half of a game against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center on December 21, 2022 in Houston, Texas. Carmen Mandato/Getty Images/AFP

Franz Wagner scored the team’s top 25 while rookie Paulo Banchero scored a sixth double as the Orlando Magic visitors cleared 15 points in the second half to beat the Houston Rockets 116-110 on Wednesday.

Banchero scored a game-high 23 points and 13 rebounds as he teamed up with Wagner to lead Orlando to a 3-1 win and seventh win in eight games.

The Rockets have lost four games in a row, all at home, and will end their seven-game streak at Toyota Center on Friday against the Dallas Mavericks.

Houston crashed late, committing eight out of 17 revenue in the fourth quarter.

The Magic, backed by the main baskets from their reserve team, took advantage with a 31-point frame led by their bench.

Cole Anthony gave Orlando a 96-95 lead with 7:11 left before Admiral Schofield added a three-pointer and Kevon Harris hit a 3-pointer to put the Magic up 102-98 two minutes later. Banchero scored five points to seal the victory.

Kevin Porter Jr. led the Rockets with 31 points, while Jalen Green added 21 points and 8 rebounds. KJ Martin scored 18 points when coming on from the bench, while Alperen Sengun scored 13 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists.

The Rockets appeared to have taken control 10-1 in the middle of the third half, which featured a 3-point and 3-point play from Green plus a pull-up jump and pitch from Porter.

Houston took the biggest lead in the process with a 77-62, but the Magic produced an immediate reaction with a 17-2 flash capped by a Markelle reversal. Fultz and Wagner robbing and pitching pulled Orlando even 79-79 at 2:59 points. Wagner scored 13 points in the third inning.

Green and Porter were instrumental in giving the Rockets a 14-point lead in the first quarter, combining for an 18-shot 7 to 11. Banchero almost single-handedly led the Magic back into contention, scoring seven points in the run. a 10-2 mutant crossed the goal.

Banchero played all 12 minutes of the opening, scoring 14 points (on 6/7 shot) with six rebounds. And while the Rockets stretched their advantage to double digits on pause, Orlando’s reserve force kept margins within a manageable range.

Houston had a 64-54 lead at halftime on the strength of 9/23 3-pointers, as opposed to 8/53 shots from behind the arc in consecutive home losses to the Portland Trail Blazers and San Antonio Spurs.


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