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Beede’s Breakdown: How Magic overcame Paolo Banchero’s absence to blowout Brooklyn

Beede’s Breakdown: How Magic overcame Paolo Banchero’s absence to blowout Brooklyn

28/02/2024, USA, Multi Sports, USA Publications, Article # 31648511

On a night without Paolo Banchero (illness) and Jonathan Isaac (left knee strain), the Magic did their best to make it look like those two weren’t missing from the court Tuesday against the Nets.

Orlando shot 52.7% from the field and limited Brooklyn (22-36) to 39.2% while improving to 15-1 this season when shooting 50 percent-or-better in the 108-81 victory at Kia Center.

Brooklyn’s 81 points marked a season-low for the Nets (who were playing on the second night of a back-to-back) and for a Magic opponent. The 81 points were also the third-fewest scored by any team in the NBA this season.

Franz Wagner (21 points) led the way for the Magic (33-26), who moved to 14-1 when allowing less than 100 points.

With the win, Orlando denied Brooklyn from clinching the regular-season series, which the Nets still lead 2-1. The Magic host the Nets in the fourth and final matchup March 13.

Orlando returns to Kia Center on Thursday for a meeting with the Jazz, a team they haven’t faced since fifth game of the season (Bally Sports Florida, 7).

3s Galore

To make up for the absence of Banchero’s scoring (team-high 22.7 points), Mosley put an emphasis pre-game on moving the ball around the court and taking open long-range shots when they came.

It’s part of the reason he inserted Caleb Houstan (3 of 4 from 3 for 9 points) in the starting lineup alongside Gary Harris (2 of 4 from 3 for 8) to help spread the floor from the jump.

Orlando’s first 7 shots of the game were 3-pointers. It wasn’t until a drive from Wagner at the 7:40 mark of the first quarter that the Magic attempted a shot inside the arc.

The ball was moving early (8 assists in the first quarter) and that continued throughout. The Magic improved to 25-11 when having more (or same) assists than their opponent (20-18 vs. Nets).

Ultimately, the Magic took 25 shots from distance on the night (made 9 for 36%), which is a solid number for the group.

The team entered 4-16 when attempt more than 35 three-pointers.

Focus on Franz

Wagner took over offensively in the second quarter when he ripped off 8 straight points to score 13 of his total 21 in the frame.

The Magic forward attacked downhill and forced his way into the paint where he went 7 of 8 on the night. At least twice he spun around his defender to finish with a reverse layup.

“He just continued to make the right play,” Mosley said about Wagner. “Just his level of confidence, knowing what he’s capable of doing and the guys trusting knowing what he can do.”

His consistent push near the rim was part of a largely effort from the Magic to dominate in the paint. Orlando outscored Brooklyn 56-42 in that area.

It marked the 26th time that Wagner scored 20 or more points this season.

Bench Points

Orlando’s reserves outscored Brooklyn’s 51-40 as Markelle Fultz came off the bench for the second game in a row.

Fultz and Cole Anthony each scored 12 but in different ways. The majority of Fultz’s points came around the basket (5 of 9) while half of Anthony’s points came from beyond the arc (2 of 3 from 3).

Meanwhile, Moe Wagner (16 points) led the bench in scoring by regularly cutting to the basket. He added a steal in the second quarter off Mikal Bridges (who Orlando often blitzed) that led to a transition dunk.

Rookie Anthony Black provided a boost on defense, recording 3 steals to go with 8 points. He and Anthony combined for 6 of the team’s 14 steals.

Free Points

The Magic haven’t been a good free throw shooting team most of the season. They entered Tuesday’s contest shooting 75.3% from the charity stripe, which ranked 28th league-wide.

Against the Nets, however, Orlando took full advantage of the free opportunities.

It was perfect (9 of 9) in the first half and finished 21 of 25 (84%) at the line. In comparison, Brooklyn shot 11 of 14 (78.6%).

The Magic improved to 21-15 when attempting more (or same) free throws than their opponent.

Email Jason Beede at jbeede@orlandosentinel.com or follow him on X, known as Twitter, at @therealBeede.



https://www.orlandosentinel.com/2024/02/27/orlando-magic-brooklyn-nets-paolo-banchero-jonathan-isaac-franz-wagner-nba-jamahl-mosley/
Beede’s Breakdown: How Magic overcame Paolo Banchero’s absence to blow out Brooklyn

Beede’s Breakdown: How Magic overcame Paolo Banchero’s absence to blow out Brooklyn

28/02/2024, USA, Multi Sports, USA Publications, Article # 31648585

On a night without Paolo Banchero (illness) and Jonathan Isaac (left knee strain), the Magic did their best to make it look like those two weren’t missing Tuesday against the Nets.

Orlando shot 52.7% from the field and limited Brooklyn (22-36) to 39.2% while improving to 15-1 this season when shooting 50% or better in a 108-81 victory at Kia Center.

Brooklyn’s 81 points marked a season-low for the Nets (playing on the second night of a back-to-back) and for a Magic opponent. The 81 points also were the third-fewest scored by any team in the NBA this season.

Franz Wagner (21 points) led the way for the Magic (33-26), who moved to 14-1 when allowing less than 100.

With the win, Orlando denied Brooklyn from clinching the regular-season series, which the Nets still lead 2-1. The Magic host the Nets in the fourth and final matchup March 13.

Orlando returns to Kia Center on Thursday for a meeting with the Jazz, a team they haven’t faced since fifth game of the season (Bally Sports Florida, 7).

3s Galore

To make up for the absence of Banchero’s scoring (team-high 22.7 points), coach Jamahl Mosley put an emphasis pregame on moving the ball to create open long-range shots.

It’s part of the reason he inserted Caleb Houstan (3 of 4 from 3 for 9 points) in the starting lineup alongside Gary Harris (2 of 4 from 3 for 8) to help spread the floor from the jump.

Orlando’s first seven shots were 3s. It wasn’t until a drive from Wagner at 7:40 of the first quarter that the Magic attempted a shot inside the arc.

The ball was moving early (8 assists in the first quarter) and that continued throughout. The Magic improved to 25-11 when having more (or same) assists than their opponent (20-18 vs. Nets).

Ultimately, the Magic took 25 shots from distance (made 9 for 36%), which is a solid number for the group.

The team entered 4-16 when attempting more than 35 from 3.

Focus on Franz

Wagner took over offensively in the second quarter when he ripped off 8 straight points to score 13 in the frame.

The Magic forward attacked downhill and forced his way into the paint where he went 7 of 8. At least twice he spun around his defender to finish with a reverse layup.

“He just continued to make the right play,” Mosley said. “Just his level of confidence, knowing what he’s capable of doing and the guys trusting knowing what he can do.”

His consistent push near the rim was part of a large effort from the Magic to dominate in the paint. Orlando outscored Brooklyn 56-42 there.

It marked the 26th time that Wagner scored 20 or more points this season.

Bench Points

Orlando’s reserves outscored Brooklyn’s 51-40 as Markelle Fultz came off the bench for the second game in a row.

Fultz and Cole Anthony each scored 12 but in different ways. The majority of Fultz’s points came around the basket (5 of 9) while half of Anthony’s points came from beyond the arc (2 of 3 from 3).

Meanwhile, Moe Wagner (16 points) led the bench in scoring by regularly cutting to the basket. He added a steal in the second quarter off Mikal Bridges, who Orlando often blitzed, that led to a transition dunk.

Rookie Anthony Black provided a boost on defense, recording 3 steals to go with 8 points. He and Anthony combined for 6 of the team’s 14 steals.

Free Points

The Magic haven’t been a good free-throw shooting team most of the season. They entered Tuesday’s contest shooting 75.3% from the charity stripe, which ranked 28th league-wide.

Against the Nets, however, Orlando cashed in free opportunities.

It was perfect (9 of 9) in the first half and finished 21 of 25 (84%) at the line. In comparison, Brooklyn shot 11 of 14 (78.6%).

The Magic improved to 21-15 when attempting more (or same) free throws than their opponent.

Email Jason Beede at jbeede@orlandosentinel.com or follow him on X, known as Twitter, at @therealBeede.



https://www.orlandosentinel.com/2024/02/27/orlando-magic-brooklyn-nets-paolo-banchero-jonathan-isaac-franz-wagner-nba-jamahl-mosley/
Bucs will ‘strain,’ but optimistic about signing Baker Mayfield, Mike Evans

Bucs will ‘strain,’ but optimistic about signing Baker Mayfield, Mike Evans

28/02/2024, USA, Multi Sports, USA Publications, Article # 31648512

INDIANAPOLIS — Baker and Mike. Mayfield and Evans. Mike and Baker. Evans and Mayfield.

No matter what order the Bucs were asked about the urgency to re-sign their soon-to-be free agent quarterback and receiver Tuesday, the tandem appeared as linked as they were on the field last season.

“They’re all priorities, but you asked about Baker in particular,” general manager Jason Licht said from the NFL scouting combine. “Baker meant a lot to this team and this fan base and this town. I think we meant a lot to him, and I think it was a perfect marriage.

“I’ve said before, he sought us out. He gambled on us. He saw it as a good situation. He saw it better than a lot of national people who saw us winning two games. He thought it would be good for him, and it certainly was. I know he wants to be a Buc. We want him to be a Buc. That’s usually a good starting point, and the same could be said for the rest of these guys.”

That list includes Evans, who shut down negotiations on a contact extension at the start of the 2023 season and then produced one of his best years, catching 79 passes for 1,255 yards and a league-best 13 touchdowns.

“That was obviously out there, and Mike decided to focus on the year — and, man, did he focus on the year,’” Licht said. “He had a hell of a year. And I’m happy for him. He bet on himself. He’s an unprecedented player that we want him to be a Buc for life.

“We’re working towards that. It takes two sides. I know he wants to be a Buc. But to get the deal done, we’ll probably have to strain a little bit, but we’re working towards that right now. But a good deal always takes some time for both sides.”

All things considered, Licht and coach Todd Bowles sounded very confident Tuesday they could reach agreements with their top free agents before the start of the new league year March 13 at 4 p.m.

Talks on a new contract for Mayfield began last week and could continue here. Agent Tom Mills was scheduled to arrive Tuesday night from Denver.

But the to-do list doesn’t stop there. Licht said he’s also engaged in talks aimed at re-signing safety Antoine Winfield Jr. and linebacker Lavonte David, and extending the contract of tackle Tristan Wirfs.

“We started talks with Baker, we’ve started with Mike, Antoine, Tristan, Lavonte,” Licht said. “I think they’re going well.”

If the Bucs are unable to reach an accord with Winfield next week they could apply the franchise player tag to their All-Pro safety. That would guarantee Winfield a one-year salary of $17.12 million but essentially end his free agency. The Bucs would have until July, however, to continue efforts to reach a long-term deal.

It’s expected that Winfield will command an average of $20 million per season.

“It’s obviously something to keep in your back pocket,” Licht said of the franchise player designation. “Ideally, I’d like to get a deal done. We’ve already started some talks there, too.

“The preference is to have Tristan long-term. We would be doing a deal with him not to reduce the cap. We’d be doing a deal with him to make sure he’s with us long-term. He’s a young left tackle.”

That leaves at least one more free agent to consider. Licht also wants to re-sign place-kicker Chase McLaughlin, who set a club record by connecting on 29 of 31 field goal tries last season, a club-record 93.5%. “We’ll be talking with him, too,” Licht said.

Bowles pushed back on any notion that Mayfield and Evans are a package deal, particularly because it doesn’t seem to matter who is under center when it comes to Evans’ production.

Among the quarterbacks who have helped Evans produce an NFL-record 10 consecutive 1,000-yard seasons to start his career are Josh McCown, Josh Freeman, Mike Glennon, Jameis Winston, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tom Brady and Mayfield.

“We’re some days away from the start of the new [league] year, and they are talking. I’m hopeful of that,” Bowles said. “Mike has been an icon here for over a decade and had one of his best years last year as well and looks like a spring chicken. So you want both the guys back. When you test free agency, anything can happen. You hope for the best.”

At 31, Evans has all kinds of leverage on the Bucs. Already, the Bengals placed the franchise player tag on receiver Tee Higgins, which guarantees him $21.816 million on a one-year contract, or the average of the top highest-paid players at his position. The Colts also could use the franchise player tag on Michael Pittman Jr.

A new deal for Evans likely would be several million dollars higher than that, given his production last season.

One player the Bucs have shown no interest in re-signing is inside linebacker Devin White, who was benched late in the season for K.J. Britt.

Licht knows he will be busy the next few weeks but appears confident he can strike deals with his top players.

“If we can re-sign Mike and Baker and Lavonte and Chase and Antoine and Tristan,” Licht said, “we should be throwing another boat parade.”

 

 

 

 

 



https://www.orlandosentinel.com/2024/02/27/bucs-will-strain-but-optimistic-about-signing-baker-mayfield-mike-evans/
Transformer blows, then it’s lights out for the Lightning in Philly

Transformer blows, then it’s lights out for the Lightning in Philly

28/02/2024, USA, Multi Sports, USA Publications, Article # 31648438

By Anthony Sanfilippo

Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — Tyson Foerster and Bobby Brink each scored a goal as the Flyers defeated the Lightning 6-2 on Tuesday night.

Foerster and Brink had recently returned to the lineup and provided the Flyers with an offensive boost.

The Flyers also got goals from three defensemen, Travis Sanheim, Sean Walker, and an empty-netter from Cam York in the third period. Noah Cates also added an empty-netter and goalie Samuel Ersson made 21 saves to earn the win, just the second in the last six games for Philadelphia.

Nick Paul and Steven Stamkos each scored for the Lightning, who had their four-game road winning streak snapped. Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 23 shots. Nikita Kucherov picked up an assist on Stamkos’ goal, adding to his league-leading point total. Kucherov has 103 points in 60 games.

Foerster made a nifty toe-drag move to pass the puck to himself between his own legs before sliding a backhander past Vasilevskiy 54 seconds into the third period. Foerster returned to the lineup Sunday after missing four games with a lower-body injury after blocking a shot.

Brink opened the scoring 2:22 into the first period, firing a shot off of Vasilevskiy’s blocker and into the net. Brink, who was with the Flyers to start the season, was sent down to Lehigh Valley of the AHL on Jan. 22 in hopes to jumpstart his season. He was recalled prior to the game Tuesday, and made an immediate impact, scoring on his first shift.

The game had a nine-minute delay in the first period due to a partial power outage in Wells Fargo Center.

With the Flyers leading 1-0 and 13:43 remaining in the period, a section of the building lost power and the game was stopped.

The emergency lighting remained on and the teams resumed play. The end of the rink where Tampa Bay was shooting was a bit darker than the rest of the rink. Most of the East end of the building was without power, including on the concourses, in suites and on the balcony level where executives from both teams, the broadcast booths and the press box is located.

“During the first period we had a transformer on the event level go,” said Phil Laws, president of Wells Fargo Center. “It blew up. Burnt up. I don’t know why. I don’t know if it came from external stuff or inside the building.”

Laws said it was fortunate that the transformer did not catch fire and no one was injured. Electrical crews removed the transformer from the system, allowing electricians to start to repower the building during the first intermission and into the second period.

The sports lighting returned in time for the start of the second period, and crews worked to restore the scoreboard, the game clock, and the audio and public address systems, which were also out. Audio returned about halfway through the second period.

Laws added that the chiller plant that chills the ice was not affected, however two of the three chillers used under the ice were. He also added that the HVAC system was down.

“We have three chillers and like to run two at a time,” Laws said. “Right now we’re running on one. We do believe it will get us through the night. I wouldn’t want to do this though in June during the Stanley Cup Finals when we get there.”



https://www.orlandosentinel.com/2024/02/27/tampa-bay-lightning-philadelphia-flyers-nhl-recap/
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