Wagner, Banchero lead Magic to win over Wizards for ninth straight victory
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Franz Wagner scored 31 points, Paolo Banchero had 28 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists and the Orlando Magic beat the Washington Wizards 130-125 Friday night to tie a franchise record with their ninth straight victory.
The Magic have had four nine-game winning streaks, previously in 1994, 2001 and 2010-11. They are one of only two NBA franchises without a double-digit win streak on their record. The Indiana Pacers’ longest win streak is also nine games.
“It's not easy to stack up wins in this league,” noted Moritz Wagner.
“It’s pretty special,” Banchero said. “Eventually I think a loss is going to come but we just want to keep it rolling for as long as we can. But you’re not surprised when you do something like this because we’ve got great chemistry and we play really well together.”
The Magic will try to set the new franchise record Saturday night at Brooklyn, site of their last defeat on Nov. 14.
“It’s big time for this group, but more importantly I think it’s big-time for the fans and the organization,” said coach Jamahl Mosley. “There’s an energy, there’s a vibe, a buzz about this group, and our guys are doing a good job of embracing it - not getting too high or too low but being able to register that this is something special.”
Kuzma, who fouled out in the final minute, left the two-game set a big believer.
“Look at Franz and look at Paolo,” he said. “They can manipulate the game because they are so big, so strong, and just (play) downhill. They are a problem.”
Washington made seven of its first nine 3-point attempts (three by Corey Kispert) and led throughout most of the first half.
The game turned in Orlando's favor midway through the third quarter when Jalen Suggs and Banchero combined for 10 straight points and Kuzma and Gafford were whistled for their fourth personal fouls. But the Magic did not pull ahead for good until Franz Wagner's layup with 7:06 remaining opened a 7-0 run.
The Magic had 34 assists on 46 field goals and committed only nine turnovers.
Magic forward Jonathan Isaac left the game with a sprained left ankle after getting five rebounds in seven minutes in the first half.
Wizards: Host Philadelphia on Wednesday night.
Magic: Visit Brooklyn on Saturday night.
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