ATLANTA – Talk about flipping the script.
After being caught in a nine-game losing streak less than two weeks ago, the Orlando Magic have collected a season-high six straight victories and are now one of the hottest teams in the NBA.
The Magic will look to continue their torrid stretch of basketball on Monday when they visit the Atlanta Hawks at 7:30 p.m. ET.
“I’m so proud of these dudes,” said Magic Head Coach Jamahl Mosley after his team earned back-to-back road wins over the defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics. “They’re fighting. They’re not letting themselves get down. They’re believing and they’re understanding doing it by committee.”
While you could rattle off a long list of players who’ve made significant contributions over the course of this six-game streak, rookie Paolo Banchero has been a model of consistent offensive production.
The 6-foot-10, 255-pound forward has been Orlando’s leading scorer over that span, averaging 22.8 points per game to go along with 6.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.3 steals per contest.
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft has continued to make strides shooting from the outside, knocking down six of his seven 3-point attempts against the Celtics on Sunday as he erupted for a game-high 31 points.
“I feel really confident with my three-point shot,” said Banchero after putting up his second-highest point total of the season. “I’ve been putting in a lot of work. Just putting in a ton of work trying to get that shot right, get my touch from out there right. Obviously, I’m not going to shoot six-for-seven every game, but just having that confidence whether it’s a make or miss to shoot the next one. My teammates and coaches, they pump the confidence. They are on me. If I don’t shoot it, I’m hearing about it. They’re always holding me accountable. So, it’s been good, but I’ve got a lot of work to do still.”
Orlando will need every bit of that offense if it wants to put Atlanta in the same category as Boston and Toronto – teams that the Magic have defeated twice during their winning streak.
The Hawks have had two off days since their last game, a victory over the Charlotte Hornets, and could also be getting two key players back in the fold. John Collins and Dejounte Murray, who are both dealing with left ankle sprains, were each upgraded to questionable on the team’s injury report. Neither player was available when these two teams met less than a week ago. Orlando capitalized on their absence in that outing, exploding for a franchise-record 50 first-quarter points in a wire-to-wire victory over Atlanta.
Regardless of whether or not they’re able to suit up, the Magic’s defensive scouting report will certainly focus on limiting Hawks point guard Trae Young, who’s averaging 24.7 points and 14.3 assists in three games against Orlando this season.
KEY STATS: As mentioned at the top of this story, the Magic have followed a nine-game losing skid with their current six-game winning streak.
Per Sportradar, it is just the fourth time in NBA history that a team has followed a losing streak of nine-plus games with a win streak of six-plus. The others: the Houston Rockets (2021-22), Chicago Bulls (2017-18), and Golden State Warriors (2003-04).
QUOTE TO NOTE: “It just shows that we can show up in those big moments. On the road, at home, it really doesn’t matter as long as we’re strapped in and focused on the game plan. Taking it one possession at a time, one play at a time. I think the last two stops we got (against the Celtics on Sunday) are a testament to how we’ve approached two weeks with our focus. Getting those last two stops just shows all the work we’ve put in the last two weeks.” – Banchero
IN AND OUT: Orlando’s injury report remains the same. Wendell Carter Jr. (right plantar fascia; strain), Gary Harris (right hamstring strain), Jonathan Isaac (left knee injury recovery), Chuma Okeke (left knee soreness), and Jalen Suggs (right ankle soreness) are out.
For Atlanta, Collins and Murray are questionable, while Clint Capela (right calf strain) and Jarrett Culver (G League – Two-Way) are out.
HOW TO WATCH: Watch the game on Bally Sports Florida or tune in on radio via FM 96.9 The Game.