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Shorthanded Magic beat Nuggets behind Banchero’s first triple-double

Shorthanded Magic beat Nuggets behind Banchero’s first triple-double

Despite missing eight players, the Orlando Magic upset the Denver Nuggets, 122-120, on Friday night behind Paolo Banchero's first career triple-double.

Fresh off scoring a career-high 43 points in a double-overtime loss against the Sacramento Kings, Banchero poured in 32 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for Orlando. The 21-year-old is the youngest player in Magic history to record a triple-double.

Banchero attempted a career-high 19 free-throw attempts, making 15 of them — including four free throws late in the game to seal the win for Orlando.

“Coming into the game, we had eight guys out, so we had to have a next-man-up mentality," said the reigning Rookie of the Year and No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. "I can't be prouder of the team; that was a hell of a win."

Orlando came into the game with only nine players available, and then rookie Anthony Black left the game after just five minutes due to illness. The Magic played with just eight players the rest of the way.

Franz Wagner (right ankle), Wendell Carter Jr. (right knee), Markelle Fultz (left knee), Gary Harris (right calf), Joe Ingles (left ankle), Jonathan Isaac (right hamstring) and Goga Bitadze (illness) were among the players who were sidelined.

Fortunately for the Magic, they made up for their lack of depth with hot shooting, making 17 three-pointers against Denver (led by Jalen Suggs’ career-high 7 threes). Orlando also shot a franchise-record 25 threes two nights ago in Sacramento.

Suggs and Cole Anthony combined for 50 points, while Mo Wagner added 19 to reinforce Banchero.

The Magic, who have now beaten the Nuggets twice this season to sweep the season series, move to 20-15 after going just 4-6 over their last 10 games and 6-9 over their last 15. Orlando is currently the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Nikola Jokic was splendid again from the field, scoring 29 points on 68% shooting, but it wasn't enough to lead Denver to victory a night after banking in a 39-foot heave to bury the Golden State Warriors. 

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