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Nov 28, 2023 5:34 pm

Magic streaking while Wizards try to turn things around

The Orlando Magic are enjoying their longest win streak since a franchise-record-tying nine-game run during the 2010-11 season.

Victorious in seven straight games, the Magic will hope to continue their good fortune on Wednesday night when they host the Washington Wizards.

The Magic conceivably could match that nine-game run in the rematch vs. the Wizards on Friday in Orlando.

“Obviously want to keep it going,” Franz Wagner said after the Magic’s 130-117 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday. “Moe (Wagner) always says it starts with the work. All the words sound nice, but we want to keep it going and make sure we keep getting better as a group as the season continues to go on.”

Franz Wagner made 11 of 15 shots to join Cole Anthony with a season-high 30 points on Sunday night. Orlando shot a robust 54 percent from the floor and recorded a season-high 33 assists.

“I think everybody in the building believes (they can win), and I think that’s how it starts for us, I think a little change in our mentality compared to the last two years,” Franz Wagner said. “When we walk in the building, we believe that we win that day. Like I said, that’s just the start, those are just words, we got to do the work in the game. But I think the last couple of weeks we’ve been doing a pretty solid job.”

Paolo Banchero collected 23 points, eight assists and seven rebounds vs. the Hornets. He was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week on Monday after averaging 23.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists in four games last week.

While Orlando is ascending, Washington plummeted toward the bottom of the Eastern Conference before opening a four-game road trip with a 126-107 victory over the cellar-dwelling Detroit Pistons on Monday.

Michigan native Kyle Kuzma collected 32 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists to help the Wizards snap a nine-game skid at the expense of Pistons, who have lost 14 in a row.

“I thought his level of aggression was great, but there was (also) purpose,” Washington coach Wes Unseld Jr. said of Kuzma. “Once he gets going, he’s very capable of having big nights, but he didn’t force or hunt shots. He stayed aggressive, played downhill, got to the line, which really helped us set our defense.”

Kuzma has reached the 30-point plateau on three occasions this season and has at least eight assists in four of his last five outings. He is averaging a team-leading 23.4 points per game to go with 6.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists.

“It (stinks) to lose, and we’ve been losing real bad,” Kuzma said, per The Washington Post. “It’s definitely tough. We just need to continue to build on what we did. I think (Monday) we did a good job defensively, just from a standpoint of where we need to be on the floor and our positioning. We’ve got to continue it.”

Wednesday’s contest serves as the opener of the four-game season series. The teams split their four-game set in 2022-23, with Banchero averaging 21.0 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists.

–Field Level Media

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