NBA: Wendell Carter Jr. has career game to pace Magic past Thunder | Inquirer Sports
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NBA: Wendell Carter Jr. has career game to pace Magic past Thunder

/ 09:44 AM March 21, 2022
Wendell Carter Jr. Magic NBA

Wendell Carter Jr. #34 of the Orlando Magic shoots against the Portland Trail Blazers during the first half at Moda Center on February 08, 2022 in Portland, Oregon. Steph Chambers/Getty Images/AFP

Wendell Carter Jr. had a career-high 30 points and 16 rebounds as the host Orlando Magic stopped a three-game losing streak with a 90-85 comeback win over the short-handed Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday night.

Carter’s 3-pointer, followed by a dunk off a feed from Franz Wagner, highlighted an 11-0 run as the Magic erased a 76-69 fourth-quarter deficit. After Carter hit 1 of 2 free throws with 1:42 left to give Orlando a two-point lead, the former Duke Blue Devil scored on a putback at the 1:08 mark to make it 85-81.

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Orlando, which improved to 2-3 on its six-game homestand, outscored the Thunder 28-21 in the fourth quarter. Wagner finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and four assists as the Magic overcame 24 missed 3-pointers (7-for-31) and 21 total turnovers.

Moe Wagner came off the bench to score 10 points and Mo Bamba added seven points and 10 rebounds, sending Oklahoma City to its ninth consecutive defeat. Chuma Okeke also had eight points and 11 rebounds.

The Thunder, who failed to reach 100 points for the first time since Feb. 11 when they dropped a 100-87 decision at Philadelphia, had all nine available players reach the scoring column.

Darius Bazley scored 18 points, making two triples, but Oklahoma City shot only 33 percent (30-for-92) as a team and committed 16 turnovers.

Isaiah Roby’s double-double included 11 points and 10 rebounds. Tre Mann contributed 13 points, Lindy Waters III scored 12 points on four threes to go with six rebounds off the bench, and Theo Maledon had 10 points, five rebounds and two blocks.

The Thunder played without their top three scorers — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (right ankle soreness), Luguentz Dort (left shoulder surgery) and rookie Josh Giddey (right hip soreness) — among the eight total players listed as out on the official injury report.

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Orlando rookie Jalen Suggs missed his third straight game due to a bone bruise in his right ankle.

Orlando ended the first quarter on a 14-0 run as Markelle Fultz’s offensive putback with 47.1 seconds left gave the Magic a 31-25 lead through 12 minutes.

But Orlando managed only 14 points during the next stanza — the fewest second-quarter points scored by an opponent against Oklahoma City this season — as the Thunder trailed 45-43 at halftime despite 12 total turnovers and 33-percent shooting (15-for-45) from the field.

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