Cole Anthony earns strong review from Steve Clifford in win vs. Bulls

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Orlando Magic rookie Cole Anthony on Wednesday appeared in his fifth game back from a rib injury and his performance was deemed by head coach Steve Clifford as his best since returning to the court.

Of course, Anthony missed 25 games after suffering a non-displaced fracture of the right first rib on Feb. 9. He returned on April 7 versus the Washington Wizards and entered Wednesday night averaging 11.3 points and five rebounds over that span.

On Wednesday, Anthony produced 10 points, five assists and three rebounds off the bench in a 115-106 win over the Chicago Bulls on the road. He finished the contest by converting on 5-of-7 shots from the field in 21 minutes of action.

While, statistically, it wasn’t his best game, Clifford liked what he saw.

“Tonight was by far his best game,” Clifford said. “We have to remember he is a rookie and he didn’t get Summer League or September workouts. If you go back before he took the injury, he had been playing better and better. He didn’t miss a week, he missed a long time. It’s going to take him a little bit to get back to the level he was playing at before but tonight was a good first step toward that.”

Anthony looked to be in better control on Wednesday in the victory. His finishing around the rim looked to be noticeably better after struggling in that area since returning from his injury. On one possession in the fourth quarter, Anthony finished a tough, off-balance shot.

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While the performance by Anthony was hardly the headline of the contest, with the Magic and Bulls facing each other for the first time since the trade involving Wendell Carter Jr. and Nikola Vucevic, his effort was needed in order to lock down the win and snap a six-game losing streak.

Anthony had been playing some of his best basketball of the season prior to the injury but, as Clifford mentioned, it appears as though he is beginning to settle in and return to that level on the court.

This post originally appeared on Rookie Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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