Banchero finished with a team-high 23 points in the 116-111 victory as the Magic snapped a nine-game losing streak. He made 13-of-14 attempts from the free-throw line, includng all six in overtime. He tied Darrell Armstrong (Jan. 2001) for the most made free throws in overtime without a miss.
The Magic trailed by 18 points after the first quarter, but outscored the Clippers in each of the next three quarters to tie the game and force overtime. The 18-point deficit marked the second-largest comeback in team history after the first quarter.
Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley was proud of the group.
I thought they did a great job of focusing in and locking into the gameplan of understanding how physical we could be. Our guys did a really good job of staying the course throughout that entire game (after) going down 18 and still being able to bounce back.
Orlando outscored L.A. by seven points in the fourth quarter as Franz Wagner had nine of his 15 points in the period. Banchero had six in the final frame, while rookie Caleb Houstan added five points and Mo Wagner chipped in five points.
The performance by Banchero was his 14th game with at least 20 points, the most by a rookie this season. It came at a time of need as the Magic had their longest losing streak of the season.
“I think the whole game I was just letting the game come to me,” Banchero said. “I was really focused defensively this game on my assignment trying to slow down (Kawhi) Leonard. I think the ball just found me later in the game. I think I was aggressive all game, but I was just letting it come to me. I just tried to take my opportunities when they came.”
After missing seven games recently due to a sprained ankle, Banchero looks to be back in a groove on the court. He has scored at least 20 points in five of his eight games since returning and is averaging 19.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists over that span.
Banchero appears to be solidifying his place as the top first-year player this season and is currently the odds-on favorite to win Rookie of the Year. He certainly proved that on Wednesday in a comeback win over L.A.
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