Cole Anthony’s 3-pointer at the buzzer capped an Orlando Magic rally in their 97-96 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday at Target Center in Minneapolis.
The Magic came in losers of six straight and appeared headed for a seventh consecutive loss as their field-goal percentage languished in the 30s for much of the night. After racing ahead in the first quarter, Orlando gave up three of D’Angelo Russell’s 19 points on a shot from long distance in the waning seconds of the period.
Russell’s basket led to an overwhelming second quarter for the Timberwolves, who outscored Orlando 30-10 in the period. Minnesota grew its lead to 18 points in the third quarter, harassing Magic shooters on the interior to the tune of 12 blocked shots while holding Orlando to a 3-point percentage below 30 for much of the night.
The Magic finished at just 36 of 92 from the floor for 39.1 percent, and 10 of 31 from behind the 3-point arc for 32.3 percent, but points came at a critical juncture. Orlando outscored Minnesota in the second half, 62-45, while cranking up its own defensive intensity.
Minnesota shot 15 of 35 from 3-point range, led by Russell’s 4 of 7, but the Timberwolves went cold down the stretch. Orlando cut the deficit from 10 points to two during a Minnesota scoreless drought of almost four minutes late in the fourth quarter.
Evan Fournier kicked off the run, scoring five of his 24 points, and Anthony finished it with a pair of 3-pointers. Before the game-winning walk-off, he made another with 34.6 seconds remaining to set the stage for the final play.
Nikola Vucevic scored a game-high 28 points for the Magic, Fournier added 24 points, and the rookie Anthony matched Aaron Gordon’s 13 points. Orlando’s bench combined for just 14 points to Minnesota’s 33. The Timberwolves were led by 19 points from Russell.
Naz Reid scored 14 points and Jaden McDaniels came off the bench to register 12 points and eight rebounds. Reid and McDaniels both blocked three shots, setting Minnesota’s defensive tone on the interior with all-star center Karl-Anthony Towns sidelined by a positive COVID-19 test.