The Orlando Magic are one game way to complete their Las Vegas Summer League schedule after another loss without No. 1 pick Paolo Banchero.
The New York Knicks defeated the Magic 102-89 late Thursday night. The Magic went on to lose two games in a row after going 2–0 down from the dominance of Banchero.
They kick off Summer League play Saturday vs. Detroit Pistons (ESPNU, 4 ET).
Banchero and several other experienced teammates have been the reason for the decline in the game after such an impressive start. The 6-foot-10, 250-pound forward averaged 20.0 points, 6.0 assists, and 5.0 rebounds until the Magic decided they would see enough. They wanted to have more opportunities to play their free agents.
Despite the defeat, those players kept their weight on themselves in Thursday’s game.
Tommy Kuhse, a 6-2 shooting guard who spent five years at St. Mary’s, was the most productive of the bunch. He had 25 points after 27 minutes of play, 15 of 11 shots, 4 assists and 5 steals.
“He has a knack for it. He’s making plays on both sides of the ball,” Magic Summer League coach Jesse Murmays said of Kuhse, who scored 10 of 6 shots for 14 points versus Oklahoma City on Monday. “He’s a clever finisher around the rim. He played really well for us.”
RJ Hampton, a third-year guard for the Magic, has also been ruled out, along with third-year forward Admiral Schofield.
This gave Kuhse a chance to play, who did not appear in the first two matches.
Justin James has appeared in every game but he now has a bigger role with Scofield and Banchero no longer eating up the minutes. The 6-7 short forward spent two seasons playing 72 games with the Sacramento Kings.
He did his best on Thursday with 16 points and 5 rebounds.
“He is a hardworking kid and has really improved his perimeter shooting,” said Marmuis. “He’s a good youngster. He’s on the way.”
From a magic point of view the glass is half full. Like the previous regular season when they won only 22 games and focused on developing young players, Las Vegas has mirrored that approach.
There’s a lot to learn. a lot of work to do. They’ll all be better off for this experience, even if most free agents won’t be on Magic’s regular-season roster for 2022-23.
“The NBA is tough. It’s a complete grind to get better every day,” said Marmuys. “It’s the professional sport and it’s tough. Those guys play with that edge and that’s what we need.”