Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Magic’s Ignas Brzedeikis shines again in season finale

With the Orlando Magic lacking many key players and prioritizing youth development, the final stages of the season have more potential for less experienced players.

Ignas Brazdeikis is making the most of it.

As at the end of last season, Brzedekis, who is on a two-way deal, has excelled with increasing game time.

He averaged 13.8 points (52.8% shooting, 41.7% at 3-pointers) and 3.6 rebounds in 27.2 minutes in Orlando’s last five games, entering a 128-101 road loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday.

Brazdeikis has been in Magic’s closing lineup in some of those games. He tries to come off the screen as well as being a threat as a driver and spot-up shooter.

“He’s done a great job dropping shots and getting ready to play,” said Magic coach Jamahal Mosley. “Whether it’s sitting for the entire game, playing six minutes or playing 29 minutes, [he has an] Ability to recognize and take advantage of your opportunity.”

Brzedekis was once again a key part of the rotation with Franz Wagner (sprained right ankle) unavailable against the Hornets. He went on to score in double digits for the sixth game in a row with 12 points and 5 rebounds, but went 4 for 15 off the field.

Chuma OKK had a team-high 20 points to go with 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. Mo Wagner finished with 17 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists.

Markel Fultz recorded 12 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds, while RJ Hampton had 12 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists.

Robin Lopez and Admiral Schofield were kicked out in the fourth quarter as they were deemed “escalators” late in the game after Jalen McDaniels fouled Hampton in a layoff attempt. Montrezel Harrell was also ejected after the scuffle.

Cole Anthony (sprained left leg) and Wendell Carter Jr. (sprained left wrist) were also seated, while Mo Bamba was out in the middle of the first quarter with a sprained right ankle. Bamba finished in 5 minutes with 2 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists.

With Thursday’s loss, the Magic (21–61) are guaranteed to finish with the Houston Rockets (20–60) with one of the league’s worst-two records.

The teams with the worst three records have a 52.1% chance of getting the same chance for the top-four draft pick (numbers 1-4) in May’s draft lottery. The team with the worst record will not drop out of the top five, while the team with the second worst record will not drop out of the top six.

Brzedeikis’ situation is a familiar one to him.

He originally joined Magic on a 10-day contract on May 2, 2021, before signing with the team for the rest of the season.

Brzedekis scored 11.1 points (shooting 40.7% on 3s), 5.1 rebounds and 2 assists in his final eight games last year and signed a two-way deal last summer.

With his future uncertain this weekend, Brzedekis is looking to prove he is on the NBA roster.

The Magic’s final game will be against the Miami Heat at Amway Center on Sunday.

This article first appeared on orlandosentinel.com, email at cost [email protected] or follow him on twitter @khobi_price,

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Nation World News Desk
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