Sport: With Markelle Fultz playing downhill, Magic offense picking up momentum - - PressFrom - US
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Sport With Markelle Fultz playing downhill, Magic offense picking up momentum

21:20  17 november  2019
21:20  17 november  2019 Source:   msn.com

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Markelle Fultz dribbled with his left hand along the Magic logo near the sideline at Amway Center, then paused momentarily as he waited for teammate Nikola Vucevic to set a screen.

a basketball player in front of a crowd© Phelan M. Ebenhack

Once Vucevic was in place, Fultz began to move to his right. When Spurs guard Dejounte Murray worked over the screen to cut off Fultz’s progress, the Magic point guard quickly spun back to his left to create space. Fultz then found a seam in the defense and took two dribbles that got him into the paint. From there, Fultz fired a pass to the waiting Aaron Gordon for a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer from the wing.

Gordon knocked down the shot.

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The sequence was just one example of how the Magic point guard’s ability to get the ball going to the basket and playing downhill is giving the offense a boost.

Call it the Fultz Factor.

“Penetration is the biggest key to offensive basketball. He has a unique ability to get the ball into the paint and make plays for his teammates or for himself,” Magic coach Steve Clifford said.

For his part, Fultz knows how his penetration skills affect the Magic’s offense.

“When I break the free-throw line or be aggressive and get there I make a good play, whether it’s me scoring or me getting someone an open shoot. It’s something I keep in my mind when I’m attacking,” Fultz said.

Markelle Fultz, T.J. Warren are posing for a picture© Phelan M. Ebenhack Fultz was especially on the attack in the third quarter against the Spurs, as he helped spark the Magic in their 111-109 victory.

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He was in the middle of a 12-1 run in the third quarter that turned an eight-point deficit into a three-point lead and got the Magic back in the game.

Fultz got into the lane and scored over Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge, then his dribble penetration created a layup attempt for Al-Farouq Aminu on the next possession. Aminu was fouled on the play and made the ensuing free throws.

Fultz then converted another drive into a layup over 7-foot Spurs center Jakob Poeltl to tie the game at 66-66.

“He’s big and he’s strong, he’s athletic and has a good touch around the rim,” Gordon said of Fultz. “His ability to create for himself just makes our team that much more lethal just because you have to look out for him. He can score over two people at the rack.”

Evan Fournier capped the run with a 3-pointer to put the Magic up 69-66.

Fultz’s penetration was a big reason why Clifford called Friday’s effort Fultz's best performance of the season.

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“I thought that was his best game,” Clifford said. “I thought he gave us a huge lift there in the third quarter. He played really, really well.

“His best all-around game. That’s what I thought.”

Fultz’s impact on the offense continues to grow.

He was inserted into the starting lineup on Nov. 2 against the Denver Nuggets. In his seven starts, the Magic are averaging 104.3 points, including 109.8 in their past five contests. The 109.8 clip would rank the Magic seventh in the NBA.

Over that five-game stretch from Nov. 5-15, the Magic were 13th in offensive rating (109.4). Fultz, meanwhile, has posted offensive ratings of 132, 116 and 144 his past three games.

Fultz is averaging 9.3 drives per game so far this season. His past four games he’s gone 13, 12, 3 and 14 for an average of 10.5.

The 14 is closer to what Clifford wants to see from his starting point guard.

“It's not just the ball getting into the paint, it’s your efficiency once it hits there,” he said. “Our efficiency off him driving the ball to the paint is terrific because he’s such a good passer and he’s such a good finisher.”

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The Magic are hopeful that Fultz will play for them at some point this season, but Weltman stressed The extra first-round pick that the Magic are giving up is for the 2020 NBA Draft, it is `` Markelle , even though his struggles, he has shown glimpses of why he was such a high pick ,’’ Weltman said. ``

Magic 's Markelle Fultz : Plays 25 minutes in starting role. by RotoWire Staff | RotoWire. Fultz did not suit up for a game as a member of the Magic last season after coming over from Philadelphia via trade, but Already, he's able to manipulate the offense the way that he wants - and he's just learning it.

Fultz remains on somewhat of a minutes restriction as the team continues to monitor his right shoulder and overall conditioning. The 2017 No. 1 overall pick had played in just 33 regular-season NBA games prior to this season and missed nearly all of last year with a Thoracic Outlet Syndrome issue in his right shoulder. As a result, the Magic are tethering his playing time to about 24 minutes a game for now.

Once Fultz’s minutes begin to increase, his drive numbers should follow.

For the season, Fultz has 53 points on his 110 drives, going 21-of-41 (51.2%) on field-goal attempts and 11-of-14 on free-throw attempts. He also has 12 assists against seven turnovers.

In addition to his season-high 14 drives Friday the Spurs, Fultz also tied his season-high with 13 points and recorded four assists against 0 turnovers.

He got one of those assists on Gordon’s open 3-pointer. But the stat sheet doesn’t always tell the whole story of how Fultz can affect a game. A number of his drives led to free throws for him and his teammates as the Spurs committed shooting fouls. Fultz himself was 7-of-7 from the line.

His goal is to get in the lane and create.

“Just put pressure on the defense at all times, whether that’s dribbling through the lane, whether that’s getting a layup, whether that’s finding an open a teammate, I just feel like that’s a big strength of my game and I want to use it every night,” Fultz said.

And so do the Magic.

rparry@orlandosentinel.com

The NBA’s proposed changes are littered with bad ideas .
The NBA’s proposed changes are littered with bad ideas

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