Despite guard Gary Harris' shot, the Magic fall to the struggling Hornets


The Magic's five-man lineup of guards Jalen Suggs and Gary Harris as well as forwards Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero and center Wendell Carter Jr. made their 15th start together on Friday against the Hornets.

Of the various lineups coach Jamahl Mosley has used in his third year at the helm, this group in particular has been the most effective.

Unfortunately, the Magic were defeated 124-115.

Banchero led the Magic (45-32) with 32 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

Rookie Brandon Miller led the Hornets (19-58) with 32 points and six rebounds.

The team entered Friday's contest in Charlotte with a record of 13-1 in starts and a net rating of plus-11.5, the most among Orlando teams that have played at least 100 minutes together this season.

The group's effective field goal percentage of 59.1% – a field goal percentage formula that adjusts for 3-pointers being worth more than made 2-pointers – also led Orlando's most setups used.

Part of that has to do with the shooting of Harris (12 points), a veteran guard who helps spread the field as a 36.8 percent 3-point specialist, going 4 of 8 on 3-pointers Friday. throws scored.

However, by adding Harris to the Magic's regular starting lineup after the All-Star break, Mosley essentially removed a traditional point guard from the group.

Markelle Fultz, who opened the year as the starting point guard, came off the bench in 15 of the 16 games he played in for the Magic after the league pause. He started once when Harris had to miss a game with a right plantar fascia strain.

The shift in lineups resulted in Suggs having the ball in his hands at times along with Banchero and Wagner, depending on how Mosley was ordering the offense.

When Suggs initiates the offense, he is likely to move the ball down the field quicker than the other two due to his speed and ability to make quick decisions.

But he's also learned to slow down and read the word once he's on the other side of the field.

“Jalen is doing a great job,” Mosley said. “He gets the rebound; You look for it in the outlet. Because of his pace, he tries to go for it [and] because of its speed. He also does a great job of slowing down once he gets there.

“With the ability to swing it and move it, you play against closeouts because he has the ability to break through the defense.”

According to, an advanced NBA statistics site that excludes “garbage time” games from its calculations, Suggs played a total of 1,856 minutes this season, playing 62% of the time at point guard and 37% at shooting guard.

Suggs has played point guard so many times in his career and it has worked out well for Orlando. The team's point differential, according to CleaningTheGlass, is plus-4.8 with Suggs at point guard (which is usually the case when Harris is starting) but minus-3.8 with Suggs at shooting guard.

“He does it all and he’ll compete,” Harris said of Suggs. “Jalen is learning the game, continuing to learn and getting better.

“It’s just a testament to who he is as a person, constantly getting better, improving and just trying to be a service to this team.”

Looking to solidify their place in the East's top six, the Magic return to the Kia Center when they host the Bulls on Sunday.