Magic hold off late push by Spurs

Paolo Banchero scored 25 points and Franz Wagner added 20 as the visiting Orlando Magic built a big lead and held off the San Antonio Spurs for a 108-98 victory on Wednesday.

Orlando never led over the first 18-plus minutes of the game before rallying to take a six-point advantage into halftime. The Magic then took control by going on a 17-0 run in the middle of the third quarter and led by 25 points late in the period.

But San Antonio roared back in the fourth quarter, using a 15-0 spurt highlighted by a 3-pointer and two close-range shots by Jeremy Sochan and two 3-pointers by Devin Vassell, to claw to within 99-96 with 3:27 to play.

Two free throws by Wendell Carter Jr. and a bucket by Markelle Fultz gave Orlando some breathing room and the Magic held on, winning for the second time in their past five games.

Carter added 14 points for the Magic. Cole Anthony and Fultz each scored 11 and Moritz Wagner finished with 10 points in the win.

Vassell led all scorers with 26 points while Victor Wembanyama added 21 and Sochan racked up 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Spurs. San Antonio played without key bench players Keldon Johnson (elbow laceration) and Zach Collins (sprained ankle).

The Spurs jumped ahead early, taking a 28-17 lead on a layup by Sochan at the 3:08 mark of the first quarter. But Orlando fought back, finishing the period on an 8-0 run capped by a dunk by Moritz Wagner with 17 seconds remaining to pull to within 30-27 after one period of play.

A jumper by Jonathan Isaac with 8:25 left in the half tied the score at 35, and the Magic took a 39-38 lead on Banchero’s dunk with 5:33 to play in the period. Sochan’s layup with 3:05 remaining tied the score at 44, and Orlando carried a 57-51 advantage into the break.

Banchero led the Magic with 14 points before halftime. Carter added 11 and Franz Wanger chipped in with 10 for Orlando. Wembanyama and Vassell scored 14 points each to pace the Spurs at the half, while Sochan tallied 11 before the break.