Franz Wagner registered a career performance on Monday to help lead the Orlando Magic to a comeback win on the road over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Wagner produced 28 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals in 30 minutes of work in the 115-97 win. He converted on 10-of-18 shot attempts from the field, including 5-of-9 from 3-point range to notch his first 20-point outing.
He became the third-quickest Magic rookie to reach 25 points in a game, needing eight appearances to do so.
The eighth overall pick recorded 10 points alone in the fourth quarter as Orlando outscored Minnesota 43-19 in the final frame to overcome a 12-point deficit in the second half. The Magic improved to 2-6 on the season with the victory.
Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley commended Wagner for his effort.
That locker room is so excited for him because they know how hard he works. He has such a high basketball IQ, making the right reads, finding the open teammate, knowing when to turn the corner, knowing when to get downhill and pass the ball. His basketball IQ and knowledge of the game, the things he sees, it makes him special.
The highlight of the night came from Wagner with under four minutes left.
The Magic were putting the finishing touches on the win as Wagner turned the corner and started driving toward the basket. He got by Karl-Anthony Towns and then proceeded to drop the hammer on three Timberwolves players, putting the exclamation point on the victory.
The dunk, of course, got the entire Magic bench up as Wagner sent them into a frenzy. The celebration continued after the game once Wagner got back to the locker room. Magic guard Cole Anthony confirmed the team had the highlight seemingly playing on a loop afterward.
We were like, ‘Dang, Franz! That’s nice! That’s real nice. We probably watched it about 8, 9 times. Every single time, I was just like, ‘Ahh!’ That joint teed me up. That was a heck of a play. Shout out to my young boy.
Wagner described the feeling as an out-of-body experience
You don’t really realize what you’re doing in that kind of moment. I just tried to jump as high as possible and finish the play. Obviously, I was really excited I made the dunk and looked at the bench seeing how my teammates reacted, that’s probably the coolest part about this game is to see how people are happy for you. Obviously, I was really happy when everything worked.
The 20-year-old has performed like one of the top rookies to open the season, and his ability was on full display in the win. He has started in every game so far for the Magic and brings effort and versatility on both ends when he is on the court.
Wagner has often earned praise from the coaching staff and his teammates, something that only continued on Monday as the rookie turned in his best outing yet.
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