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Magic’s summer league squad gets taste of NBA’s unpredictability

Jesse Murmuys, the Magic’s summer league coach, knew Orlando would face adversity after a 14-point win over Houston to tip off the summer schedule on Thursday.

The Magic mostly had faced little resistance but allowed the Rockets to get back into the game early in the fourth quarter.

Knowing this, Murmuys spoke to the Magic during Friday’s film session and pregame Saturday ahead of their 94-92 double-overtime win over the Sacramento Kings about not letting up late.

“I was trying to explain to them,” Murmuys said, “that the NBA game is never over.”

Even he couldn’t have foreseen the Magic learning that lesson firsthand the way they did against the Kings.

There was the Magic blowing their game-high 16-point lead in the middle of the fourth after struggling offensively and allowing Sacramento to score 6 points in the final six seconds of regulation to push the game into overtime.

There was Devin Cannady having to knock down 3 three throws with 6.2 seconds left in the first overtime to push the game to a second.

And ultimately, there was Paolo Banchero having to make two game-deciding plays in the second overtime — blocking a Neemias Queta alley-oop attempt and dishing out the assist to Emanuel Terry, who made the game-winning layup.

Those are moments you can talk about as much as you want but have to go through to understand the execution needed to get through those moments and win.

“You can’t really simulate those things in practice,” Cannady said. “At the end of the day, you have to see what kind of group you have to respond to situations like that. We responded well.”

Murmuys was impressed by how the Magic stayed together despite blowing the lead, and how they didn’t allow previous letdowns to affect the next play — a necessary ability in the NBA when teams can go on big runs at any moment.

“An example I talked about with Terry was he missed those two free throws [in the first overtime] and I know he was hurting about,” said Murmuys, with Terry making a game-saving block to close out the first extra period. “It’s [about] that next play and having the mental toughness. He comes up big with the block and he gets the game-winning shot. That’s how you got to do it. That’s a great learning experience for all those young guys. Anything can happen on any night.”

Saturday was Banchero’s first experience at the NBA level having to come through in the clutch, albeit in summer league.

He came through in situations he relished and believes will help him in the long run.

“A lot because it’s added intensity and pressure,” Banchero responded when asked how Saturday’s experience will help. “It’s stuff you dream of. In an area where the whole crowd’s eyes are on you, it’s what I look for.”

The Magic will play the Oklahoma City Thunder at 9 p.m. on Monday (ESPN) in their next summer-league contest before matching up against the New York Knicks at 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV) on Thursday.

This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Khobi Price at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @khobi_price.

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