Franz Wagner is establishing himself as one of the best young stars in the NBA this year
Photo: Mike Watters/USA TODAY Network/IMAGO
The German basketball brothers Moritz and Franz Wagner led the NBA team Orlando Magic to their eighth win in the past nine games.
The team won against the San Antonio Spurs indoors 133:113.
The younger brother, Franz, had 21 points while Moritz contributed 17 points.
The success against San Antonio confirmed Orlando's positive development this month.
With 13 wins and 21 losses, the Florida team is only just behind tenth place in the Eastern Conference.
Whoever finishes the regular season in tenth place has the chance to qualify for the playoffs by winning two individual knockout games (Play-In Tournament).
Orlando has endured a grim era, having made the playoffs only twice in the past nine seasons, both times knocked out in the first round.
But now a talented team core has formed, which promises a better future.
Its pillars are Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner, who is playing his second season in the NBA and is particularly impressive with his versatility.
For a few weeks now, the older Wagner brother has also been one of the top performers.
In December, Moritz plays an average of 29 minutes per game and almost always scores in double figures.
At the same time, Orlando started the current run after an initially weak start to the season.
Dončić exploits keep Dallas afloat
Elsewhere, the NBA offered great spectacle and outstanding individual performances last night.
Probably the best performance had Luka Dončić from the Dallas Mavericks.
With the Houston Rockets, the Slovenian superstar scored 50 points, provided ten assists and caught eight rebounds.
Apart from him, only one Maverick scored at least ten points in the 112:106 victory.
The distribution of the workload on the Mavs offensive this season is often such that Dončić has to take most of the attacks into his own hands.
Last year the team had a good playmaker in Jalen Brunson, but he switched to the New York Knicks in the summer.
The 23-year-old Dončić may have the talent to carry Dallas on his shoulders, but with 17 wins and 16 losses the Mavericks aren't exactly title contenders.
Lakers lose to James' shoe puncture
Dallas only gets a day off – there is no play in the NBA on Christmas Eve – then the next guest game is already on the agenda.
In the night from Saturday to Sunday (2.30 a.m., Stream: Dazn) the Mavs play at the Los Angeles Lakers with LeBron James, who will probably have to afford a generational duel with the 23-year-old in a similar manner to Dončić.
The Lakers are barely within playoff reach this year due to poor roster planning and the absence of James' costar Anthony Davis.
The big man is currently sidelined indefinitely with a foot injury, so the main responsibility lies with 37-year-old James.
Last night he almost led the Lakers to victory over the Charlotte Hornets with 34 points, but he caused a slapstick scene at the crucial moment.
130:132 down and with less than ten seconds on the clock, James tried to pull to the basket from the left but slipped his right foot.
He lost his shoe - and the Lakers lost the game, which ended 130-134.
Young stars shine with 40-point nights
In 14 games across the league last night, five players scored at least 40 points.
One of the most spectacular performances came from Indiana Pacers playmaker Tyrese Haliburton in the 111-108 win at the Miami Heat.
The 22-year-old set a new career high with 43 points and sunk ten three-pointers, a new team record.
The most important of these came at the very end when he scored the game-winning goal with 2.6 seconds left.
Something similar, but with one important difference, was RJ Barrett of the New York Knicks.
At Madison Square Garden, the 22-year-old winger had 44 points, but the Knicks lost 117-118 to the Chicago Bulls, whose DeMar DeRozan left just 0.1 seconds on the final score.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was just as bitter as Barrett.
The Oklahoma City Thunder star also had 44 points, plus six assists and ten rebounds.
It went into overtime against the New Orleans Pelicans, where the Pelicans gained a seven-point lead.
Oklahoma City never recovered from this, the game ended 125:128.
For the 24-year-old Gilgeous-Alexander it was the next brilliant performance in an outstanding season.
Philadelphia 76ers star center Joel Embiid also broke the 40-point mark.
With 44 points, he led his team to a 119:114 against the Los Angeles Clippers after the Sixers were 20 points behind at halftime.
Playmaker James Harden matched the shared team record of Wilt Chamberlain and Maurice Cheeks with 21 assists.