“I felt good and I’ve just been trying to do a better job of getting my rest when I need it,” Isaac said. “I definitely feel like my legs are getting back under me and I’m starting to just run free and jump free out there.”
Isaac, who missed two whole seasons — 2020/21 and ’21/22 — while recovering from a torn ACL, was limited to 11 games last season. He has already exceeded that total in ’23/24, appearing in 13 of Orlando’s 15 contests, including Wednesday’s vs. Denver — the second of another back-to-back set.
Still just 26 years old, Isaac is averaging a modest 13.7 minutes per night off the bench. But he’s recording 1.4 blocks and 1.0 steal per game in those limited minutes, and his coach and teammates have lauded Isaac’s defensive abilities, referring to him as “special” and “amazing” on that end of the court, according to Beede.
“He’s our defensive anchor,” guard Gary Harris said. “And we still have guys out right now so we can be a very scary team defensively, especially when everybody gets healthy.”
The 9-5 Magic have the top defense in the league early on this season, holding a 106.4 defensive rating. With Isaac on the court, that figure drops to a remarkable 94.0.
Here’s more from the Southeast:
- Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports details how Franz Wagner and Moritz Wagner — brothers who won a gold medal at the World Cup with the German national team — are helping turn the Magic into a possible playoff contender. “It was purely about, how can we all come together and do something that’s greater than each individual by themselves?” Franz said of the World Cup. “I think we’re creating that same vibe here in Orlando.”
- P.J. Washington has started for most of his five-year career with the Hornets, but he was moved to the bench once Miles Bridges returned from a suspension. He took the move in stride, per Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. “At the end of the day it’s a team game,” Washington said. “When we win, we win as team and when we lose, we lose as a team. For me, I just try to come out here and try to be a professional and do whatever coach asks me to do. Whether it’s play the ‘5’ play the ‘3,’ play the ‘4.’ I’m just trying to do everything I can to win. It’s as simple as that.” Washington was a late scratch for Wednesday’s game against the Wizards due to right foot discomfort, the Hornets announced (via Twitter).
- Heat center Bam Adebayo was ruled out of Wednesday’s game against Cleveland due to hip discomfort, tweets Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. With Kevin Love also out for personal reasons, Miami turned to Thomas Bryant and Orlando Robinson to man the middle.