NBA Hoops

Jonathan Isaac scores 10 points in long-awaited return for Magic

Jonathan Isaac scores 10 points in long-awaited return for Magic

ORLANDO, Fla. — Magic forward Jonathan Isaac stood at the scorer’s table, had a brief talk with coach Jamahl Mosley and calmly removed his shooting shirt. He turned to the court, stuck his mouthpiece in and walked onto an NBA floor to play his first game in over 900 days.

The long wait was over. As he checked into the game between a pair of Jayson Tatum free throws, the sellout crowd of 19,196 inside the Amway Center showed its appreciation with a rousing ovation.

Isaac, 25, hadn’t played an official NBA game since Aug. 2, 2020, when he tore the ACL in his left knee during a game in the Orlando bubble. He missed all of the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons and half of the 2022-23 campaign before returning Monday night against the Boston Celtics.

On a tight minutes restriction, Isaac finished with 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting in just under 10 minutes of action as the Magic defeated the Celtics 113-98.

Isaac said there was a lot going through his mind when he was checking in. He also admitted there were occasions when he didn’t know if this day would ever come, but leaned on his faith in times of doubt.

“There were days where I was like I don’t know if I want to keep going,” he said. “But then again, I have to thank Christ. Being able to go back to my faith and say God has me on this journey for a purpose. I know that I was made to play basketball. I was made to give glory to God on this stage.”

Isaac was the first sub of the night for Orlando, and he checked in alone — something that was done intentionally by Mosley so the crowd could acknowledge the moment.

Isaac’s first touch of the night didn’t come too long after he checked in. As Orlando came down the court for the first time, Isaac found himself with the ball in his hands.

He caught it along the baseline and tried to drive on Boston’s Jaylen Brown. Isaac said he thought Brown was going to take a charge, but as he didn’t, it caused Isaac to misstep as he tried to get a layup that failed to go in.

On the ensuing offensive possession for the Magic, Isaac was able to get the shot to go down — a 13-footer right over Brown.

“Shout out to Coach Mose for drawing one up for me,” Isaac said. “It was supposed to really be a catch and a jumper but they played it well and it was just me and Jaylen. So I just said get something and I was able to get to my turnaround. I really like that shot. When it dropped I was just like, ‘Thank you.’ Just get that out the way.”

Isaac’s…

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