A difficult road trip faces the Orlando Magic for Game Day 9 and 10 as they face the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks on a back-to-back in Texas.
The game in Houston tips off at a UK time of 01:00am (8pm Eastern Time for our friends in Orlando). The following night in Dallas sees a 01:30am start (8:30pm Eastern).
To watch the game live or on demand here in the UK you will need an active NBA League Pass subscription.
THE MATCHUPS ON A DIFFICULT ROAD TRIP
Injury is again a huge factor for the Orlando Magic and more of that later. Orlando will change the starting line-up again tonight after the devastating loss of Markelle Fultz to a season ending injury. In adversity comes opportunity for both Cole Anthony and Jordan Bone.
Neither Dallas nor Houston have started the season as expected and are looking to build from disappointing openings.
Both teams are led by players of NBA renown. In James Harden the Rockets have one of the Leagues premier scorers and leaders in assists. He is now paired with John Wall, who is scoring freely in his new team.
Dallas have their own threat in Luka Doncic. Both are capable of having individual nights that win games for their team
The schedule ahead for Orlando is a tough one for a time. It really does not ease up after this trip to Texas to face Houston and Dallas. Orlando then return to the Amway to take on the Bucks. The Magic then take a 6 game road trip to face Boston twice, Brooklyn, New York, Minnesota and Indiana.
GAME DAY 9 OPPONENTS – HOUSTON ROCKETS
A season start of 2-4 has resulted in Houston being 13th in the Western Conference. They are on a two game losing streak, having been beaten by Dallas 113-110 and Indiana 107-114. On homecourt Houston have won 2 of their 3 games so far. In the Defensive Rating the Rockets are 23rd (112.8) and 18th on Offense (108.9).
This is not the same team who faced and lost 1-4 to the Lakers in the Playoff semi-finals in September.
Last time out their starting line-up was James Harden (29.4 PPG), John Wall (23 PPG), David Nwaba (9.8 PPG), PJ Tucker (5.2 PPG) and DeMarcus Cousins (5.8 PPG).
From the bench came Jae’Sean Tate (7.2 PPG), Eric Gordon (19.5 PPG) and Sterling Brown (7.7 PPG).
As I write according to ESPN the Rockets have their own extensive injury list. Listed as out are Ben McLemore, Mason Jones, Kenyon Martin Jr and Chris Clemmons. Only Christian Wood is shown on ESPN as questionable with a knee injury.
HOUSTON ROCKETS VS ORLANDO MAGIC – THE HEAD-TO-HEAD HISTORY
In 63 regular season games played the score stands at 29-34 to Houston. Orlando are on a 5 game winning streak, sweeping the series 3-0 last season. The past two seasons have seen the series tied 1-1.
These two teams have famously met only once in the playoffs, the 1995 Finals, resulting in a 4-0 win for Houston.
GAME DAY 10 OPPONENTS – DALLAS MAVERICKS
Dallas have a season record of 4-4 and sit 9th in the Western Conference. That does not tell the true story of their position as 7 teams in the West are tied 4-4, covering seeding 4th through 10th. They are on a two game winning streak, impressive wins on the road in Houston and Denver. Their home court record so far this season is 1-1.
In their last outing, an overtime 124-117 victory over the Denver Nuggets Luka Doncic went for 38 points and 13 assists. Dallas are 12th in the Offensive Ratings (110.1) and and Defensively (106.9).
Coach Rick Carlisle used a starting line-up of Luka Doncic (27.6 PPG), Josh Richardson (13.8 PPG), Dorian Finney-Smith (9.3 PPG), Maxi Kleber (7.8 PPG) and Willie Cauley Stein (5.5 PPG).
From the bench came Tim Hardaway Jr (16.3 PPG), Jalen Brunson (11.1 PPG), Boban Marjanovic (6 PPG), Dwight Powell (5.1 PPG), James Johnson (4.1 PPG) and Josh Green (1 PPG).
They also have the very popular former Orlando Magic role player Wes Iwundu (3.5 PPG) on the roster.
According to ESPN the only injury the Mavs have is Trey Burke who is day-to-day with and illness. Kristaps Porzingis was said on the 6th January to be within a week or week and a half from returning to the court.
DALLAS MAVERICKS VS ORLANDO MAGIC – THE HEAD-TO-HEAD HISTORY
Of the 63 regular season games played Dallas have a lead of 36-27 over Orlando. Last season saw Dallas sweep Orlando 2-0. The 4 season previously had all been split 1-1, with the home team winning each occasion. The last time Orlando won in Dallas was on January 8th 2011. Time to end this 8 game road losing streak!
The Magic and Dallas have never met in the playoffs.
THE MAGIC INJURY REPORT
We all know this is not pleasant reading.
Orlando took a massive blow in the last game as with a little over 4 minutes played Markelle Fultz (12.9 PPG) went down. The injury has been shown to be a torn left knee ACL, a season finishing injury.
For some time to come there will be no change on the absence of Jonathan Isaac and Al-Farouq Aminu, both being long term and out indefinitely.
Chum Okeke (3 PPG) is still absent from the rotations for multiple weeks with a bone bruise in his left knee.
Michael Carter-Williams (5.1 PPG) is day-to-day with a sore foot.
Evan Fournier (14.8 PPG) is listed as questionable for tonight with the back spasm issue.
Aaron Gordon (13.9 PPG) will sit out the Houston game as his hamstring is rested.
THE MAGIC LINE-UP
Coach Clifford must again change the starting line-up with no Markelle Fultz, Aaron Gordon, and possibly Evan Fournier.
Cole Anthony (8.6 PPG) will join Dwayne Bacon (9 PPG) and Nikola Vucevic (21 PPG). The other starting positions should be occupied by a returning Evan Fournier (14.8 PPG), Gary Clark (2.4 PPG) again or the now returned James Ennis III (6 PPG)
From the bench can come Terrence Ross (20.7 PPG), Khem Birch (7. PPG), Mo Bamba (0 PPG) Jordan Bone (3.7 PPG) and Karim Mane (0.7 PPG).
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 2nd
SEASON RECORD – 6-2
HOME RECORD – 3-2
ROAD RECORD – 3-0
RECORD LEADING AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER – 2-1
WHEN LEADING AT HALF TIME – 6-0
AND WHEN LEADING GOING INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER – 4-0
NBA OFFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 18TH OF 30 (108.8)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 5TH OF 30 (104.9)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 7TH OF 30 (106)
RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – 0-2
WHEN SCORING MORE THAN 100 POINTS – 6-0
WHEN SCORING 110 POINTS OR MORE – 4-0
AND WHEN SCORING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 2-0
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 100 POINTS OR LESS – 2-0
WHEN CONCEDING 110 POINTS OR LESS – 4-1
AND WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR LESS – 6-2
LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY – 20 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
LARGEST MARGIN OF DEFEAT – 24 – GAME DAY 5 PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
HIGHEST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 130 – GAME DAY 2 VS WASHINGTON WIZARDS
LEAST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 92 – GAME DAY 5 VS PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
MOST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 120 – GAME DAY 2 VS WASHINGTON WIZARDS
LEAST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 83 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
Check out our podcast Penny For Your Thoughts !
In the latest episode we are joined by special guest, host and presenter from the Orlando Magic Mackenzie Thirkill. We recap losses to the Sixers and Thunder, before a blowout win against the Cleveland Cavaliers. We look ahead to the next three Magic games against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks. Plus Mackenzie explains what it is like working for the Orlando Magic.
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KEYS TO THE GAMES FOR A DIFFICULT ROAD TRIP
Orlando need to adapt quickly to the loss of Markelle. They did this well against Cleveland, running out with the victory. In that game both Cole Anthony and Jordan Bone stepped up to fill the void. This will now be a big season for both. Expect to see Cole playing big minutes. How well he learns to play against the top players is a key for Orlando’s season. So far he has proven a quick learner!
A solid Magic defence is needed again. It has not been at it’s best yet this season.
Coach Clifford has the offence playing at a fast pace. Cole Anthony is capable of keeping this going.
Against Houston there will still be a barrage of 3’s and Harden will look to draw fouls whenever possible. However under new coach Stephen Silas they play a different game to what we have come to expect.
In Dallas we face a team who play hard on both ends and have players who enjoy facing the Magic.
WE BELIEVE IN OUR TEAM!
LET’S GO MAGIC!