Brooklyn Nets vs Orlando Magic. Orlando go against the Brooklyn Nets who have surprised everyone. It’s game day Magic fans, seeding game 7!
The game has a super friendly U.K. tip time of 6pm. It will as always be available live & on demand via the NBA League Pass. This game is also being broadcast here in the UK on Sky Sports Arena.
OUR PLAYOFF PICTURE
Orlando’s playoff return had been secured. After a disappointing defeat to the Philadelphia 76ers Orlando’s playoff return was secured as the Washington Wizards lost.
Orlando know that we are finishing in the 8th seed position. This was decided by our defeat to Boston & the surprise win by the Brooklyn Nets over the Clippers.
Our season record is now standing at a disappointing 32-39.
The 8th seeding means that the Magic must face the Milwaukee Bucks in the playoffs first round. Led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, the reigning MVP & boasting a record of 55-16 means the Bucks will be a very hard series for the Magic.
The Brooklyn Nets will face the Toronto Raptors.
To check out the schedule Click Here
Since the restart the Magic are 2-4 in the seeding games, losing 4 on the bounce. The seeding games have enphasised the season story for Orlando. Face a team at sub 500 & we win. Face a team plus 500 & we lose. Brooklyn are just below the 500 mark.
In the NBA offensive rankings the Magic are still 23rd, with a rating of 108.4 (points scored per 100 team possessions). We are averaging 107.1 points per game (25th in the NBA).
Our defensive ranking is 9th in the NBA, with a rating of 109.3 (points conceded per 100 opponents possessions). We surrender an average of 106 points per game (6th for opponents PPG in the NBA).
MAGIC INJURY REPORT
Can this section get any worse?
Lets start with the long term news. Jonathan Isaac (11.9 PPG) having left the Orlando bubble had successful surgery to tear of his left ACL. Isaac is out for potentially 12 months. Al-Farouq Aminu (4.3 PPG) (torn meniscus) did not travel to the restart in Walt Disney World & remains out for the season.
Michael Carter Williams (7.2 PPG) is day-to-day with a foot injury & is listed doubtful for tonight.
Aaron Gordon (14.4 PPG) has a strained hamstring & is also day-to-day, he is listed as doubtful for tonight.
Evan Fournier (18.5 PPG) is doubtful with an illness (non COVID related).
Finally, to yesterday’s announcement by the Magic that Terence Ross (14.7 PPG) has left the bubble. This was on the advice of NBA physicians to get tests on a personal medical issue (non-COVID related). Ross’ return to the team is dependant upon those test results & then NBA quarantine protocols. He is definitely out of the game with the Nets tonight.
ORLANDO MAGIC STARTERS
Will Coach Clifford change Orlando’s starting lineup?
Sunday’s starters were DJ Augustin (10.4 PPG), James Ennis III (6.4 PPG), Gary Clark (3.7 PPG), Wes Iwundu (5.3 PPG) & Nikola Vucevic (19.7 PPG).
From the bench we have Markelle Fultz (12 PPG), Mo Bamba (5.4 PPG ), Khem Birch (4.2 PPG), BJ Johnson (1.6 PPG), Vic Law (0.2 PPG) & Melvin Frazier Jr (1.5 PPG) to choose from.
Coach Clifford has decisions to make about risking players in what is a meaningless game tonight. There is benefit for conditioning & team continuity. This has to be weighed against the potential for aggravating injury issues already present or new occurring. The risk is in my opinion too much with the playoffs on the horizon & I hope we don’t see the likes of AG return tonight.
Coach Clifford also has to look at when to resume Markelle Fultz in the starting lineup. His minutes against Boston were the most that Fultz has played since the restart.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE BROOKLYN NETS
As already mentioned; as we take a look at our opponents they come into the game tonight fixed as the 7th seed in the East. A 34 & 36 record is a surprise to many. In the bubble they are 4-2, with wins over Washington, Milwaukee, Sacramento & LA Clippers! They come into tonight with confidence.
Brooklyn rank slightly above us in offensive rankings at 22nd in the NBA with a rating of 108.7, whilst scoring an average of 111.5 points per game. Defensively their rating of 109.4, whilst allowing opponents an average of 112.3 points per game put them in the 10th place for defensive ranking.
BROOKLYN NETS TEAM NEWS
Brooklyn already had Kevin Durant (achilles) out for the season. Then Kyrie Irving (27.4 ppg) went down & ruled himself out for the return having had shoulder surgery. It is worth noting that the Nets had a better record without Kyrie (18-17) than with him (8-12) on the season prior to the hiatus.
They then lost Spencer Dinwiddie (20.6 PPG), Taurean Prince (12.1 PPG), DeAndre Jordan (8.3 PPG) & Wilson Chandler (5.9 PPG) to COVID & choice to not play in the Orlando bubble.
The replacement signing of free agent Jamal Crawford (5 PPG) had little impact as he injured his hamstring & is out for tonight.
Also out tonight with “injuries” are 4 of their 5 starters, being Caris LeVert (18.3 PPG), Jarrett Allen (11 PPG), Garrett Temple (10.3 PPG) & Joe Harris (14.4 PPG).
That leaves Tyler Johnson (6.6PPG), Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (7.2 PPG), Chris Chiozza (5.1 PPG), Rodions Kurucs (4.6 PPG), Justin Anderson (2.9 PPG), Donta Hall (3.6 PPG), Jeremiah Martin (5.4 PPG), Lance Thomas (2.4 PPG) & Dzanan Musa (4.5 PPG)
HEAD-TO-HEAD: MAGIC HISTORY WITH THE BROOKLYN NETS
We had played the Nets three times this season & won them all. In the Amway on January 6th, Orlando won by 89-101. Then on February 24th the Magic won in a brilliant comeback win 115-113 on the road. On July 31st in the bubble Orlando won 128-118, with great ball movement & efficiency
Across the 116 regular season games played the Magic lead 66-50, with us having taken the last 4 W’s. Since season 2015-16, in the 17 games played Orlando have 11 wins. Last season we lost the series 1-2.
The teams have never met in the playoffs.
PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
In this weeks episode of Penny For Your Thoughts we discussed the weeks fixtures amongst a whole lot more. If you have not watched it yet you can catch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgmMP-FDuyU
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THE KEYS TO THE GAME
With two injury hit squads I’m not sure what to say!
The Magic now face an unknown team. The Brooklyn Nets of the bubble have relied heavily on Allen, Harris, Temple & LeVert, none will feature.
A lead at the end of the first quarter or going into the 4th has seen Orlando victorious more often than not this season.
This is a game for some of the role players to get minutes & show Coach Clifford their worth as against Boston. I hope we see them seize an opportunity & come away with the win.
Active hands, good levels of energy & effort, combined with good ball movement on offence could see us win.
Probably of greater importance is to avoid any further injury issues.
WE BELIEVE IN OUR TEAM!
LET’S GO MAGIC!!