Tonight is all about seeking a Magic win in Minnesota on Game Day 15. An undermanned Orlando are looking to break a 6 game losing streak.
To watch the game live or on demand here in the UK you will need an active NBA League Pass subscription.
The tip time from Minneapolis is 1am here in the UK (8pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
THE MATCHUP IN SEEKING A MAGIC WIN
Minnesota are on a 2 game losing streak. They are struggling with absences including Karl-Anthony Towns through a positive COVID test. Last time out on Monday the T’Wolves lost on the road 97-108 in Atlanta. Minnesota now sit last (15th) in the Western Conference.
Orlando are on a 6 game losing streak, now dropped to 9th in the Eastern Conference. The Magic still have issues around injury and rotations. These again could impact heavily on the chances of victory. The last outing for Orlando saw a defeat in New York by 84-91 to the Knicks.
The Timberwolves have won 2 of 6 games in their home arena this season. Orlando are 3-5 on the road. Season records see Orlando at 6-8, whilst the Timberwolves are 3-9.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES
Minnesota have the NBA’s worst record at 3-9 on the season. They come into the game as the NBA’s 26th ranked offensive team, 29th defensively. They are struggling in all NBA stats. One notable stat is that they give up too many points per game at 117.8, ranking 27th for opponents points per game.
Offensively they play at pace, ranking 8th. They shoot around 33% from the 3, but are scoring an average of only 107.7 points per game. Each of these rate better than Orlando.
THE MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES SQUAD
In Atlanta they started Malik Beesley (19.8 PPG), D’Angelo Russell (21.6 PPG), Jarred Vanderbilt (5.5 PPG), Naz Reid (10.7 PPG) and Josh Okogie (6.2 PPG).
From the bench came Jarrett Culver (7.3 PPG), Anthony Edwards (12.5 PPG), Jordan McClaughlin (4 PPG) Ed Davis (2.6 PPG) and Jaden McDaniels (3.3 PPG).
According to ESPN their injury issues are multiple. Josh Okogie is day-to-day but probable with a hamstring issue. Ricky Rubio (6.3 PPG) is ruled out through COVID protocols. Karl-Anthony Towns (22 PPG) is out having tested positive for COVID. Also both listed as out are Juancho Hernangomez (6.6 PPG) and Jaylen Nowell (2 PPG).
THE HEAD-TO-HEAD: MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES
History is with us on this one. The all time head-to-head record in the 61 regular season games played sees the Magic leading by 39-22. We met twice last season taking the series 2-0. Both games were high scoring affairs. Orlando won in the Amway 125-136 on Feb 28th. The Magic then prevailed in the Target Arena on March 6th 132-118. The Magic have in fact won the last 3 encounters.
The teams have never met in the playoffs.
THE MAGIC INJURY REPORT
There appears a little positive change to the injury report as I write this. It would appear the squad of 17 is still reduced to 10 fit players but there is an improvement. According to ESPN:
Markelle Fultz (12.9 PPG) has a torn left knee ACL, a season finishing injury.
Jonathan Isaac is out indefinitely recovering from knee surgery.
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 still out with a sore foot. However he is now involved in non-contact practices.
Evan Fournier (14.8 PPG) is listed as questionable with the back spasm issue. He has taken part in non-contact practice. Yesterday Coach Clifford said he does not expect Evan to feature tonight.
Al-Farouq Aminu is out after recovering from knee surgery. However he is now involved in non-contact practices.
Mo Bamba (5 PPG) is out of tonight’s game having not travelled with the team. This is due to NBA COVID protocols, Mo being subject of non-team contact tracing. His upcoming availability will be decided by the league.
THE LINE-UP SEEKING A MAGIC WIN
Coach Clifford is likely to remain with a settled starting unit.
Last time out Orlando’s starting unit was Cole Anthony (10.1 PPG), Dwayne Bacon (9.2 PPG), Aaron Gordon (14.9 PPG), James Ennis III (4 PPG) and Nikola Vucevic (22.9 PPG).
From the bench can come Terrence Ross (16.4 PPG), Khem Birch (7.6 PPG), Gary Clark (3 PPG) and Jordan Bone (4.7 PPG). Karim Mane (1.2 PPG) was available but did not feature.
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 9th
SEASON RECORD – 6-8
HOME RECORD – 3-3
ROAD RECORD – 3-5
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 – 28TH OF 30 (104.8)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 21ST OF 30 (111)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 18TH OF 30 (110.7)
RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – 0-7
WHEN SCORING MORE THAN 100 POINTS – 6-1
WHEN SCORING 110 POINTS OR MORE – 4-1
AND WHEN SCORING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 2-0
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 100 POINTS OR LESS – 2-1
WHEN CONCEDING 110 POINTS OR LESS – 4-1
AND WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR LESS – 6-4
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 1-4
LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY – 20 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
LARGEST MARGIN OF DEFEAT – 42 – GAME DAY 9 HOUSTON ROCKETS
HIGHEST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 130 – GAME DAY 2 VS WASHINGTON WIZARDS
LEAST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 84 – GAME DAY 14 NEW YORK KNICKS
MOST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 132 – GAME DAY 9 HOUSTON ROCKETS
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 former Orlando Magic player and current Colour Commentator for Fox Sports Florida Jeff Turner. We discuss the losing streak, injuries, being a part of the famous 1984 NBA Draft that included Michael Jordan, winning a gold medal with Team USA in the 1984 Olympics, the brawl in LA and much, much more.
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KEYS TO THE GAMES TO SEEKING A MAGIC WIN
This game is far from a certain win and Coach Clifford will know this. Both teams have key players out injured. Orlando’s offence has been devastated by the loss of Markelle Fultz. It has affected the pace and sees Aaron Gordon playing point at times, learning on the job. The T’Wolves are missing Karl-Anthony Towns, a quality player who can win a game.
Both teams also have players carrying the team. For Orlando it is Nikola Vucevic, Minnesota have D’Angelo Russell. Assistance is coming in the shape of Aaron Gordon and Terrence Ross for Vooch. For D’Lo it is Malik Beesley.
Just as Vooch and T Ross see a lot of opposition focus on them the same is true for D’Lo and Beesley. The game could be won by whoever gets better production from someone other than their star men.
Orlando had been nose diving in every category of the stats. The Boston performance did slow that but in New York the offence failed.
Yet again one big indicator for success was the half time score. Lead and we win (6-0), trail and we lose (0-8)! Orlando scoring is also key, hit less than 100 points and we likely lose (0-7).
The Magic have to find a way to be more effective both shooting and defending the three ball. In Boston there was a 30 point difference, a game lost by 27 points. In Dallas there was a 42 point difference, a game Orlando lost by 14. That amount of points is hard to overcome. Minnesota do not shoot the 3 much better than Orlando.
Again it is true to say that Orlando players are seeing their fitness tested. Limited rotations are resulting in big minutes for the 10 fit players.
There are no easy games in the NBA and this season is an example of that with many surprises results. Orlando must break this losing streak before it becomes a millstone, hence the Coach will be seeking a Magic win!
WE BELIEVE IN OUR TEAM!
LET’S GO MAGIC!