Tonight it is Round Two with Chicago as the Orlando Magic look to put together back-to-back wins for the first time since January 6th.
To watch the game live or on demand here in the UK you will need an active NBA League Pass subscription.
The tip time is shown on the NBA app and Orlando Magic website as being a 12 midnight here in the UK (7pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
THE MATCHUP FOR ROUND TWO WITH CHICAGO
In taking the victory last night Orlando moved back above Chicago in the Eastern Conference. Orlando now sit 11th. Chicago are 12th but have played two games less.
In the Orlando victory last night by 119-123 Zach LaVine had an impressive 4th quarter and made Orlando fans sweat on the result. Five other Bulls players reached double figure scoring.
Orlando successfully snapped their four game losing streak. They were led by Nikola Vucevic with a career high 43 points scored, along with 19 rebounds. Vooch gave young center Daniel Gafford a torrid night. Cole Anthony had a career high for assists with 9, to go along with 17 points. Evan Fournier was important to keep the scoreboard ticking, providing 17 points.
Frank Mason III made his team debut and did well on such limited time with the team. He scored 4 points and had 4 assists in 15 minutes of court time. He showed a willingness to drive and played some solid defence.
The Bulls have won 5 of 11 games on the road this season. Orlando have won 5 of 12 games in the Amway. Season records see Orlando at 9-14, whilst Chicago are 8-13. Across the last 10 games that each team has played the Bulls have a 4-6 record, whilst Orlando are 3-7. Chicago have now lost their last two games.
If Orlando can take a victory tonight it will be the first time for back-to-back wins since the double header of the 4th and 6th January against the Cleveland Cavaliers. That was the game Markelle Fultz got injured and since then Orlando have been in freefall. Fifteen games have been played with only 3 victories.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE CHICAGO BULLS
The Chicago Bulls is underperforming to what many expected before the season began. However having played two games less gives a somewhat false impression of their season so far.
The Bulls come into the game as the NBA’s 15th ranked offensive team, scoring an average of 115 points per game. Chicago are ranked defensively at 26th, conceding an average of 117.4 points per game.
Offensively they do play at a very fast pace, ranking 3rd in the NBA. Scoring wise 41% of Chicago’s points per game come from beyond the arc. They shoot almost 48% from the field and over 37% with the 3 ball.
Defensively they rate badly in respect of blocks per game, 29th in the league (Orlando are 30th). Chicago turn the ball over at a rate of almost 17 per game (only Miami rate worse). They commit on average almost 21 fouls per game.
THE CHICAGO BULLS SQUAD
According to ESPN the Bulls have 2 absences for tonight. Otto Porter Jr (11.6 PPG) is out for tonight with a back issue. Wendall Carter Jr (12.8 PPG) is out for several weeks with a quadricep contusion.
Last game Coach Billy Donovan started Zach LaVine (26.5 PPG), Lauri Markkanen (19.1 PPG), Coby White (15.3 PPG), Patrick Williams (10.2 PPG) and Daniel Gafford (5.3 PPG).
From the bench came Thaddeus Young (11.1 PPG), Garrett Temple (8.9 PPG), Denzel Valentine (7.3 PPG), Tomas Satoransky (4.7 PPG) and Chandler Hutchinson (1.9 PPG). They also get solid contributions from the bench from Ryan Arcidiacono (5.2 PPG) and Cristiano Felicio (2.3 PPG) amongst others.
THE HEAD-TO-HEAD: CHICAGO BULLS
The all time head-to-head record in the 112 regular season games played sees the Magic trailing by 52-60.
Our recent record with the Bull sees the Magic win one, then the Bulls do.
We only met once last season, winning the game 95-103 in the Amway.
The 2018-19 season saw the series split 2 & 2, both teams taking a road and a home win.
Prior to that season the Bulls had won the previous 5 meetings between us.
In the playoffs the record for games is 6-4 to Chicago, being tied 1-1 for series victories. The Magic won 4-2 in the 1995 Eastern Conference Semi-finals, but in 1996 were swept 4-0 in the Conference Final.
THE MAGIC INJURY AND ABSENCE REPORT
For those embracing the tank then the injury report is still favourable. The squad of 17 is now standing at 11 fit players and one absent. According to ESPN:
Karim Mane (1.2 PPG) is absent to be with the Lakeland Magic. The NBA G League season begins on February 10th in a “bubble” at Walt Disney World.
Michael Carter-Williams (5.1 PPG) is out with a foot injury. There is now no timetable for his return, having suffered a setback.
Al-Farouq Aminu is still out again after recovering from knee surgery. He has been involved in practices and is listed as possible to return on the upcoming road trip.
Markelle Fultz (12.9 PPG) has a torn left knee ACL, a season finishing injury. He is now in the lengthy process of rehab following successful surgery.
Jonathan Isaac is out indefinitely recovering from knee surgery.
Aaron Gordon (13.8 PPG) will miss 4 to 6 weeks with a severe left ankle sprain, suffered in the defeat to Toronto on Sunday night.
THE MAGIC LINE-UP FOR ROUND TWO WITH CHICAGO
Coach Clifford for Round Two with Chicago will probably keep the starting unit from last night.
That unit consisted of Cole Anthony (11.3 PPG), Evan Fournier (17.8 PPG), James Ennis III (6 PPG), Gary Clark (3.5 PPG) and Nikola Vucevic (23.4 PPG).
From the bench again came Terrence Ross (13.8 PPG), Khem Birch (7.1 PPG), Chuma Okeke (4.1 PPG), Dwayne Bacon (9.5 PPG) and Frank Mason III (4 PPG). Mo Bamba (4.4 PPG) was fit but did not feature.
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 11th
SEASON RECORD – 9-14
HOME RECORD – 5-7
ROAD RECORD – 4-7
RECORD LEADING AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER – 4-2
WHEN LEADING AT HALF TIME – 8-1
AND WHEN LEADING GOING INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER – 6-1
NBA OFFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 27TH OF 30 (106.2)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 22ND OF 30 (112.5)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 17TH OF 30 (112)
RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – 1-8
WHEN SCORING MORE THAN 100 POINTS – 8-6
WHEN SCORING 110 POINTS OR MORE – 6-2
AND WHEN SCORING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 3-0
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 100 POINTS OR LESS – 3-1
WHEN CONCEDING 110 POINTS OR LESS – 6-2
AND WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR LESS – 9-7
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 1-7
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
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KEYS TO THE GAME FOR ROUND TWO WITH CHICAGO
For Round 2 with Chicago it will again be challenge for a struggling Magic team. In some ways Orlando got away with a result last night as Chicago missed many opportunities in the paint to score.
This Chicago squad has threats from many positions. LaVine was superb in the fourth quarter last night and is surely a certainty for the All Star game this season. Markkanen and White are scoring easily and the veteran Thad Young is resurgent.
They are still underperforming on what was expected from them for the season. If they can find some defensive presence this would be a different story.
Orlando had been struggling on offence but cashed in on Chicago’s frail D. Hopefully Terrence Ross can regain some confidence and form.
Again expect their pace to cause Orlando some difficulties, especially if they are able to force turnovers. Again last night Orlando conceded points from this weakness. Chicago scored 26 points from Orlando’s 15 turnovers. This has been a source of trouble in recent weeks for Orlando and one factor in a declining efficiency on defence.
LET’S GO MAGIC!