A Curry led Warriors team is never an easy matchup. Tonight Orlando with perhaps only 9 fit players face a red hot Steph Curry and his team.
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The tip time is shown on the NBA app and Orlando Magic website as being a 03:00am here in the UK (10pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
THE MATCHUP WITH A CURRY LED WARRIORS
Golden State last played on Tuesday in San Antonio. In that game the Warriors won 114-91. Stephen Curry scored 32 points and was one of seven players to make double figure scoring.
In Portland the Magic tasted another defeat by 97-106 to the Trailblazers. Orlando had no answer to the scoring of Damian Lillard, with his 36 points. The team were led by Nikola Vucevic again, taking 27 points and 15 rebounds, his 17th double-double of the season. However the game was a frustration to many Magic fans with the injury to Cole Anthony and the non-usage of Mo Bamba by Coach Clifford.
The Warriors have won 8 of 13 games at home in the Chase Center this season. Orlando have won 4 of 12 games on the road. Season records see Orlando at 9-16, whilst Golden State are 13-12. Across the last 10 games that each team has played the Warriors have a 5-5 record, whilst Orlando are 2-8.
Since Markelle Fultz got injured Orlando have been in freefall. Seventeen games have been played with only three victories. That run of results sees Orlando 13th in the Eastern Conference.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
Golden State like many teams have been coping with injuries all season and their record sees them sat at 8th in the Western Conference. They have recently been playing without a center through those injuries, seeing Draymond Green play at the 5.
The Warriors surprisingly come into the game as the NBA’s 20th ranked offensive team, scoring an average of 113.9 points per game. With a defensive rating of 7th and conceding an average of 112.9 points per game shows that Coach Steve Kerr has the back line well organised.
Offensively they play at a very fast pace, 2nd in the NBA. Scoring wise roughly 37% of Golden State’s points per game come from beyond the arc, whilst 47% is from inside the paint. They shoot a shade over 46% from the field and in excess of 37% with the 3 ball.
Defensively they rate well in blocks (5.4 per game) and steals (7.8 per game). They do take care of the ball, turning the ball over at a rate of just over 14 times per game. They foul a lot and commit on average just over 23 fouls per game.
THE GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS SQUAD
According to ESPN Golden State have multiple absences for tonight, including to star players. The draft number 1 pick James Wiseman (12.2 PPG) is out with a wrist injury. Kevon Looney (3.7 PPG) is out with an ankle injury. Klay Thompson has been out all season following surgery to repair a torn right achilles. Marquese Chriss (6.4 PPG) is out for the season after suffering a broken right leg.
Last game Coach Steve Kerr started Stephen Curry (29.6 PPG), Draymond Green (5 PPG), Kelly Oubre Jr (13.7 PPG), Andrew Wiggins (17.5 PPG) and Juan Toscano-Anderson (6.1 PPG).
From the bench came Damion Lee (6.6 PPG), Kent Bazemore (6.1 PPG), Eric Paschall (9.9 PPG), Brad Wanamaker (4.5 PPG) and Michael Mulder (3.7 PPG).
THE HEAD-TO-HEAD: THE GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
The all time head-to-head record in the 62 regular season games played sees the Magic ahead by 32-30.
Over the past two seasons the Warriors and Magic have split the series 1-1 on both occasions, each winning on home turf. The last meeting was taken by Golden State on January 18th 2020 by a margin of 95-109.
The Magic win on February 28th 2019 in Season 2018-19 was a long overdue one. The 96-103 win for Orlando in the Amway broke a Warriors winning streak over the Magic of 11 consecutive games.
The teams have never met in the playoffs.
THE MAGIC INJURY AND ABSENCE REPORT
For those embracing the tank then the injury report is very favourable. The squad of 17 is now standing at 9 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 (0 PPG) is questionable for tonight after having returned in Portland. Having recovered from knee surgery he played less than 5 minutes before being withdrawn with tight hamstrings.
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.
Evan Fournier (17.8 PPG) is questionable with back spasms.
Cole Anthony (11 PPG) is questionable for tonight with a right shoulder strain, suffered against Portland
THE MAGIC LINE-UP TO FACE A CURRY LED WARRIORS
Any time you face a Curry led Warriors team you need your best defence available. Coach Clifford will not have this.
The starting unit in Portland consisted of Cole Anthony (11 PPG), Dwayne Bacon (9.8 PPG), James Ennis III (6.6 PPG), Gary Clark (3.3 PPG) and Nikola Vucevic (23.3 PPG).
From the bench again came Terrence Ross (14.1 PPG), Khem Birch (6.7 PPG), Chuma Okeke (3.7 PPG), Al-Farouq Aminu (0 PPG) and Frank Mason III (8.3 PPG). Mo Bamba (5.4 PPG) was fit but did not feature in Coach Clifford’s rotations.
Let’s be honest with all the doubt around who is fit any line-up prediction is pure guesswork. However if Cole Anthony is absent Frank Mason III will be Orlando’s only point guard.
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 13th
SEASON RECORD – 9-16
HOME RECORD – 5-8
ROAD RECORD – 4-8
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 – 28TH OF 30 (105.8)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 23RD OF 30 (112.8)
POINTS PER GAME – 28TH OF 30 (104.7)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 19TH OF 30 (112)
RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – 1-10
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 – 6-3
AND WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR LESS – 9-9
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 TO OVERCOME A CURRY LED WARRIORS
Yet again Orlando face rotation issues through injury. Of the strongest starting unit for the Magic only Nikola Vucevic is playing. Tonight could be further complicated by the potential for Cole Anthony being absent. A lot of responsibility could rest on the shoulders of Frank Mason III.
Steph Curry is the threat, everyone knows it but he is still able to score and at times almost without effort. His catch and release is ridiculously fast. He can create his own shot by brilliant handles. He can drive into the paint and score. Curry has scored double figures in every game this season so far, 9 have been performances of 30 points or more.
This is currently Curry’s second best scoring season, averaging 29.6 points per game. It was only bettered in season 2015/16 where he averaged 30.1 per game. Curry leads the League in three point shots made and attempted. He is third in the NBA for field goals made and attempted. He is the League’s leading scorer and is shooting 92.9% from the free throw line.
Our defensive frailty could easily be exposed by this Curry led offence. Oubre and Wiggins are finding form. The bench also contribute to a decent amount.
Orlando are still conceding points from turnovers. The team will again need to reduce their foul count as well.
The Magic do remain struggling on offence. Since the Fultz injury of the 17 games played on 9 occasions Orlando have failed to make 100 points. A further 4 were less than the 110 mark.
Orlando’s best chance lies in the absence of any recognised “big” for Golden State. Could this allow Nikola Vucevic to continue his scoring season. And will Mo Bamba get some playing time?
LET’S GO MAGIC!