The Kings in Sacramento await an undermanned Orlando Magic. The game will be tough for a tired Magic team on the second night of a back-to-back.
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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 THE KINGS IN SACRAMENTO
A rested Sacramento team have not played since Tuesday, a home court loss to the Philadelphia 76ers by 119-111. De’Aron Fox scored 34 points and Buddy Hield 21. A total of 5 Kings’ players made double figure scoring.
In San Francisco last night the Magic fell to another defeat by 105-111 to the Golden State Warriors. Orlando had no answer to the scoring of Stephen Curry, with 40 points including 10 three pointers. Orlando were led by Nikola Vucevic again, taking 25 points and 13 rebounds, his 18th double-double of the season. In truth though Vooch could and probably should have scored more. The night was marred for the Magic by the loss of our last point guard on 5 minutes played. Frank Mason III limped from the court with a groin strain.
The Kings have won 7 of 14 games at home in the Golden 1 Center this season. Orlando have won 4 of 13 games on the road. Season records see Orlando at 9-17, whilst Sacramento are 12-12. Across the last 10 games that each team has played the Kings have a 7-3 record, whilst Orlando are 2-8. The Magic are on a 3 game losing streak, whilst Sacramento just their last outing.
Since Markelle Fultz got injured Orlando have played eighteen games and have only three victories. That run of results sees Orlando 13th in the Eastern Conference.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE SACRAMENTO KINGS
Sacramento come into the game as the NBA’s 10th ranked offensive team, scoring an average of 113.6 points per game. The Kings are ranked defensively at 29th, conceding 118.2 points per game. That stat line is vastly improved from when we last met on Game Day 19 on January 27th.
Offensively they play at a decent pace, but are happy to be patient to get their shot. They shoot above 47% from the field and 37.3% from the 3. Almost 52% of the Kings points come in the paint and 33% from beyond the arc.
Defensively they rate highly for blocks. They concede in equal measure from both the paint and beyond the arc. The Kings take care of the ball and turn it over at a low rate, almost identical to that of Orlando per game. They commit on average 20 fouls per game.
THE SACRAMENTO KINGS SQUAD
Last time out Coach Luke Walton started De’Aaron Fox (23.4 PPG), Richaun Holmes (12.9 PPG), Harrison Barnes (16.7 PPG), Marvin Bagley III (12.5 PPG) and Buddy Hield (16.1 PPG).
From the bench came Cory Joseph (5.6 PPG), Tyrese Haliburton (12.9 PPG), Glenn Robinson III (5.5 PPG), Hassan Whiteside (7.2 PPG) and Kyle Guy (3.1 PPG).
Nemanja Bjelica (6.6 PPG) is a further option now returning from injury. Jabari Parker (0 PPG) has not yet featured this season.
According to ESPN the Kings have only one injury issue. DaQuan Jeffries (0 PPG) (ankle) is possible to return having now been involved in practices.
THE HEAD-TO-HEAD: SACRAMENTO KINGS
The all time head-to-head record in the 63 regular season games played sees the Magic losing by 29-34.
The teams have already met in the Amway this season on January 17th, game day 19. The Kings took the win 121-107. They led from start to finish on the back of 29 points from Buddy Hield and 21 points from Harrison Barnes.
Last season the Magic took an overdue pair of wins, to take the series 2-0. On January 13th 2020 Orlando won on the road by 114-112. The win was secured by a clutch 3 pointer from Aaron Gordon with 1.1 seconds remaining. In the Bubble on August 2nd Orlando won 116-132.
The Kings had won the previous 5 meetings.
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. As I write this through the time difference the squad of 17 is now standing at 8 fit players and one absent. That is not enough to play an NBA game, where 9 fit players are required.
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 having been questionable.
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.
Frank Mason III (6.3 PPG) left the Golden State game with a right groin strain and did not return.
THE MAGIC LINE-UP TO FACE THE KINGS IN SACRAMENTO
Coach Clifford will be heavily consulting his medical staff ahead of the game.
The starting unit against Golden State consisted of Frank Mason III (6.3 PPG), Dwayne Bacon (10.2 PPG), James Ennis III (7.1 PPG), Gary Clark (3.2 PPG) and Nikola Vucevic (23.3 PPG).
From the bench again came Terrence Ross (14.3 PPG), Khem Birch (6.8 PPG), Chuma Okeke (4.2 PPG) and Mo Bamba (5.4 PPG).
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 13th
SEASON RECORD – 9-17
HOME RECORD – 5-8
ROAD RECORD – 4-9
RECORD LEADING AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER – 4-2
WHEN LEADING AT HALF TIME – 8-2
AND WHEN LEADING GOING INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER – 6-1
NBA OFFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 28TH OF 30 (105.5)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 22ND OF 30 (112.7)
POINTS PER GAME – 28TH OF 30 (104.7)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 18TH OF 30 (111.9)
RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – 1-10
WHEN SCORING MORE THAN 100 POINTS – 8-7
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 – 9-10
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 WITH THE KINGS IN SACRAMENTO
Let’s start by being honest here. If this game goes ahead (and it is likely to) Orlando’s depleted squad means there is little Coach Clifford can do to truly affect the game. There is no luxury of looking along the bench and having 10 bodies to chose from. Those available will be tired. Okeke, Vucevic, Ennis and Bacon all played in excess of 35 minutes. Ross played for almost 41 minutes. The players can give no more effort than they gave last night, only their offensive accuracy could improve.
Orlando have to try to find a way to slow the scoring of Fox and Hield. Fox is tied 15th for field goals made this season, 204 made of 428 attempted, 158 of 299 attempted have been from inside the paint. He is also getting to the free throw line a lot, 158 attempts on the season and made 108 of them. He can also pass the ball and has 160 assists on the season so far. Hield is third in the NBA for three point field goals made, 94 made of 252 attempted.
It would not be a surprise to see all Sacramento’s defensive attention focused on both Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross. Without a true point guard for Orlando it would be sensible for Coach Walton to have his time apply full court pressure on the Magic as it will lead to turnovers.
The Magic do remain struggling on offence. Since the Fultz injury of the 18 games played on 9 occasions Orlando have failed to make 100 points. A further 5 were less than the 110 mark.