Tonight the Golden State Warriors visit the Amway to take on the Orlando Magic. This game will see a Magic team aiming to build a winning run as we head closer towards the All-Star break.
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The tip time is shown on the NBA app and Orlando Magic website as being a 12:00 midnight here in the UK (7pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
THE MATCHUP AS THE GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS VISIT
Golden State last played on Wednesday night on homecourt in San Francisco. In that game the Warriors won 112-120, beating the Miami Heat. This was a game the Golden State did not have a lead in until overtime was being played. Stephen Curry scored 25 points and was one of four players to make double figure scoring. Kent Bazemore led the team in scoring, coming from the bench to tally 26 points.
The Magic added a win to the season tally, taking down the New York Knicks 89-107 also on Wednesday night. Orlando had a strong team performance in a game where they had 11 fit and available players. The game saw a Magic debut for Chasson Randle as the back-up point guard. The team was led by Terrence Ross who gave it everything on both ends of the court. T-Ross scored a season high as he hit 30 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. Nikola Vucevic had 16 points and 16 rebounds for his 20th double-double of the season.
The Warriors have won 5 of 12 games on the road this season. Orlando have won 6 of 14 games at home in the Amway. Season records see Orlando at 11-18, whilst Golden State are 16-13. Across the last 10 games that each team has played the Warriors have a 6-4 record, whilst Orlando are 3-7. Golden State have won their last two games, Orlando the one.
Since Markelle Fultz got injured Orlando have played twenty one games and have only five victories. That run of results sees Orlando 12th in the Eastern Conference. As injuries ease this could improve rapidly.
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 7th in the Western Conference. They have recently been playing without a centre through those injuries. Draymond Green had been playing at the 5 but was absent against Miami.
The Warriors surprisingly come into the game as the NBA’s 20th ranked offensive team, scoring an average of 114.7 points per game. With a defensive rating of 5th and conceding an average of 112.8 points per game Coach Steve Kerr has the back line well organised.
Offensively they play at a very fast pace, 2nd in the NBA. Scoring wise 37.7% 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. Golden State also move the ball and rate second in the NBA for assists, with 27.6 per game.
Defensively they rate well in blocks (5.4 per game) and steals (7.7 per game). They do take care of the ball, turning the ball over at a rate of 14.5 times per game. They foul a lot and commit on average the most fouls per game in the NBA at just over 22.3 fouls per game. Orlando by contrast foul only 17.1 times per game, the best record in the NBA.
THE GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS SQUAD
According to ESPN Golden State again have multiple absences and doubts 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. Finally Draymond Green (5.2 PPG) is questionable for tonight with an ankle injury.
Last game Coach Steve Kerr started Stephen Curry (30 PPG), Kelly Oubre Jr (14.2 PPG), Andrew Wiggins (17.7 PPG), Juan Toscano-Anderson (6.6 PPG) and Michael Mulder (4.3 PPG)
From the bench came Damion Lee (6.2 PPG), Kent Bazemore (7 PPG), Eric Paschall (10 PPG) and Brad Wanamaker (4.5 PPG).
THE HEAD-TO-HEAD: THE GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
The all time head-to-head record in the 63 regular season games played sees the Magic ahead by 32-31.
Orlando and Golden State have played once this season on Game Day 26 (11th February). That night Orlando could not handle a red hot Curry and lost 105-11.
Over the past two seasons the Warriors and Magic have split the series 1-1 on both occasions, each winning on home turf.
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
The injury report is hugely improved after Al-Farouq Aminu and Evan Fournier both returned.
As I write this the squad of 17 is now standing at potentially 12 fit players and one absent.
According to ESPN:
James Ennis III (7.3 PPG) is day-to-day with a right groin strain. He is expected to play tonight.
Cole Anthony (11 PPG) is now out until after All Star after it was revealed he has a non-displaced rib fracture. Previously it had been reported as being out with a right shoulder strain suffered against Portland. It is unclear if this was a misdiagnosis, an additional injury or not publicised by Orlando previously.
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.
Karim Mane (1.2 PPG) is absent to be with the Lakeland Magic. The NBA G-League season began on February 10th in a “bubble” at Walt Disney World.
THE MAGIC LINE-UP FOR A GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS VISIT
Coach Clifford will still be consulting his medical staff ahead of the game.
The starting unit against New York consisted of Michael Carter-Williams (7.7 PPG), Dwayne Bacon (10.7 PPG), Evan Fournier (17.9 PPG), Gary Clark (3.4 PPG) and Nikola Vucevic (23.4 PPG).
From the bench came Terrence Ross (15.3 PPG), Chasson Randle (2 PPG), Khem Birch (6.7 PPG), Chuma Okeke (4.3 PPG), Al-Farouq Aminu (1.5 PPG) and Mo Bamba (4.8 PPG).
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 12th
SEASON RECORD – 11-18
HOME RECORD – 6-8
ROAD RECORD – 5-10
RECORD LEADING AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER – 4-2
WHEN LEADING AT HALF TIME – 9-2
AND WHEN LEADING GOING INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER – 8-1
NBA OFFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 28TH OF 30 (105.8)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 16TH OF 30 (111.9)
POINTS PER GAME – 28TH OF 30 (104.9)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 8TH OF 30 (111)
RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – 1-11
WHEN SCORING MORE THAN 100 POINTS – 10-7
WHEN SCORING 110 POINTS OR MORE – 7-2
AND WHEN SCORING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 4-0
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 100 POINTS OR LESS – 4-1
WHEN CONCEDING 110 POINTS OR LESS – 7-4
AND WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR LESS – 11-11
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
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KEYS TO THE GAME FOR THE GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS VISIT
Stephen Curry is the threat, as everyone knows. His catch and release is ridiculously fast. He creates his own shot by brilliant handles. He can drive into the paint and score. In every game this season he has scored double figures, 14 have been performances of 30 points or more. Season highs of 62 and 57 points, Curry also hit 40 points against us last week (including making 10 from three point distance).
This is Curry’s second best scoring season, averaging 30 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 second for field goals made and leads the attempts. He is the leading point scorer and is shooting 93.5% from the free throw line.
Our defensive play has improved since we last faced Golden State. A Curry led offence will be a test for that new focus. Oubre and Wiggins are in good form. Bazemore, Paschall and Toscano-Wiseman contribute well.
However this is an improving Magic team. Team and player statistics are all on the upward trajectory. Depleted the Magic fought the Warriors in the last match-up to the end. Injury issues have eased and important players returned. Orlando have played 3 games since that meeting, winning two.
Magic struggles on offence remain. Since the Fultz injury of the 21 games played. On 10 occasions Orlando have failed to make 100 points, with a further 6 less than the 110 mark.
Orlando’s best chance lies in the absence of any recognised “big” for the Golden State Warriors visit. If Draymond Green is to be absent Nikola Vucevic should see good opportunities to continue his scoring season. Green played a solid game in the last match-up.
LET’S GO MAGIC!