Orlando travel to Brooklyn to face a marauding Nets team on Game Day 33. This will not be an easy task for the Magic tonight.
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The tip time is shown on the NBA app and Orlando Magic website as being a 12:30am here in the UK (7:30pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
THE MATCHUP AS ORLANDO TRAVEL TO BROOKLYN
Brooklyn last played on Tuesday night at home to the Sacramento Kings. In that game the Nets won 118-127. All five starters for Brooklyn made double figure scoring. James Harden led the team with 29 points,11 rebounds, 14 assists and a steal for an impressive triple double. Bruce Brown scored 29 and Kyrie Irving 21.
The Magic took a very disappointing loss in the Amway to the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night by 105-93. The team was led by Nikola Vucevic who was celebrating becoming a second time NBA All-Star. Vooch hit 20 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, plus 2 blocks. No one on the team played to their full. Further scoring was again carried by Evan Fournier, Terrence Ross and Michael Carter-Williams. The performance was not a confidence booster before Orlando travel to Brooklyn to face one of the league’s best.
The Nets have won 12 of 17 games at home this season. Orlando have won 5 of 15 games on the road. Season records see Orlando at 13-19, whilst Brooklyn are 21-12. Across the last 10 games that each team has played the Nets have a 7-3 record, whilst Orlando are 5-5. Brooklyn have won their last seven games, Orlando had been on a 3 game winning stretch prior to the Detroit defeat.
Results see Brooklyn 2nd and Orlando 12th in the Eastern Conference. The Eastern Conference is very tight. Indiana are 4th with a 15-15 record, whilst Cleveland are 14th with a 12-21 record.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE BROOKLYN NETS
Last season saw Brooklyn finish with 35-37 record, being 7th in the Eastern Conference. They were swept in the NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs first round by the Toronto Raptors. The Nets changed things up and brought in Coach Steve Nash and Mike D’Antoni as Assistant Coach. They made further changes with the blockbusting James Harden trade. This is a win now team.
The Nets come into the game as the NBA’s top ranked offensive team, scoring a league leading average of 121.2 points per game. A defensive rating at 26th sees them conceding an average of 117 points per game. There is a philosophy of not worrying about conceding points so long as they are scoring big.
Offensively they play at a fast pace, 8th in the NBA. Scoring wise 37.4% of their points per game come from beyond the arc, whilst 47.3% is from inside the paint. They shoot a league leading 50.1% from the field and 40.6% with the 3 ball. Brooklyn have the league’s third best rate for assists, with 26.9 per game.
Defensively they rate well in blocks (5.5 per game) but less so for steals (6.5 per game). They turn the ball over at a rate of 14.5 times per game. They foul on average 19.3 times per game. Orlando by contrast foul only 17.1 times per game, the second best record in the NBA..
THE BROOKLYN NETS SQUAD
Coach Steve Nash has talent and star power to use. Unfortunately for the Nets one part of it is absent, namely Kevin Durant (29 PPG) due to a hamstring injury. Also out is Spencer Dinwiddie (6.7 PPG). Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (7.3 PPG) is probable for tonight. Jeff Green (9.4 PPG) and Landry Shamet (7.3 PPG) are both questionable.
Last time out on Wednesday Brooklyn started James Harden (25 PPG), Kyrie Irving (27.4 PPG), DeAndre Jordan (7.5 PPG), Joe Harris (15.1 PPG) and Bruce Brown (7.5 PPG).
From the bench came Tyler Johnson (4.6 PPG), Andre Roberson (0 PPG), Nicolas Claxton (5 PPG) Landry Shamet (7.3 PPG) and Iman Shumpet (2 PPG). Chris Chiozza (3.2 PPG) and Noah Vonleh (0 PPG) are also available.
THE HEAD-TO-HEAD: BROOKLYN NETS
The first meeting this season between the two teams saw James Harden make his Brooklyn debut. A shorthanded Orlando, on the second night of a back-to-back fell by 115-122.
Orlando played the Nets on four occasions last season taking the series 3-1. In the Amway on January 6th, Orlando won by 89-101. Then on February 24th the Magic won in a brilliant comeback win 115-113 on the road. On July 31st in the bubble Orlando won 128-118, with great ball movement & efficiency. The two teams met again in the bubble on August 11th, Brooklyn securing a 96-108 victory.
Across the 118 regular season games played the Magic lead 66-52. Since season 2015-16, in the 19 games played Orlando have 11 wins.
The teams have never met in the playoffs.
THE MAGIC INJURY AND ABSENCE REPORT
The injury report is now down to only 4 players, granted they are all important pieces to the team.
According to ESPN:
Cole Anthony (11 PPG) is now out until after All Star with a non-displaced rib fracture.
Aaron Gordon (13.8 PPG) was set to miss 4 to 6 weeks from February 1st with a severe left ankle sprain.
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.
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 AS THE DETROIT PISTONS VISIT
Coach Clifford will again have 12 players to chose from for the game.
The starting unit against Detroit consisted of Michael Carter-Williams (7.6 PPG), Al-Farouq Aminu (3.4 PPG), Evan Fournier (18.8 PPG), James Ennis III (6.9 PPG) and Nikola Vucevic (23.9 PPG).
From the bench came Terrence Ross (15.6 PPG), Chasson Randle (4.5 PPG), , Chuma Okeke (4.7 PPG), Dwayne Bacon (10.2 PPG) and Khem Birch (6.3 PPG). Neither Mo Bamba (4.7 PPG) nor Gary Clark (3.4 PPG) featured but were available.
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 12th
SEASON RECORD – 13-19
HOME RECORD – 8-9
ROAD RECORD – 5-10
NBA OFFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 28TH OF 30 (105.8)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 14TH OF 30 (111.3)
POINTS PER GAME – 28TH OF 30 (105.2)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 9TH OF 30 (110.7)
WHEN LEADING AND SCORING
RECORD LEADING AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER – 6-2
WHEN LEADING AT HALF TIME – 11-2
AND WHEN LEADING GOING INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER – 9-1
RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – 1-12
WHEN SCORING MORE THAN 100 POINTS – 12-7
WHEN SCORING 110 POINTS OR MORE – 8-2
AND WHEN SCORING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 5-0
RECORDS FOR CONCEDING THIS SEASON
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 100 POINTS OR LESS – 5-1
WHEN CONCEDING 110 POINTS OR LESS – 8-5
AND WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR LESS – 12-12
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 2-7
LEAST AND LARGEST ON THE SEASON
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 GAMES AS ORLANDO TRAVEL TO BROOKLYN
To start no Magic fan is under any illusion that with the squads the two teams have Brooklyn have a huge edge. That is the case today with injuries and if both teams were fully fit. Brooklyn certainly have more capacity to absorb an injury to a star player.
As Orlando travel to Brooklyn many fans of both teams see the game as a foregone conclusion but neither coach will be seeing that.
Orlando scoring is a key, hit less than 100 points and we almost certainly lose. Therefore it is essential for Orlando to see others take on some of the scoring duties that currently Vucevic, Fournier, Ross and Carter-Williams are shouldering.
The Magic have to find better energy, ball movement and shooting accuracy than last time out. The team can not afford to have the fouls or turnovers that were present.
Coach Clifford will be planning for James Harden and Kyrie Irving. They are not the only threats. Joe Harris and Bruce Brown are both capable scorers. The bench has depth.
Brooklyn have turned the Barclays Centre into a fortress this season. They will move the ball, they will play fast and they will shoot the three. Defence will be where Orlando must build from to be in with a shout in this game.