The Magic head to San Antonio tonight to take on the Spurs on Game Day 38. This is the second night of a back-to-back for Orlando.
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The tip time is shown on the NBA app and Orlando Magic website as being 2:00am here in the UK (9:00pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
THE MATCHUP – THE MAGIC HEAD TO SAN ANTONIO
This is the second game back after All-Star for both teams. The Spurs lost to the Mavericks in Dallas 104-115 on Wednesday night. DeMar DeRozan led the team with 30 points and 11 assists. Five others made double figure scoring.
The Magic took a sixth consecutive loss by 103-111 to the Heat last night in Miami. Orlando had battled throughout the game, winning the first and third quarters. Late in the final quarter the game slipped away as Jimmy Butler showed his ability to carry a team with 27 points, 8 rebounds, 11 assists and 3 steals. Orlando was again led by Nikola Vucevic hitting 24 points and 17 rebounds. That stat saw Vooch secure his 25th double-double of the season. This was a better performance for long periods especially being so shorthanded. Aaron Gordon looked effective in his return, being on a minutes restriction. The only other players scoring in double figures was Dwayne Bacon (21 points) and Michael Carter-Williams (17 points).
The Spurs have won 9 of 19 games at home this season. Orlando have won 5 of 17 games on the road. Season records see Orlando at 13-24, whilst San Antonio are 18-15. Across the last 10 games that each team has played Orlando have a 3-7 record, whilst San Antonio are 5-5. Orlando have now lost their last six games, whilst the Spurs have lost their last 2.
San Antonio are holding the 7th seed position in the Western Conference, Orlando are 14th in the Eastern Conference. Orlando have the 4th worst record in the NBA.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE SAN ANTONIO SPURS
The Spurs come into the game as the NBA’s 20th ranked offensive team, scoring 110.8 points per game. A defensive rating at 11th sees them conceding an average of 111.1 points per game.
Offensively they are yet another team happy to play a patient game and use all of the shot clock. They can and will attack at pace where the opportunity presents. Scoring wise 54.9% comes from inside the paint. 30.1% of their points per game come from beyond the arc, though this figure has been greater over recent games. They shoot 45.6% from the field and 36.5% with the 3 ball. Assists per game are greater than that of the Magic at 25 per game, Orlando average 22.7.
Defensively they block 4.8 times per game, whilst stealing the ball 7.4 per game. They turn the ball over at a league low rate of only 11.2 times per game. On average they foul 17.5 times per game, only Orlando foul less in the NBA at 16.9 times per game. The Spurs are not a dominant offensive rebounding team, probably rising from their high scoring percentage in the paint rather than relying on the three ball. However defensively they are a rebounding force, only bettered 5 teams in the league, including Orlando.
THE SAN ANTONIO SPURS SQUAD
San Antonio’s Head Coach is the ever excellent and NBA legend Gregg Popovich. He used a starting line-up of DeMar DeRozan (20.3 PPG), Dejounte Murray (15.6 PPG), Jakob Poeltl (6.5 PPG), Derrick White (11.1 PPG) and Keldon Johnson (14 PPG). That starting unit can all carry their share of scoring.
From the bench came Patty Mills (13.3 PPG), Rudy Gay (11.2 PPG), Lonnie Walker IV (11.3 PPG), Drew Eubanks (3.5 PPG) and Trey Lyles (5.5 PPG). Playing throw away seconds late in the game were Luka Samanic (4.2 PPG), Keita Bates Diop (2.4 PPG) and Tre Jones (1.5 PPG).
According to their injury report on ESPN DeMar DeRozan is a doubt being day-to-day. LaMarcus Aldridge (13.7 PPG) is definitely out and away from the team indefinitely until a resolution is reached after the team and he agreed to part ways.
THE HEAD-TO-HEAD: THE SAN ANTONIO SPURS
This will be the first meeting this season.
We met twice last season, the series being tied 1-1. The Spurs won the last matchup on February 29th 2020 in San Antonio by 113-114. Over the past 4 seasons the series has been tied 1-1 on each occasion. From January 2012 to the end of the 2015-16 season San Antonio won 10 games straight!
The all time head-to-head record in the 63 regular season games played sees the Magic behind by 19-44.
These teams have never met in the playoffs.
THE MAGIC INJURY AND ABSENCE REPORT
For those embracing the tank the injury report is still favourable!
As I write the injury report has just been updated on ESPN:
Evan Fournier (18.5 PPG) is listed as day-to-day. He missed the Miami game after suffering a left groin strain in the Dallas defeat and will not feature again tonight.
Aaron Gordon (13.6 PPG) though returned on a minutes restriction, playing 14 minutes in Miami will not feature in the second night of a back-to-back.
James Ennis III (7.3 PPG) is out with a calf injury.
Terrence Ross (15.5 PPG) is listed as day-to-day with knee soreness. He will not feature tonight having also missed the Miami game.
Cole Anthony (11 PPG) remains out with a non-displaced rib fracture.
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 with the Lakeland Magic, though should return to the team soon. The NBA G-League season finished last night with the Lakeland Magic winning the title.
THE ORLANDO LINE-UP AS THE MAGIC HEAD TO SAN ANTONIO
The starting unit against Miami was Michael Carter-Williams (9.4 PPG), Al-Farouq Aminu (4.7 PPG), Aaron Gordon (13.6 PPG), Dwayne Bacon (10.4 PPG) and Nikola Vucevic (24.6 PPG).
From the bench came Chasson Randle (5.7 PPG), Chuma Okeke (4.5 PPG), Khem Birch (5.8 PPG), Mo Bamba (4.9 PPG) and Gary Clark (3.5 PPG).
With Gordon now out a change will again be made. Perhaps tonight Chuma Okeke steps into the starting lineup? Khem Birch is the alternative.
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 14th
SEASON RECORD – 13-24
HOME RECORD – 8-12
ROAD RECORD – 5-12
NBA OFFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 26TH OF 30 (106.2)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 19TH OF 30 (112.9)
POINTS PER GAME – 28TH OF 30 (105.5)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 16TH OF 30 (112.2)
RECORDS WHEN LEADING AND SCORING
RECORD LEADING AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER – 6-6
WHEN LEADING AT HALF TIME – 11-3
AND WHEN LEADING GOING INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER – 9-2
RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – 1-13
WHEN SCORING 100 TO 109 POINTS – 4-7
WHEN SCORING 110 TO 119 POINTS OR MORE – 3-3
AND WHEN SCORING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 5-1
RECORDS FOR CONCEDING THIS SEASON
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 100 POINTS OR LESS – 5-1
WHEN CONCEDING 100 TO 109 POINTS – 3-4
AND WHEN CONCEDING 110 TO 119 POINTS – 3-8
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 2-10
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 THE MAGIC HEAD TO SAN ANTONIO
As the Magic head to San Antonio tonight Coach Clifford will be looking at Orlando’s injuries knowing they are still impacting. With four starters, the leading scorer from the bench, a solid role player and the back-up point guard all absent this will again be a team playing with what it has available. Every opposition scout knows that the Magic scoring threat is from Vucevic for Orlando. Others must take the opportunities presented to them. Michael Carter-Williams is certainly playing his part.
A winning 3 game run has been replaced by 6 consecutive losses and Orlando are in danger of becoming adrift in the standings. If you embrace the tank then that is great news. With a universally accepted tough schedule to the second half of the season now underway Orlando must find form very quickly if they aim to compete. They have of late been competing with some top teams before falling away late.
You can guarantee that San Antonio under Coach Pop will be well organised, play a tenacious defensive game and have scoring throughout the team. Whilst DeRozan is the obvious focal point for the offence he is supported by a cast of players who show that the team can be greater than the individual parts. Orlando will need to be aware of those threats as the Spurs are a team who share the offensive load. Defence of the paint will be key.
For Orlando scoring is again a must. Statistics clearly show that if we hit less than 100 points then we almost certainly lose. To be in with a strong chance Orlando must reach at least 110 points. Points from the free throw line could be at a premium with the low rate each team foul at. Orlando must avoid getting into foul trouble and must limit live ball turnovers.
As in Miami the game could revolve around which defence performs best.