It’s game day 4 as our Orlando Magic face OKC. Going against a new look Oklahoma City Thunder will be interesting as Orlando look to hit 4-0.
This game tips off at an unfriendly UK time of 1am (8pm Eastern Time for our friends in Orlando).
To watch the game live or on demand here in the UK you will need an active NBA League Pass subscription.
Orlando faced the Miami Heat in the Amway on opening night. It was a toe-to-toe battle from the opening tip to the final buzzer for a 113-117 victory.
Game Day 2 saw an Orlando victory by 130-120 in Washington. Then on Game Day 3, the second night of the back-to-back Orlando made a stunning 4th quarter comeback in Washington the beat the Wizards again, this time by 120-113.
It can not be overstated how important the bench have been in this start. Khem Birch has added an offensive threat to his game. Michael Carter-Williams is all fight, elite defensively but now contributing with scoring as well. Terrence Ross has started the season all guns blazing, the Human Torch is lit and burning brightly! Cole Anthony has come into the League and found his home instantly. He has brought a much needed spark to the position of back-up point guard. Chuma Okeke is shaking the rust off his game after missing 21 months on the court. When called upon to fill in for Aaron Gordon through foul trouble he stepped up and played well.
Markelle Fultz is becoming a floor general. He is scoring at will in the paint, hitting the occasional 3 and is controlling the Magic tempo.
THE MATCHUP FOR GAME DAY 4 AS ORLANDO MAGIC FACE OKC
This is the second night of a tough back-to-back for OKC, having faced the Jazz last night.
OKC do not look like they did when we last faced them. Their off-season has been very busy and as with many teams that makes them difficult to judge at this stage of the season.
We will look at their squad in a moment but it is fair to say they have quality youth and dangerous veterans. OKC are not fancied to make waves in the West this term, being seen as a team in transition. They are still a strong defensive unit.
Orlando are seeking to make franchise history tonight. The team have never started a season at 4-0.
In this game we will see the battle of run-it-back continuity against reset and restructure as the Orlando Magic face OKC.
GAME DAY 4 OPPONENTS – OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
Now to our opponents for game day 4; the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Last season OKC had a record of 44-28 and finished 5th in the Western Conference. OKC were eliminated 4-3 in the West Conference Playoffs First Round by the Houston Rockets. They were 16th in NBA for offensive rating and 7th in defence.
This is as we said before now a very different team.
OKC hold a 1-1 record so far this season and sit 10th in the West. They opened their season on the road in Charlotte, beating the Hornets 109-107. They then lost 110-109 at home to Utah. This sees them 22nd in the offensive ratings (106.2) and 9th defensively (105.7).
Against the Jazz last night they used a starting line-up of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Darius Bazley, Luguentz Dort, Al Horford and George Hill.
From the bench came Hamidou Diallo, Theo Maledon, Mike Muscala, Aleksej Pokusevski and Kenrich Williams.
According to ESPN listed as out are Trevor Ariza and Ty Jerome.
AS ORLANDO MAGIC FACE OKC – THE HEAD-TO-HEAD
Last season the Magic were swept by the Thunder 2-0.
Orlando have lost the last 5 meetings, though all were close results. Each of those games have been won by 10 points or less.
The all time regular season record sees 62 games played, with the Magic trailing 23-39.
These two teams have never met in the playoffs.
THE MAGIC LINE UP
Jonathan Isaac and Al-Farouq Aminu will both again be absent being long term injuries and out indefinitely.
James Ennis is listed on ESPN as being day-to-day and not expected to feature tonight.
Mo Bamba has been active in full contact drills and nears a return to action.
Coach Clifford has opened the season with a consistent starting line-up of Markelle Fultz (18 PPG), Evan Fournier (19 PPG), Aaron Gordon (17.5 PPG), Dwayne Bacon (3 PPG) and Nikola Vucevic (18.5 PPG).
From the bench will come Cole Anthony (7.5 PPG), Michael Carter-Williams (6 PPG), Terrence Ross (22 PPG), Chum Okeke (3 PPG), Khem Birch (7 PPG) and possibly Gary Clark (0 PPG). Two way players Jordan Bone (0 PPG) and Karim Mane (0 PPG) will also be available.
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
Let’s get these rolling early this season. As the season goes on it gives us an idea of where our successes and issues are; and focus needs to be.
- EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 2nd
- SEASON RECORD – 3-0
- HOME RECORD – 1-0
- ROAD RECORD – 2-0
- RECORD LEADING AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER – We are still to lead at the end of an opening quarter this season!
- WHEN LEADING AT HALF TIME – 3-0
- AND WHEN LEADING GOING INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER – 1-0
- NBA OFFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 5TH OF 30 (115.1)
- NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 13TH OF 30 (107.8)
- OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 16TH OF 30 (113.3)
- RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – N/A
- WHEN SCORING 110 POINTS OR MORE – 3-0
- AND WHEN SCORING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 2-0
- RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 100 POINTS OR LESS – N/A
- WHEN CONCEDING 110 POINTS OR LESS – 1-0
- AND WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR LESS – 3-0
- HIGHEST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 130 – GAME DAY 2 VS WASHINGTON WIZARDS
- LEAST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 113 – GAME DAY 1 VS MIAMI HEAT
- MOST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 120 – GAME DAY 2 VS WASHINGTON WIZARDS
- LEAST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 107 – GAME DAY 1 VS MIAMI HEAT
PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
Over recent episodes of Penny For Your Thoughts we have looked to the new season, talked about the Magic squad and a lot besides!
In the latest episode we looked at game day 4 and what’s in store as the Orlando Magic face OKC.
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KEYS TO GAME DAY 4
A lot of what was written about the Washington games holds true here tonight.
Orlando have strong continuity, OKC have seen a lot of changes. Chemistry and understanding may be an issue at this stage of the season for them.
In the opening games of the season OKC’s scoring has come by some majority from their starters. If we can keep a lid on Gilgeous-Alexander (24 PPG), Dort (15 PPG), Horford (3 PPG), Hill (21 PPG) and Muscala (14 PPG) then the game is there for the taking.
Once again the Magic depth from the bench could be telling.
We all know OKC can defend. To take the W Orlando will need to be sharp on both ends of the floor.
A solid Magic defensive game is the platform we build victory from. We are built to be a defence first team and have players to get stops. In forcing turnovers from opponents, limiting points from our own turnovers and by rebounding effectively Orlando have made a start few genuinely expected.
The offence Coach Clifford has Orlando playing is now one of the fastest paces in the NBA (5th). Anyone who watched Orlando last season knows that this style is suited to Markelle Fultz, who is growing each game into a point guard to be feared.
OKC will not roll over and expect them to fight. This is not a game we can guarantee a win from but it is one we can win.
WE ALWAYS BELIEVE IN OUR TEAM!
LET’S GO MAGIC!