It is Game Day 41 for the Magic as the Nets arrive in Orlando. This is the second night of a back-to-back for Orlando, having lost last night in New York to the Knicks.
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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 (8:00pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
THE MATCHUP AS THE NETS ARRIVE IN ORLANDO
The Nets last played on Wednesday night, winning on the road over the Indiana Pacers 124-115. James Harden carried the Nets with a triple double, as he scored 40 points, 10 rebounds and 15 assists. Six other Brooklyn players made double figure scoring, being Joe Harris, Bruce Brown, DeAndre Jordan, Tyler Johnson, Jeff Green and Nicolas Claxton.
Orlando’s last game saw the Magic lose by 93-94 to the Knicks in New York last night. Both Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon returned for Orlando. Fournier led all scorers with 23 points but was responsible for an error seeing him lose possession to seal the defeat in the final seconds. Nikola Vucevic had another double-double with 17 points and 16 rebounds.
The Nets have won 12 of 19 games on the road this season. Orlando have won 8 of 21 games in the Amway. Season records see Orlando at 13-27, whilst Brooklyn are 28-13. Across the last 10 games that each team has played the Nets have a 9-1 record, whilst Orlando are 1-9. The Magic are deep into a losing streak now standing at 9 games, whilst Brooklyn have won their last 6.
That run of results sees Orlando 14th in the Eastern Conference, whilst the Nets are 2nd.
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 Head Coach Steve Nash and Mike D’Antoni as Assistant Coach. They made further changes with the blockbusting James Harden trade, also adding Blake Griffin recently. 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 120.6 points per game. A defensive rating at 25th sees them conceding an average of 115.3 points per game. At this moment their philosophy is of not worrying about conceding points so long as they are scoring big.
Offensively they play at a relatively fast pace, 11th in the NBA. Scoring wise 37.2% of their points per game come from beyond the arc, whilst 47.7% is from inside the paint. They shoot a league leading 50.1% from the field and 40.4% with the 3 ball. Brooklyn have the league’s fourth best rate for assists, with 26.9 per game.
Defensively they rate well in blocks (5.3 per game) but less so for steals (6.5 per game). They turn the ball over at a rate of 14.4 times per game. They foul on average 19.1 times per game. Orlando by contrast foul only 16.9 times per game, the best record in the NBA.
THE BROOKLYN NETS SQUAD
Coach Steve Nash has talent and star power to use in abundance. Unfortunately for the Nets one part of it is absent, namely Kevin Durant (29 PPG) due to a hamstring injury. Also out are Spencer Dinwiddie (6.7 PPG) and Blake Griffin (12.3 PPG). Kyrie Irving (27.6 PPG) is probable for tonight after a groin injury.
Last time out on Wednesday Brooklyn started James Harden (25.5 PPG), Joe Harris (14.7 PPG), Landry Shamet (8 PPG), DeAndre Jordan (7.6 PPG) and Bruce Brown (8.3 PPG).
From the bench came Tyler Johnson (5.2 PPG), Jeff Green (9.9 PPG), Nicolas Claxton (8.8 PPG) and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (6.8 PPG). Chris Chiozza (3.5 PPG) is also available.
THE HEAD-TO-HEAD: BROOKLYN NETS
As the Nets arrive in Orlando tonight this will be the third meeting of the season. The first meeting saw James Harden make his Brooklyn debut. A shorthanded Orlando, on the second night of a back-to-back fell by 115-122. On game day 33 Orlando fell by 92-129 in Brooklyn to a red hot Nets team. Brooklyn secured their 8th consecutive win as Kyrie Irving and James Harden controlled that game.
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 119 regular season games played the Magic lead 66-53. Since season 2015-16, in the 20 games played Orlando have 11 wins.
The 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 not been updated on ESPN. The final injury report last night read as so:
James Ennis III (7.3 PPG) was out with a calf injury.
Michael Carter-Williams (9.2 PPG) was ruled out of the New York game late with an undisclosed non COVID related illness.
Terrence Ross (16 PPG) was listed as day-to-day with knee soreness. He was ruled out of the New York game.
Cole Anthony (11 PPG) remained out with a non-displaced rib fracture. He is said not to be close to returning yet having only recently began light shooting practice.
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 for a torn ACL.
Karim Mane (1.2 PPG) has been absent with the Lakeland Magic and could return to the team soon. The NBA G-League season finished on last Thursday with the Lakeland Magic winning the title.
THE LINE-UP AS THE NETS ARRIVE IN ORLANDO
The starting unit against New York last night was the 18th used by Orlando this season. Chasson Randle (5.4 PPG) made his first start for Orlando, joining a returning Evan Fournier (18.7 PPG) and Aaron Gordon (13.7 PPG). The line up was completed by Al-Farouq Aminu (4.6 PPG)and Nikola Vucevic (24.8 PPG).
From the bench came Dwayne Bacon (10.4 PPG), Khem Birch (5.5 PPG), Okeke (4.6 PPG) and Mo Bamba (4.7 PPG). Gary Clark (3.5 PPG) was available but did not feature.
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 14th
SEASON RECORD – 13-27
HOME RECORD – 8-13
ROAD RECORD – 5-14
NBA OFFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 27TH OF 30 (105.4)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 17TH OF 30 (112.4)
POINTS PER GAME – 29TH OF 30 (104.3)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 12TH OF 30 (111.2)
RECORDS WHEN LEADING AND SCORING
RECORD LEADING AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER – 6-8
WHEN LEADING AT HALF TIME – 11-3
AND WHEN LEADING GOING INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER – 9-3
RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – 1-16
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 – 5-2
WHEN CONCEDING 100 TO 109 POINTS – 3-6
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 WASHINGTON WIZARDS
LEAST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 77 – GAME DAY 38 SAN ANTONIO SPURS
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 AS THE NETS ARRIVE IN ORLANDO
As the Nets arrive in Orlando tonight Coach Clifford will firstly be waiting on his injury updates. It remains that Orlando have huge absences that results in them playing as a team with what it has available. Far from ideal when facing the scoring juggernaut that Brooklyn has become (and their associated bandwagon fans). Defence will be where Orlando must build from to be in with a shout of a win in this game.
Orlando face a team who are paced offensively by two superstars of the game in James Harden and Kyrie Irving. Both offer different challenges and will require every Orlando player to be on their mark defensively. Kyrie Irving has brilliant handles, allowing him to devastate a team in the paint. James Harden is a three point shooter with great court vision. They are surrounded by players who can shoot the three ball or pick up rebounds for second chance points. As a team they will move the ball, they will play fast given the opportunity and they will shoot the three ball a lot.
Statistics show that when Orlando score less than 100 points we almost certainly lose. Unfortunately outside of Nikola Vucevic the Magic have not been seeing consistent scoring from others. As previously the team can not afford to get into foul trouble. Whilst turnovers remain at a low rate for the NBA it is the type of turnover that has been hurting Orlando. They must limit live ball turnovers, these are seeing harmful points being scored from our own offensive possession. In many recent games, including each game since All-Star this failing has been costly.
KEY DATES IN THE NBA
Nine consecutive losses sees Orlando becoming adrift in the standings. It is hard watching the team losing consistently and certainly not fun. Finding that silver lining in this run has to be that Orlando have the 4th worst record in the NBA, so have a 12.5% chance of landing the number 1 draft pick when the lottery comes. With a universally accepted tough schedule to the second half of the season now well underway Orlando must find form quickly if they aim to compete for the post season.
So the dates t look for as the season progresses are:
March 25th is the NBA’s Trade Deadline.
The regular season ends on May 16th.
The Play-In tournament is through May 18th and 21st.
From May 22nd to July 22nd the NBA Playoffs are scheduled to run.
At this point in time there is no date is set for the Draft Lottery. However the 2021 NBA Draft will now be held on Wednesday November 18th.