It’s Game Day 42 and the Magic are in Boston for an early tip. Orlando will look to pick up where they left off in the take down of Brooklyn, what was a superb performance.
To watch the game live or on demand here in the UK you will need an active NBA League Pass subscription. Never miss a game again and watch the entire 2020/21 season by subscribing here. Alternatively, and for the first time this season Orlando feature on Sky Sports Arena.
The tip time is shown on the NBA app and Orlando Magic website as being a 7:30pm here in the UK (3:30pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
THE MATCHUP FOR THE MAGIC IN BOSTON
The Celtics last played on Friday night, losing at home in the TD Gardens to the Sacramento Kings by 107-96. Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with a double-double, as he scored 19 points, 11 rebounds 3 assists and 3 steals. Four other Boston players made double figure scoring, being Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, Daniel Theis and Robert Williams III.
Orlando’s last game saw the Magic break a 9 game losing streak by beating the Brooklyn Nets 113-121 in the Amway. Both Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon made huge contributions for Orlando, both scoring season highs. Gordon led the team with 38 points on 70% shooting which included going 7 of 8 from the three ball. Chasson Randle had his best game in a Magic jersey and Nikola Vucevic tallied another double-double with 22 points and 14 rebounds.
The Celtics have won 12 of 19 games at home this season. Orlando have won 5 of 19 games on the road. Season records see Orlando at 14-27, whilst Boston are a surprising 20-21. Across the last 10 games that each team has played the Celtics have a 5-5 record, whilst Orlando are 1-9. The Magic snapped a 9 game losing streak to now stand at a 1 win streak, whilst Boston have lost their last 3.
Orlando remain 14th in the Eastern Conference, whilst the Boston are 8th.
OUR OPPONENTS – BOSTON CELTICS
Last season saw Boston finish with 48-24 record, being 3rd in the Eastern Conference. They were eliminated in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals 2-4 by the Miami Heat. Much was expected of them this season and as yet they have not delivered, being very inconsistent.
The Celtics come into the game as the NBA’s 12th ranked offensive team, scoring on average 111.7 points per game. A defensive rating at 21st sees them conceding 111.2 points per game.
Offensively they play at a relatively slow pace, 21st in the NBA. They are not afraid to build a scoring opportunity slowly, using the full shot clock. When it comes to fast break points they score only 11.4 per game, placing them in the bottom 10 teams in the league along with Orlando (10 fast break points per game). Scoring wise 32.9% of their points per game come from beyond the arc, whilst 52.2% is from inside the paint. They shoot a field goal percentage of 46.8% and 37.1% with the 3 ball. Boston have an almost identical record to Orlando for assists per game with 22.6 (Orlando 22.7) .
Defensively they rate well in blocks (5.1 per game) and steals (8 per game), expect to see very active hands. They turn the ball over at a rate of 14.1 times per game. They foul a lot, on average 20.9 times per game.
THE BOSTON CELTICS SQUAD
Part of the Celtics inconsistency issues could be attributed to player absence. Indeed when we met last on January 15th the Celtics had seen their previous three games postponed due to COVID protocols and injury. That is not the case tonight
Coach Brad Stevens has a wealth of talent, unfortunately for the C’s it has not yet clicked properly this season!
Last time out they started Jayson Tatum (25 PPG), Kemba Walker (17.8 PPG), Jaylen Brown (24.4 PPG), Marcus Smart (12.7 PPG) and Daniel Theis (9.3 PPG).
From the bench came Robert Williams III (7.6 PPG), Payton Pritchard (7.3 PPG), Grant Williams (5 PPG) and Aaron Nesmith (4 PPG).
The squad also features Tacko Fall (3 PPG), Jeff Teague (6 PPG), Tremont Waters (3.3 PPG), Carsen Edwards (5.1 PPG), Semi Ojeleye (5.4 PPG) and Javonte Green (4.4 PPG).
As I write according to ESPN there are no injury absences. However out through COVID protocols are Tristan Thompson (7.9 PPG) and Romeo Langford (0 PPG).
THE HEAD-TO-HEAD: BOSTON CELTICS
The head-to-head record sees the Celtics leading 67-51 in the 118 regular season games played.
We met in Boston on January 15th, losing 97-124. Orlando shot only 25% from the three on the night.
Last season saw the Magic swept 3-0 by Boston This was a marked turnaround from the 2018-19 season when Orlando swept Boston 3-0.
In playoffs the Celtics and Magic have met in 17 games, Orlando being up 9-8. In 2010 the Celtics won 4-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals. 2009 saw Orlando win the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, taking the series 4-3. In 1995 Orlando had won the series 3-1 in the first round of 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) is listed as out with a calf injury, but questionable to play.
Michael Carter-Williams (9.2 PPG) is listed as day-to-day and questionable for tonight with an undisclosed non COVID related illness.
Terrence Ross (16 PPG) is out with knee soreness.
Cole Anthony (11 PPG) remains 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 FOR THE MAGIC IN BOSTON
The starting unit against Brooklyn was as per the previous night in New York. This is the 18th starting unit used by Orlando this season, being Chasson Randle (6 PPG), Evan Fournier (19.3 PPG), Aaron Gordon (14.8 PPG), Al-Farouq Aminu (4.6 PPG) and Nikola Vucevic (24.7 PPG).
From the bench came Dwayne Bacon (10.2 PPG), Khem Birch (5.5 PPG), Okeke (4.6 PPG) and Mo Bamba (4.6 PPG). Gary Clark (3.5 PPG) was available but did not feature.
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 14th
SEASON RECORD – 14-27
HOME RECORD – 9-13
ROAD RECORD – 5-14
NBA OFFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 27TH OF 30 (105.8)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 18TH OF 30 (112.4)
POINTS PER GAME – 29TH OF 30 (104.7)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 14TH OF 30 (111.3)
RECORDS WHEN LEADING AND SCORING
RECORD LEADING AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER – 7-8
WHEN LEADING AT HALF TIME – 12-3
AND WHEN LEADING GOING INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER – 10-3
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 – 6-1
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 – 4-8
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
Check out our podcast Penny For Your Thoughts.
In the latest episode we have one the greatest Orlando Magic players ever, being joined by Orlando Magic Hall of Famer, NICK ANDERSON! We talk about the 1995 Playoff series against Michael Jordan and the Bulls, the famous ‘Steal from Michael Jordan’, being the first draft pick in Magic history and a lots, lots more… you will definitely enjoy this episode.
All episodes of the podcast are available on the following platforms:
Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/penny-for-your-thoughts/id1539159864
Google Podcasts: https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9hbmNob3IuZm0vcy8zMjJhNGJiYy9wb2RjYXN0L3Jzcw==
Pocket Casts: https://pca.st/yj2cmpgs
Please subscribe and set your notifications for alerts when new episodes are released.
Keep an eye out each game day across our social media platforms on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for our match day game Magic MOments where we ask you to predict the outcome of 5 questions we pose. All you have to do is comment
KEYS TO THE GAME FOR THE MAGIC IN BOSTON
Orlando have huge absences and results in them playing as a team with what is available. Facing a team like Boston and their starting unit it is far from ideal. Defence will as always have to be where Orlando build from to get a win in this game. The defence has much improved over recent games.
Our focus must be upon the threat of Tatum, Brown and Walker. Slowing their scoring and effectiveness will not be easy but it is doable.
Statistics show that when Orlando score less than 100 points we almost certainly lose. In the last game Nikola Vucevic was helped in the scoring by huge performances from both Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier, this has to continue. Solid contributions will be needed from the bench to keep the momentum of beating Brooklyn going.
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 this failing has been costly.
We hate to say it but you can never bet against the Celtics! They are a team of grit, possessing quality in all positions and are well coached. But if Orlando play the fundamentals of the game well there could be a second consecutive win for the Magic.
KEY DATES IN THE NBA
Nine consecutive losses left Orlando somewhat adrift in the standings. It is not fun watching the team losing consistently. The silver lining in that run has to be that Orlando has the 4th worst record in the NBA, so have a 12.5% chance of landing the number 1 draft pick when the lottery comes. Nothing really changed with the win over Brooklyn. The tough second half of the season is well underway. Being 4.5 games back of Chicago in 10th Orlando must find form quickly if aiming to compete for the post season.
The dates to look for as the season progresses are:
March 25th is the NBA’s Trade Deadline.
The regular season ends May 16th.
The Play-In tournament is May 18th and 21st.
From May 22nd to July 22nd the NBA Playoffs are scheduled to run.
There is not a date set for the Draft Lottery. The 2021 NBA Draft will be held on Wednesday November 18th.