Game Day 47 sees the Magic taking on the Clippers in LA. This is the final meeting of the season against a team fancied to be challenging for the NBA Finals.
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The tip time is shown on the NBA app and Orlando Magic website as being a 3am here in the UK (10pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
THE MATCHUP FOR TAKING ON THE CLIPPERS IN LA
The Clippers are on the second night of a back-to-back, having played last night at home. That game saw the Clippers take a win over the Milwaukee Bucks by 105-129. Marcus Morris Sr led the Clippers with 25 points. Kawhi Leonard just missed a triple double with 23 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists. Two other players also hit double digit scoring, being Luke Kennard and Reggie Jackson. The Clippers hit 19 three point shots in the game.
Orlando continued their new phase on Sunday night with defeat to the LA Lakers in the Staples Centre by 93-96. Dwayne Bacon led the way with a new career high of 26 points as the Magic pushed the Lakers all the way. Chuma Okeke had another strong game consisting of 14 points and 6 rebounds.
The Clippers have won 17 of 23 home games this season. Orlando have won 5 of 21 games on the road. Season records see Orlando at 15-31, whilst the Los Angeles Clippers are at 32-16. Across the last 10 games that each team has played the Clippers have a 8-2 record, whilst Orlando are 2-8. The Clippers have won their last 6 games, whilst Orlando are on a 2 game losing run.
Orlando remain 14th in the Eastern Conference, whilst the Clippers are 3rd in the Western Conference.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
The LA Clippers come into the game as the NBA’s top ranked offensive team, scoring an average of 115.3 points per game.
Offensively they do not play at a fast pace, ranking 26th, happy to play at a measured pace, moving the ball and using the shot clock to get a good look. Where the opportunity arises they can go fast, hitting 10.9 fast break points per game. They are mid table for assists at 24.2 per game, unsurprising with having players who can create their own scoring. Points in the paint account for 48% of their points per game and 37.6% from beyond the arc. They shoot 48..4% from the field and a league leading 41.9% with the 3 ball.
Their defensive rating is 13th in the NBA and sees them conceding 108.6 points per game. In per game stats for blocks they are in the league’s lower echelon (4.3 per game) but halfway for steals (7.3 per game). The Clippers turn the ball over at one of the lowest rates in the NBA, 12.8 times per game. They foul on average 19.1 times per game. 53.2% of opponent points come in the paint and 32.3% from deep.
THE LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS SQUAD
It is possible for the Magic taking on the Clippers in LA to be facing a depleted Clippers squad.
As I write the injury report has not been updated on ESPN due to the time difference. Last night the Clippers had the following absences:
Paul George (22.5 PPG) was out and listed as day-to-day.
Patrick Beverley (8.3 PPG) was out with a knee injury.
Serge Ibaka (10.9 PPG) was out with a back injury.
Rajon Rondo (3.9 PPG) was out with a groin injury.
Jay Scrubb (0 PPG) is out with a foot injury.
Last night Coach Ty Lue started Marcus Morris Sr (12.7 PPG), Kawhi Leonard (25.9 PPG), Luke Kennard (8.1 PPG), Ivica Zubac (8.6 PPG) and Reggie Jackson (9.4 PPG).
From the bench came Nicolas Batum (8.6 PPG), Terence Mann (6.1 PPG), Amir Coffey (3 PPG), Patrick Patterson (4.7 PPG) and Daniel Oturu (1.6 PPG).
THE HEAD-TO-HEAD: LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
History definitely isn’t with us for this one.
The head-to-head record in the 62 regular season games played sees the Clippers leading 29-33. We haven’t beaten the Clippers in 14 games; last beating them in November 2013!
The first meeting this season on Game Day 20 on January 29th in the Amway saw Orlando lose by 116-90 as Paul George and Kawhi Leonard controlled the game.
Last season we were swept in the series 2 and 0. Meeting in LA on the January 16th 2020 Orlando were heavily beaten 95-122, Kawhi going for 32 points. Ten days later the teams met again on a night when basketball was not the focus following the death of Kobe Bryant. That game in the Amway saw the Clippers again win comfortably by 112-97.
The teams have never met in the playoffs.
THE MAGIC INJURY AND ABSENCE REPORT
As I write the injury report on ESPN is better reading than of late.
Terrence Ross (16 PPG) is listed as out with knee soreness, but his status has been upgraded to probable for the game.
Gary Harris (9.7 PPG) had been absent from the Denver team with a thigh issue prior to his trade. Again he is listed as out tonight.
Cole Anthony (11 PPG) remains out with a non-displaced rib fracture. He is not cleared for contact but is taking part in on-court activities. He does not appear to be close to returning yet.
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.
THE ORLANDO LINE-UP FOR TAKING ON THE CLIPPERS IN LA
The Magic starting unit against the Lakers used by Coach Clifford was Chuma Okeke (5.7 PPG), Khem Birch (5.5 PPG), James Ennis III (7.8 PPG), Dwayne Bacon (10.4 PPG) and Michael Carter-Williams (8.7 PPG).
From the bench came Chasson Randle (5.9 PPG), Karim Mane (1 PPG) and Mo Bamba (5.1 PPG). They were joined by debutants Otto Porter Jr (9.7 PPG), Wendell Carter Jr (10.8 PPG) and RJ Hampton (2.8 PPG).
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 14th
SEASON RECORD – 15-31
HOME RECORD – 10-15
ROAD RECORD – 5-16
NBA OFFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 27TH OF 30 (105.7)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 17TH OF 30 (112.5)
POINTS PER GAME – 29TH OF 30 (104.3)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 12TH OF 30 (111)
RECORDS WHEN LEADING AND SCORING
RECORD LEADING AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER – 7-9
WHEN LEADING AT HALF TIME – 12-3
AND WHEN LEADING GOING INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER – 10-3
RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – 1-19
WHEN SCORING 100 TO 109 POINTS – 4-8
WHEN SCORING 110 TO 119 POINTS OR MORE – 4-3
AND WHEN SCORING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 6-1
RECORDS FOR CONCEDING THIS SEASON
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 100 POINTS OR LESS – 5-3
WHEN CONCEDING 100 TO 109 POINTS – 3-6
AND WHEN CONCEDING 110 TO 119 POINTS – 5-11
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 FOR TAKING ON THE CLIPPERS IN LA
For the Magic taking on the Clippers in LA could be a game that gets away from us quickly. However with the determination Orlando showed against Portland and the Lakers the Magic can put in a fight.
Defence is a must for Orlando and the Magic are not conceding points. Tonight presents a different challenge on D as the Magic face one of the NBA’s best three point shooting sides. The Clippers attempt 34.5 threes per game, making 14.4 on average. Last night hey hit 19 of 34 attempts! Limiting second chance points will also be important as the Clippers are strong rebounders on both ends of the court.
Coach Clifford was unhappy with the Magic performance against the Lakers. I felt he was overly critical of a team who had not practiced together, including three players who had just joined the team. Mistakes will occur until there is a better understanding between the team.
The Magic continue to try and win games. Jeff Turner made a great point in commentary during the Lakers match that the players on court are not thinking about helping improve the lottery odds for obtaining a player who may take your job. However as a fan the results are relatively unimportant from this point on to a team likely bound for the draft lottery. We want to see opportunity for the players we have to see what our future needs are.
KEY DATES IN THE NBA
Orlando still 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. The tough second half of the season is well underway. Being 4.5 games back of Chicago in 10th and the wholesale trade of our most consistent scorers makes it hard to see Orlando competing for the post season.
The dates to look for as the season progresses are:
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.
The date is now set for the Draft Lottery as June 22nd.
The 2021 NBA Draft has now been set for July 29th.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has indicated the 2021-22 season is hoped to start back at its more normal time of late October.