Game Day 48 sees the Magic down in New Orleans to face the Pelicans. This is the first time Orlando play the Pelicans this season. Our opponents are looking to wins as they push to be a part of the post season.
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The tip time is shown on the NBA app and Orlando Magic website as being a 1am here in the UK (10pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
THE MATCHUP FOR SOME MAGIC DOWN IN NEW ORLEANS
The Pelicans have not played since Monday night. That game saw the Pelicans take a win over the Boston Celtics by 115-109 in Boston. Zion Williamson led the Pelicans with 28 points. Brandon Ingram just missed a double-double with 25 point and 9 assists. Three other players also hit double digit scoring, being Eric Bledsoe, Josh Hart and Nickeil Alexander-Walker. The Pelicans hit 16 three point shots, going 51.6% from deep in the game.
Orlando continued their new phase on Tuesday night with a surprise win over the LA Clippers in the Staples Centre by 103-96. Chuma Okeke had another strong game consisting of 18 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals, a performance which led the team in scoring. Other double digit scorers for the Magic were Terrence Ross, Otto Porter Jr, Wendell Carter Jr and Mo Bamba, all coming from the bench.
The Pelicans have won 14 of 25 home games this season. Orlando have won 6 of 22 games on the road. Season records see Orlando at 16-31, whilst the New Orleans Pelicans are at 21-25. Across the last 10 games that each team has played the Pelicans have a 6-4 record, whilst Orlando are 3-7. The Pelicans have won their last 2 games, whilst Orlando are on a 1 game win streak.
Orlando remain 14th in the Eastern Conference, whilst the Pelicans are 12th in the Western Conference.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
The Pelicans come into the game as the NBA’s 7th ranked offensive team, scoring an average of 115.3 points per game.
Offensively they rank 18th being happy to play at a measured pace, that sees them moving the ball, whilst using the shot clock to get a good look. Be aware though that they can go fast, hitting 13.6 fast break points per game which is 10th in the NBA. They are 9th for assists at 26.3 per game. Points in the paint account for 54.8% of their points per game and only 29.3% from beyond the arc. They shoot an impressive 48..7% from the field and 35.9% with the 3 ball. Of recent games that 3 ball percentage has been higher.
Their defensive rating is 28th in the NBA and sees them conceding 114.7 points per game. In per game stats for blocks they are in the league’s lower echelon (4.1 per game) but halfway for steals (7.1 per game). The Pelicans turn the ball over 14.1 times per game. They foul at a low rate, on average 17.7 times per game. 45.9% of opponent points come in the paint as they defend the paint well and 39.9% from deep.
THE NEW ORLEANS PELICANS SQUAD
New Orleans coach is former Magic favourite, Stan Van Gundy. As I write the injury report on ESPN has two issues for Van Gundy. Lonzo Ball (14.2 PPG) is questionable for tonight with a hip injury. Zion Williamson (26.4 PPG) is listed as day-to-day.
Their starting line up on Monday was Brandon Ingram (23.8 PPG), Eric Bledsoe (11.4 PPG), Nickeil Alexander-Walker (9.8 PPG), Zion Williamson (26.4 PPG) and Steven Adams (7.9 PPG)
From the bench came Josh Hart (9.1 PPG), Jaxson Hayes (5.4 PPG), Kira Lewis Jr (6.2 PPG) and Wes Iwundu (2 PPG).
The squad also features Wenyen Gabriel (0.2 PPG), Willy Hernangomez (6.2 PPG), James Johnson (5.7 ppg), Will Magnay (0 PPG) and Naji Marshall (0.4 PPG.
HEAD-TO-HEAD: THE NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
The head-to-head record across all the various franchise titles of the now New Orleans Pelicans sees the Magic leading 21-18 in the 39 regular season games played.
The teams have nor met this season.
Last season saw the Magic sweep the series 2-0. Orlando won 130-119 in New Orleans on December 15th 2019 and then 133-127 in the NBA Bubble on August 13th 2020.. We won both matchups the previous season, so are on a 4 game win run against the Pelicans.
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.
Karim Mane (1 PPG) is listed as day-to-day with hamstring issue, but his status again questionable 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. He expected to make his debut within the next two weeks.
Cole Anthony (11 PPG) remains out with a non-displaced rib fracture. He is now said to be close to returning but not during this road trip.
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 SOME MAGIC DOWN IN NEW ORLEANS
The Magic starting unit against the Clippers used by Coach Clifford was again Chuma Okeke (6.1 PPG), Khem Birch (5.5 PPG), James Ennis III (7.7 PPG), Dwayne Bacon (10.4 PPG) and Michael Carter-Williams (8.7 PPG).
From the bench came Terrence Ross (15.9 PPG), Chasson Randle (5.6 PPG), Mo Bamba (5.4 PPG), Otto Porter Jr (9.8 PPG), Wendell Carter Jr (10.8 PPG) and RJ Hampton (2.9 PPG).
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 14th
SEASON RECORD – 16-31
HOME RECORD – 10-15
ROAD RECORD – 6-16
NBA OFFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 28TH OF 30 (105.8)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 15TH OF 30 (112.3)
POINTS PER GAME – 29TH OF 30 (104.3)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 10TH OF 30 (110.6)
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 – 5-8
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 – 6-3
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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In the latest episode we’re joined by NFL Writer for The Ringer and life long Magic fan Kevin Clark. We discuss the Magic’s decision to hit the reset button, what we’ve seen from the last two games against the LA Lakers and LA Clippers, Chuma Okeke’s role and more.
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KEYS TO THE GAME FOR SOME MAGIC DOWN IN NEW ORLEANS
As we see the Magic down in New Orleans there will be scoring opportunities. New Orleans stats for opponents points per game and lack of defence of the three ball show that. Therefore if Orlando are to get another win hitting a strong percentage of shots from beyond the arc is a must. This new Magic team are sharing the scoring and assists are increased.
The determination Orlando showed against Portland, the Lakers and the Clippers will be needed again. Heart and Hustle is back for the Magic!
Defence is again a must for Orlando and the Magic are not conceding points. Orlando have averaged just 101.3 points conceded across the last three games! They held both the Clippers and Lakers to just 96 points each. Tonight presents a different challenge on D as the Magic face one of the NBA’s best teams for attacking the paint. Their game in Boston proved that despite the stats they can be a threat from deep. Over the season though they take on average 31.4 threes per game, making only 11.3.
Rebounding could be a decisive factor as both teams are amongst the league’s best.
The Magic continue to try and win games. Our squad are playing for a future with the team. Chuma Okeke will again be looking to grow into his increased role. Over the last 4 games he has averaged 17.8 points per game on 62.8% shooting from the floor and 63.2% from 3 point range. He has been passing the ball well and rebounding strongly. Chuma’s defence against the Lakers on Sunday night was impressive as he guarded Markieff Morris, Dennis Schroder and Kyle Kuzma. Each present a different challenge to which he rose. By getting deflections from his anticipation and quick hands he breaks up offensive sets. He has the potential to be an elite defender.
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.