It’s game day 5 as our Orlando Magic face the Philadelphia 76ers in the Amway. This is a game made for Markelle Fultz to silence his doubters.
This game tips off at a slightly friendlier UK time of 11:30pm (7:30pm Eastern Time for our friends in Orlando). That means we see the New Year in watching the Magic!
To watch the game live or on demand here in the UK you will need an active NBA League Pass subscription.
LAST TIME OUT FOR ORLANDO
In the final night of a 3 game road trip Orlando faced the Oklahoma City Thunder, taking a 118-107 win on Tuesday. That win was historic for Orlando as we moved to a 4-0 record to start the season for the first time in the franchise 31 year history.
Nikola Vucevic also had a hand in rewriting the history books when he made a bucket in the first quarter to become the Magic’s all time field goals made leader, overtaking team legend Nick Anderson. Vucevic now has made 4,083, surpassing Anderson’s 4,075 made buckets. On the night Vooch took his third double-double of the season and led the way with 28 points and 10 rebounds.
Dwayne Bacon gave the Magic a real boost with 18 points and 8 rebounds, shooting 9/10 for the game.
THE ORLANDO BENCH
It can not be overstated how important the bench have been in this 4-0 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.
THE MATCHUP FOR GAME DAY 5 – THE 76ERS IN THE AMWAY
We will look at the 76ers squad in a moment. In our Season Preview of the Eastern Conference we placed Philly in the second tier of Eastern Conference teams. We believe them to be in the playoff equation but question if they will push and challenge for home court advantage. Before a ball was played we placed them behind Miami, Milwaukee, Toronto, Boston and Brooklyn.
Orlando are seeking to extend this franchise historic unbeaten start tonight. It is a start that has US national sports broadcasters such as ESPN and Rachel Nichols talking about us!
Both teams last played on the 29th December.
In this game we will have one team with run-it-back continuity against one who restructured around a retained a core unit of star players as our Orlando Magic face the Philadelphia 76ers in the Amway.
And finally there is Markelle Fultz. Hated by some Philly fans, loved by Magic fans and still called a bust by many an ignorant NBA fan. But the truth is Markelle is becoming a floor general. He is scoring at will in the paint, hitting the occasional 3 and is controlling the Magic tempo.
GAME DAY 5 OPPONENTS – PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
And so to our opponents for game day 5; the Philadelphia 76ers.
Last season Philly had a record of 43-30 under then Head Coach; Brett Brown. With that record they finished 6th in the Eastern Conference. They were eliminated 4-0 in the Eastern Conference Playoffs First Round by the Boston Celtics. They were 13th in NBA for offensive rating and 8th in defence.
Being swept from the playoffs caused something of a reset button to be pressed by the team. Out went Coach Brett Brown, in came Coach Doc Rivers. In came Danny Green, Seth Curry and Dwight Howard, out went Al Horford, Josh Richardson, Alec Burks, Raul Neto, Kyle O’Quinn and Zhaire Smith.
The 76ers hold a 3-1 record so far this season and sit 3rd in the East. They opened their season beating both Washington (at home 107-113) and New York (on the road 109-80). They then lost at Cleveland (94-118), before facing the Raptors on Tuesday in Philly taking the W (93-100).
This sees them 1-1 on the road, which is where Philly struggled last season. In the offensive ratings the 76ers are 26th (102.2) and 2nd defensively (99.9).
Against the Raptors last time out they used a starting line-up of Ben Simmons (14.3 PPG), Seth Curry (13.8 PPG), Danny Green (4.8 PPG), Tobias Harris (17.3 PPG) and Joel Embiid (28.3 PPG).
From the bench came Shake Milton (10.5 PPG), Matiese Thybulle (0 PPG), Mike Scott (5.3 PPG), Dwight Howard (5.5 PPG) and Tyrese Maxey (3.5 PPG).
As I write according to ESPN only Furkan Kormuz is listed as out. Joel Embiid is listed as day-to-day but probable for the game.
Last season the Magic won the three game series 2-1, both wins being in the Amway. The loss came during the restart seeding games in the Walt Disney World bubble on August 7th.
The Magic lead the all time head-to-head regular season matchup by 79-39 in 118 games played.
In the playoffs it is 5-5, Philly taking the 1999 series 3-1, Orlando the 2009 series 4-2.
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 out with a hamstring injury.
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 (18.3 PPG), Evan Fournier (17.8 PPG), Aaron Gordon (12.8 PPG), Dwayne Bacon (7.5 PPG) and Nikola Vucevic (20 PPG).
From the bench have come Cole Anthony (8.5 PPG), Michael Carter-Williams (5.5 PPG), Terrence Ross (21 PPG), Chum Okeke (2.3 PPG), Khem Birch (6.8 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 – 1st
- SEASON RECORD – 4-0
- HOME RECORD – 1-0
- ROAD RECORD – 3-0
- RECORD LEADING AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER – 1-0
- WHEN LEADING AT HALF TIME – 4-0
- AND WHEN LEADING GOING INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER – 2-0
- NBA OFFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 5TH OF 30 (115.1)
- NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 10TH OF 30 (107)
- OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 15TH OF 30 (111.8)
- RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – N/A
- WHEN SCORING 110 POINTS OR MORE – 4-0
- AND WHEN SCORING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 2-0
- RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 100 POINTS OR LESS – N/A
- WHEN CONCEDING 110 POINTS OR LESS – 2-0
- AND WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR LESS – 4-0
- 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 AND GAME DAY 4 VS OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
Over recent episodes of Penny For Your Thoughts we have talked about the new season, our opponents, the Magic squad and a whole lot more!
In the latest episode we discuss the Orlando Magic being off to the best start in franchise history by going 4-0, with wins against the Miami Heat, on game day 2 and game day 3 over the Washington Wizards and finally the Oklahoma City Thunder. Geraint, Mikey and Paul recap the opening week of the season including Markelle Fultz having a career night. We preview this weeks games against the Philadelphia 76ers in the Amway, the second game against the Thunder and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
All episodes of the podcast are available on the following platforms:
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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 GAME DAY 4 – 76ERS IN THE AMWAY
Is the 76ers in the Amway our toughest game yet this season? Arguably it should still be Miami on opening night, however strange results are often recorded in the first game of a season. It can be argued facing a fancied team on their 5th game of the season is more difficult as fitness and understanding are improved, whilst game rust is becoming a fading memory.
Orlando have strong continuity. Philadelphia have seen a lot of changes whilst retaining a star core. They have star power in Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris. They have championship experience in Danny Green and Dwight Howard. We all know the strengths of each of these players. The 76ers can defend but so far this year scoring has surprisingly been slow and that could easily change.
As highlighted earlier the Orlando bench have been so important to this 4-0 run. Once again the Magic depth from the bench could be telling, I genuinely feel we have an advantage there.
A solid Magic defensive game is the platform we build victory from, Coach Clifford plays as a defence first team. The defence has not yet functioned at its best and we are 4-0. If we get that going as well teams will find the Magic very hard to beat.
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. His growth and the new pace has sparked our offence and has thankfully seen less reliance from Orlando on the two man Vooch and Fournier game.
This is not a game many who watch the NBA expect Orlando to win but make no mistake; it is one we can win!
So let’s see 2021 arrive with a glass of something raised, a Markelle Fultz career night and a Magic 5-0 winning record as we face the 76ers in the Amway!
WE ALWAYS BELIEVE IN OUR TEAM!
LET’S GO MAGIC!