Game Day 50 sees Orlando in the Mile High City to face the Denver Nuggets. This is the final time Orlando play the Nuggets this season. Our opponents are looking to keep the wins coming as they push for a fifth consecutive win
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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 (9pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
THE MATCHUP FOR ORLANDO IN THE MILE HIGH CITY
The Nuggets are rested, not having played since Thursday night. They played a road game beating the LA Clippers by 101-94. All five Denver starters made double figure scoring. Jamal Murray led the team with 23 points.
The Magic took a thumping on Saturday night from the Utah Jazz by 91-137. The team was again led by Wendell Carter Jr, who was one of six Magic players to hit double digit scoring. Carter Jr hit a double-double with a solid performance of 19 points and 12 rebounds. Chuma Okeke had another stat filled performance of 16 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 1 block.
The Nuggets have won 14 of 21 games at home this season. Orlando have won 7 of 24 games on the road. Season records see Orlando at 17-32, whilst Denver are 30-18.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE DENVER NUGGETS
Last season saw Denver lose in the Western Conference Finals 1-4 to the Lakers, having finished with 46-27 record, being 3rd in the Western Conference.
The Nuggets come into the game as the NBA’s 4th ranked offensive team, scoring on average 115.9 points per game. A defensive rating at 16th sees them conceding 110.7 points per game.
Offensively they play at a patient, slow pace being 29th 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 a league middling 11.9 per game, so they are very capable of going fast when the need or chance arises. Scoring wise 34.8% of their points per game come from beyond the arc, whilst 52% is from inside the paint. They do not get to the free throw line very often, averaging 19.5 attempts per game, of which they make 15.3 per game. They shoot a field goal percentage of 48.8% (3rd in the NBA) and 38.8% with the 3 ball (5th in the NBA). Denver have an assist rate per game to envy with 26.9 as they move the ball freely (Orlando has 22.6). This is a dangerous team on offence.
Defensively they rate just above Orlando in blocks (4.3 per game) but are very good at getting steals (8.2 per game), so expect to see very active hands. They turn the ball over at a low rate of 13.5 times per game. They foul a lot on average 19.3 times per game, 15th in the league.
THE DENVER NUGGETS SQUAD
Coach Mike Malone has a wealth of talent, but Denver’s threat Is all about the starting unit. They have strength on the bench but make no mistake Denver is built with a focus on the starters. Their biggest absence is Monte Morris (10.4 PPG).
Last time out they started Nikola Jokic (27.1 PPG), Jamal Murray (21.1 PPG), Michael Porter Jr (15.9 PPG), Will Barton (12.9 PPG) and Aaron Gordon (14.3 PPG).
From the bench came Paul Millsap (9.1 PPG), PJ Dozier (7.5 PPG), Facundo Campazzo (5 PPG) and JaMychal Green (9 PPG).
The squad also features Bol Bol (2 PPG), Vlatko Cancar (1.4 PPG), Gary Clark (3.3 PPG), Markus Howard (1.1 PPG), JaVale McGee (7.9 PPG) and Zeke Nnaji (3.6 PPG).
THE HEAD-TO-HEAD: THE DENVER NUGGETS
The head-to-head record is level at 32-32 in the 64 regular season games played.
On Game Day 43 on March 23rd Orlando lost in the Amway 110-99. There was some good second half effort from Orlando. It saw the deficit cut by the Magic from 24 points to 5 before Denver pulled away for the win.
Last season saw the Magic swept 2-0 by Denver, who have won the last 9 matchups. Orlando last won this fixture on March 15th 2016 by 110-116.
The teams have never met in the playoffs.
THE INJURY REPORT FOR ORLANDO IN THE MILE HIGH CITY
As I write the injury report on ESPN has worsened.
Khem Birch (5.4 PPG) is questionable with an illness.
Mo Bamba withdrew sick last night during the Utah defeat.
Michael Carter-Williams (8.7 PPG) is again questionable with the illness.
Terrence Ross (16 PPG) is listed as day-to-day.
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 with a thigh issue. Again he is listed as out tonight. He is 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 LINE-UP FOR ORLANDO IN THE MILE HIGH CITY
The Magic starting unit against the Jazz used by Coach Clifford was Wendell Carter Jr (11.1 PPG), Okeke (6.2 PPG), James Ennis III (7.9 PPG), Dwayne Bacon (10.4 PPG) and Chasson Randle (6.1 PPG).
From the bench came Terrence Ross (16 PPG), Mo Bamba (5.6 PPG) and RJ Hampton (3.1 PPG).
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 14th
SEASON RECORD – 17-32
HOME RECORD – 10-15
ROAD RECORD – 7-17
NBA OFFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 28TH OF 30 (105.7)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 15TH OF 30 (111.9)
POINTS PER GAME – 28TH OF 30 (104.5)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 11TH OF 30 (110.6)
RECORDS WHEN LEADING AND SCORING
RECORD LEADING AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER – 8-9
WHEN LEADING AT HALF TIME – 13-3
AND WHEN LEADING GOING INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER – 10-3
RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – 1-20
WHEN SCORING 100 TO 109 POINTS – 5-8
WHEN SCORING 110 TO 119 POINTS OR MORE – 5-3
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 – 6-11
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 2-11
LEAST AND LARGEST ON THE SEASON
LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY – 20 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
LARGEST MARGIN OF DEFEAT – 46 – GAME DAY 49 UTAH JAZZ
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 – 137 – GAME DAY 49 UTAH JAZZ
LEAST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 83 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
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KEYS TO THE GAME FOR ORLANDO IN THE MILE HIGH CITY
For Orlando in the Mile High City to face Aaron Gordon and Denver defensive intensity must return. Being on the second night of a back to back will be hard after such a long road trip, but particularly so being again at altitude. There will be opportunity to score and the team can not afford to be so inaccurate with their chances. Free throws have to be made.
Denver’s starting unit contains arguably the leagues leading centre, Nikola Jokic. Leading or being amongst the leaders for the league in many categories he is a huge danger in the paint. He can also pass the ball, being third in assists this season. He is also third in the NBA for steals. Throw in the threat from Jamal Murray and the growth of Michael Porter Jr then a depleted Orlando have their hands full. Jokic is already forming a solid understanding with Aaron Gordon who you can guarantee will want to put a show on.
The determination shown since the trade deadline will need to return after being destroyed by Utah. It is a sad stat they emptied their bench with 42% of the game remaining and a lead of in excess of 40 points. Games like that happen and Orlando need to regroup. No Magic fan is under any illusion that with the squads the two teams have; the Nuggets have a huge edge. That is the case today so many potential absences and if fully fit as Orlando embark on a rebuild.
Defence is again a must for Orlando and the Magic had not conceding points.
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 as he relishes his increased role. Wendell Carter Jr is seeing important minutes as the team’s centre down the stretch. His figures in all categories are strengthening, justifying the trust shown by Coach Clifford.
KEY DATES IN THE NBA
Orlando is now tied with Cleveland for the 4th worst record in the NBA. This means Orlando now have a 11.5% chance of landing the number 1 draft pick when the lottery comes. Washington having played a game less have a better record at 17-30. The teams facing the lottery are bunching up. Orlando are now only 2.5 games back of Chicago in 10th. Orlando are clearly still 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 for the Draft Lottery as June 22nd.
The 2021 NBA Draft is 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.