It is Game Day 57 and it sees the Magic home to face Houston in a basement battle for lottery odds. The Magic are seeking continuity as they continue along the rebuild path.
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The tip time is shown on the NBA app and Orlando Magic website as being midnight here in the UK (7pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
THE MATCHUP – MAGIC HOME TO FACE HOUSTON
The Rockets played last on Friday night, a 128-99 home loss to the Denver Nuggets. Kell Olynyk led the Rockets with 23 points and Jae’Sean Tate got 21 points. The six players from the bench combined for just 26 points.
The Magic went down to a defeat at the hands of the Toronto Raptors on Friday night, by 102-113 on the road in Tampa. Orlando made 8 shots from beyond the arc but the Toronto barrage with the three ball saw them hit 14, a difference that sealed the result. Only four Orlando players made double figure scoring being led by Wendell Carter Jr with 20 points. Gary Harris had a strong defensive plays. Being matched up against Fred VanVleet he held the Toronto danger man to just 6 points. Cole Anthony had a strong game with 19 points, 5 assists and 7 rebounds.
The Rockets have won 7 of 28 games on the road this season. Orlando have won 10 of 29 games at home in the Amway Centre. Season records see Orlando at 18-38, whilst Houston are 14-42. Across the last 10 games that each team has played Houston have a 1-9 record, whilst Orlando has 3-7. Houston has lost its last 5 games, Orlando just the 1.
Results see the Raptors 15th in the Western Conference and Orlando are still sat at 14th in the East. Houston has the worst record in the NBA.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE HOUSTON ROCKETS
The Rockets come into the game as the NBA’s 27th ranked offensive team, scoring an average of 108.1 points per game.
Offensively they are a team who attack at pace (5th in the NBA), but only make 11.2 fast break points per game. Scoring wise only 47.4% of their points come from inside the paint, the fourth least in the NBA. They score 37.3 % of their points per game from beyond the arc, the 7th most in the NBA. They are not an accurate shooting team, hoisting up a lot of shots in a game but hitting only 44.2% from the field and a league low 33.6% with the 3 ball. Assists per game are slightly above that of the Magic at 23.1 per game. Houston draw fouls, attempting 22.4 free throws per game, making 16.6, an efficiency rate of only 74%.
A defensive rating at 25th sees them conceding an average of 115 points per game.
Defensively they are physical and have active hands. They block 5.2 times per game (8th in the NBA), whilst stealing the ball 7.6 times. They turn the ball over on average 14.6 times per game. That turnover rate sees them concede the most fast break points per game in the NBA at 15.4. On average they foul 19.7 times per game.
Houston rank badly for rebounding stats, being 18th in total rebounding averages, 22nd for offensive and 24th defensive.
THE HOUSTON ROCKETS SQUAD
It is quicker to list who will feature for the Rockets. They are sitting players tonight for rest, being on the first night of a back-to-back. As I write according to ESPN the Rockets injury list is as follows:
Listed as out are John Wall (20.6 PPG), Sterling Brown (8.2 PPG), Eric Gordon (17.8 PPG), Danuel House Jr (9.3 PPG), DJ Augustin (7 PPG), Dante Exum (3.8 PPG) and David Nwaba (9.2 PPG),
Last time out their starting line-up was Jae’Sean Tate (11 PPG), Kevin Porter Jr (15 PPG), John Wall (20.6 PPG), Kelly Olynyk (11.8 PPG) and Christian Wood (21 PPG).
From the bench came Kenyon Martin Jr (6.7 PPG), Avery Bradley (7 PPG), Armoni Brooks (6 PPG), DJ Wilson (4.4 PPG), DaQuan Jeffries (3.3 PPG) and Anthony Lamb (2 PPG).
With the absence of John Wall the Rockets Head Coach, Stephen Silas will have to make changes.
HOUSTON ROCKETS VS ORLANDO MAGIC – THE HEAD-TO-HEAD HISTORY
In 64 regular season games played the score stands at 29-35 to Houston.
Houston did a job on Orlando in the first game of the season on January 8th, winning in Houston by 90-132. For a long period that stood as the seasons’ largest margin of defeat and most points conceded.
The past two seasons have seen the series tied 1-1.
These two teams have famously met only once in the playoffs, the 1995 Finals, resulting in a 4-0 win for Houston.
THE ORLANDO INJURY REPORT WITH THE MAGIC HOME TO FACE HOUSTON
As I write the injury report on ESPN reads as before.
Mo Bamba (6.7 PPG) is listed as day-to-day and questionable with a hip contusion.
Otto Porter Jr (9.7 PPG) is out with a foot injury.
Michael Carter-Williams (8.8 PPG) is expected to miss multiple games with an ankle injury but is listed as day-to-day.
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 THE MAGIC AT THE RAPTORS
The Magic starting unit against Toronto was the 27th of the season used by Coach Clifford.
The line up was Cole Anthony (11.3 PPG), Chuma Okeke (7.1 PPG), Gary Harris (9.7 PPG), Wendell Carter Jr (11.8 PPG) and James Ennis III (8.6 PPG) are likely to remain.
From the bench came Terrence Ross (15.6 PPG), RJ Hampton (4.6 PPG), Chasson Randle (5.2 PPG), Dwayne Bacon (10.2 PPG), Robert Franks (4 PPG), Devin Cannady (3.5 PPG) and Donte Hall (4 PPG).
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 14th
SEASON RECORD – 18-38
HOME RECORD – 10-19
ROAD RECORD – 8-19
NBA OFFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 28TH OF 30 (105.7)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 24TH OF 30 (113.5)
POINTS PER GAME – 29TH OF 30 (104.3)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 18TH OF 30 (112)
RECORDS WHEN LEADING AND SCORING
RECORD LEADING AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER – 9-10
WHEN LEADING AT HALF TIME – 14-5
AND WHEN LEADING GOING INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER – 11-3
RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – 1-22
WHEN SCORING 100 TO 109 POINTS – 5-11
WHEN SCORING 110 TO 119 POINTS OR MORE – 6-4
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 – 4-6
AND WHEN CONCEDING 110 TO 119 POINTS – 6-14
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 2-14
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 WITH THE MAGIC HOME TO FACE HOUSTON
With the Magic home to face Houston it is difficult to predict what type of game we will see. So many Houston players are absent and their star man John Wall is included in that number.
Houston hold the NBA’s worst record and have had several long losing streaks this season. They will attack at pace and they will fire three after three. However most of their recognised shooters of this season are out or have been traded. Porter, Olynyk and Wood are all capable shooters.
Christian Wood is a talented young player that Orlando must be aware of. He is averaging 21 points per game
For Orlando scoring is again key if we are to win. Against Toronto in the first half Orlando continued the good play from Chicago That dramatically dropped away in the 3rd quarter as the Magic faded from the game.
Statistics show that if we hit less than 110 points then we almost certainly lose, holding a losing record of 6-33. Hit 110 points or more then it is a winning 12-5 record.
Orlando remain looking for chemistry and cohesion as the squad goes through the early stages of redevelopment. This is particularly obvious on the defensive end since the trade deadline. Again the effects of Wendell Carter Jr and Gary Harris, were encouraging.
This is a game that neither team may want to win but as we know someone has to.
KEY DATES IN THE NBA
Orlando has seen results around them beneficial for the lottery position. The Magic remain with the 4th worst record in the NBA. This means Orlando have a 12.5% chance of landing the number 1 draft pick when the lottery comes. Orlando are 5 games back of Chicago in 10th.
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.