Game Day 59 sees New Orleans in Orlando to face the Magic. The Pelicans continue to get into the post season as the Magic continue to fade.
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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 FOR NEW ORLEANS IN ORLANDO
The Pelicans played last on Tuesday night, a 134-129 home loss to the Brooklyn Nets. Zion Williamson led the Pels with 34 points and 7 rebounds. Brandon Ingram scored 27 points.
The Magic went down to a road defeat at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night, by 96-112. Orlando never really recovered from a poor second quarter. Orlando again saw balanced scoring as five players made double figure scoring but there was not enough production from the bench. Scoring was led for Orlando by Wendell Carter Jr and Cole Anthony, each with 17 points. Gary Harris added 14 points.
The Pelicans have won 9 of 27 games on the road this season. Orlando have won 10 of 30 games at home in the Amway. Season records see Orlando at 18-40, whilst New Orleans are 25-33. Across the last 10 games that each team has played the Pels have a 4-6 record, whilst Orlando have dropped to 1-9. New Orleans are on a 4 game losing run, Orlando have lost the last 3.
Results see the Pelicans 11th in the Western Conference and Orlando are still sat at 14th in the Eastern Conference.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
The Pelicans come into the game as the NBA’s 9th ranked offensive team, scoring an average of 115.4 points per game.
Offensively they rank 14th in pace, being happy to play at a measured pace. Their style sees them moving the ball, whilst using the shot clock to get a good look. However they can go fast, hitting 13.8 fast break points per game which is 10th in the NBA. The ball movement used sees them 10th for assists at 26 per game. Points in the paint account for 55.4% of their points per game and only 27.9% from beyond the arc (which is 29th in the NBA). They shoot an impressive 48% from the field and 34.7% with the 3 ball. Of recent games that 3 ball percentage has been even lower. New Orleans draw fouls, resulting in shooting 25.9 free throws per game. They make 19.1 of those attempted giving a low return at 73.6%
Their defensive rating is 27th in the NBA and sees them conceding 115.4 points per game. In per game stats for blocks they are in the league’s lower echelon (4.4 per game) but halfway for steals (7.3 per game). The Pelicans turn the ball over 14.4 times per game, conceding 12.9 fast break points. They foul at a low rate, on average 17.9 times per game. 47.3% of opponent points come in the paint as they defend the paint well and 38.3% from deep.
They dominate the glass, rebounding well on both ends of the court, leading the league on the offensive boards.
THE NEW ORLEANS PELICANS SQUAD
New Orleans coach is former Magic favourite, Stan Van Gundy. As I write the injury report on ESPN has three issues for Van Gundy. James Johnson (6.8 PPG) is questionable for tonight with a groin injury. Nickeil Alexander-Walker (10.2 PPG) is listed as out with an ankle strain. Josh Hart (9.2 PPG) is out with a torn UCL to the thumb that required surgery.
Their starting line up against Brooklyn was Lonzo Ball (14 PPG), Brandon Ingram (24.2 PPG), Eric Bledsoe (11.8 PPG), , Zion Williamson (26.9 PPG) and Steven Adams (7. PPG)
From the bench came Naji Marshall (6.1 PPG), Jaxson Hayes (6.2 PPG), Willy Hernangomez (6.4 PPG), Kira Lewis Jr (6.5 PPG) and Wes Iwundu (2.7 PPG).
The squad also features Wenyen Gabriel (0.8 PPG) and James Nunnally (1 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 22-18 in the 40 regular season games played. Against the New Orleans Pelicans the Magic lead 11-4.
The teams have met once this season, on game day 48, which was shortly after the trade deadline moves. Orlando won by 115-110 in overtime, being led by Wendell Carter Jr.
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 5 game win run against the Pelicans.
The teams have never met in the playoffs.
THE MAGIC INJURY REPORT FOR NEW ORLEANS IN ORLANDO
As I write the injury report on ESPN reads:
Terrence Ross (15.6 PPG) is listed as day-to-day and questionable with back spasms.
James Ennis III (8.6 PPG) is listed as day-to-day and questionable with a calf injury
Otto Porter Jr (9.7 PPG) is out with a foot injury.
Michael Carter-Williams (8.8 PPG) is out and will miss multiple games with an ankle injury.
Markelle Fultz (12.9 PPG) is out indefinitely recovering from knee surgery for a torn ACL.
Jonathan Isaac is out indefinitely recovering from knee surgery for a torn ACL.
THE MAGIC LINE-UP FOR NEW ORLEANS IN ORLANDO
The Magic starting unit against Atlanta used by Coach Clifford was Cole Anthony (11.6 PPG), Chuma Okeke (7.2 PPG), Dwayne Bacon (10.4 PPG), Gary Harris (11.5 PPG) and Wendell Carter Jr (14.5 PPG). It is expected to remain the same
From the bench came Mo Bamba (6.6 PPG), RJ Hampton (9.1 PPG), Chasson Randle (5.4 PPG), Donte Hall (3.3 PPG), Robert Franks (5 PPG) and Devin Cannady (2.8 PPG).
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 14th
SEASON RECORD – 18-40
HOME RECORD – 10-20
ROAD RECORD – 8-20
NBA OFFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 29TH OF 30 (105.6)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 24TH OF 30 (113.5)
POINTS PER GAME – 29TH OF 30 (104.2)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 17TH OF 30 (112)
RECORDS WHEN LEADING AND SCORING
RECORD LEADING AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER – 9-10
WHEN LEADING AT HALF TIME – 14-6
AND WHEN LEADING GOING INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER – 11-3
RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – 1-23
WHEN SCORING 100 TO 109 POINTS – 5-11
WHEN SCORING 110 TO 119 POINTS OR MORE – 6-5
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 – 6-16
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
KEYS TO THE GAME FOR NEW ORLEANS IN ORLANDO
For New Orleans in Orlando the Magic need to find some spark, particularly from the bench. There will be scoring opportunities for the Magic, stats for opponents points per game and a poor defence of the three ball show that. Therefore if Orlando are to get a win hitting a strong percentage of shots from beyond the arc is a must. Cole Anthony is important to controlling the ball movement for Orlando in this key area. He was solid against Atlanta, scoring double figures for the 7th time in eight games since his return from a rib injury.
Defence must improve for Orlando. Tonight presents a different challenge on D as the Magic face one of the NBA’s best teams for attacking the paint. Despite the stats New Orleans can be a threat from deep despite making relatively few threes per game. Both Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram are amongst the league’s top 20 for points per game.
Avoiding foul trouble will not be easy, particularly against Zion Williamson. If the team can be disciplined it will assist Orlando in removing a valuable source of scoring from New Orleans.
Rebounding could again be a decisive factor. Both teams are amongst the league’s best in stats but Orlando have not been doing well since the trade deadline. Expect Wendell Carter Jr to have a battle on his hands. Steven Adams remains a powerhouse for total rebounding. Zion Williamson is tied 13th in the NBA for offensive rebounds.
The Magic continue to try and win games. Our squad are playing for a future with the team. Chuma Okeke will be looking to play well as recently his offence has at times been absent. He will be tested on defence by a their starting five and likely faces matching up with Ingram.
KEY DATES IN THE NBA
Orlando is in a tight fight for the best 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. The post season is all but a mathematical possibility now as Orlando are 7 games back of Washington in 10th.
The dates to look for as the season moves on 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.
August 2nd sees teams able to negotiate with free agents and from the 6th signing.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has indicated the 2021-22 season is hoped to start back at its more normal time of late October.
PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
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