It’s game day 6 and our Orlando Magic are facing OKC for round 2. We faced off against them on Dec 29th taking the W.
This game tips off at a UK time of 00:00 midnight (7pm Eastern Time for our friends in Orlando).
To watch the game live or on demand here in the UK you will need an active NBA League Pass subscription.
THE SEASON SO FAR
Orlando faced the Miami Heat in the Amway on opening night taking a 113-117 victory.
Game Day 4 saw a hard fought 118-107 historic win over OKC to start the season 4-0 for the first time in franchise history.
Our last outing was not the New Year’s celebration we all wanted as Orlando tasted defeat for the first time this season 116-92 to the Philadelphia 76ers on Game Day 5.
THE MATCHUP – OKC FOR ROUND 2
Tonight’s game will be a tougher ask for Orlando through injury. Chuma Okeke, Terrence Ross and Evan Fournier have all gone down since we last played OKC.
We saw then that Oklahoma have quality young players who give it everything. They can be a tenacious and stubborn opponent, capable of scoring the ball and playing strong defence. OKC are not fancied in the West this term, being seen as a team in transition.
Orlando are seeking to return to winning ways after the defeat by the Sixers and the embarrassment of setting the franchise record for a first half deficit in that game.
GAME DAY 6 OPPONENTS – OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
Now to our opponents; OKC for round 2.
Last season OKC had a record of 44-28 and finished 5th in the Western Conference. OKC were eliminated 4-3 in the West Conference Playoffs First Round by the Houston Rockets. They were 16th in NBA for offensive rating and 7th in defence.
As we saw last week this is now a very different squad from that one.
OKC hold a 1-3 record so far this season and sit 14th in the West. They are now on a 3 game losing streak after opening their season on the road in Charlotte, beating the Hornets 109-107. Besides ourselves they have lost to Utah and New Orleans. This sees them 29th in the offensive ratings (100) and 19th defensively (110.6).
In their last game, a heavy 113-80 defeat against the Pelicans, they used a starting line-up of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Darius Bazley, Al Horford, Luguentz Dort and George Hill.
From the bench came Hamidou Diallo, Isaiah Roby, Theo Maledon, Mike Muscala, Aleksej Pokusevski, Josh Hall and Kenrich Williams.
As I write according to ESPN listed as out are again Trevor Ariza and Ty Jerome.
OKC FOR ROUND 2 – THE HEAD-TO-HEAD HISTORY
As written above this season on Game Day 4 Orlando took a hard fought 118-107 win over OKC.
That win broke a 5 game losing streak for the Magic against OKC. For the last two seasons Orlando had been swept by the Thunder 2-0.
Interestingly OKC vs Orlando games are often close affairs. We won by 11 last week. Those previous 5 lost meetings had all been won by 10 points or less. There was also the remarkable 2015 double overtime game that saw OKC win in the Amway 139-136
The all time regular season record sees 63 games played, with the Magic trailing 24-39.
These two teams have never met in the playoffs.
THE MAGIC INJURY REPORT
Strap yourselves in this could take some time!
We will start with the no change news; Jonathan Isaac and Al-Farouq Aminu will again be absent, both being long term injuries and out indefinitely.
James Ennis is listed on ESPN as being out with a hamstring injury.
Mo Bamba had been active in full contact drills and could have featured against Philadelphia. Unfortunately he took a blow to the head in practice before that game and was not feeling well. He is not in concussion protocols but remains a doubt.
Evan Fournier is questionable for tonight after leaving the Philly defeat at the end of the First Q with back spasms.
Terrence Ross is listed as probable for tonight after missing the Sixers defeat with a sore hamstring.
Aaron Gordon will still be monitored as he plays through his return from the injury that saw him miss the playoffs. He is still suffering hamstring discomfort.
Chuma Okeke limped off the court in the 76ers defeat. He is expected to be sidelined for multiple weeks with a bone bruise in his left knee.
THE MAGIC LINE-UP
Coach Clifford has opened the season with a consistent starting line-up of Markelle Fultz (16.4 PPG), Evan Fournier (14.8 PPG), Aaron Gordon (11.4 PPG), Dwayne Bacon (8 PPG) and Nikola Vucevic (19.8 PPG). This could change tonight.
From the bench have come Cole Anthony (10 PPG), Michael Carter-Williams (6.4 PPG), Terrence Ross (21 PPG), Chum Okeke (3 PPG), Khem Birch (6.6 PPG), Gary Clark (1.5 PPG), Jordan Bone (4 PPG) and Karim Mane (0 PPG). We will have to wait and see what rotations are available.
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 2nd
SEASON RECORD – 4-1
HOME RECORD – 1-1
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 – 14TH OF 30 (109.9)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 13TH OF 30 (108)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 19TH OF 30 (112.6)
RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – 0-1
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 – 4-1
HIGHEST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 130 – GAME DAY 2 VS WASHINGTON WIZARDS
LEAST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 92 – GAME DAY 5 VS PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
MOST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 120 – GAME DAY 2 VS WASHINGTON WIZARDS
LEAST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 107 – GAME DAY 1 VS MIAMI HEAT
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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KEYS TO GAME FOR OKC FOR ROUND 2
Just be better than we were against Philadelphia. Even with increased injury concerns we have to be better.
If we contain some of the threat from Gilgeous-Alexander (19.5 PPG), Dort (16 PPG), Horford (10.3 PPG), Hill (14.3 PPG) Isaiah Roby (13 PPG)and Muscala (11.8 PPG) then the game is there for the taking.
Tonight a solid Magic defensive game is needed and from there we can build victory. As a defence first team Orlando have made a start few genuinely expected. The truth is though our defence has not been at it’s best yet this season.
Coach Clifford is looking for Orlando to play on offence at a faster pace than previously. This suits Markelle Fultz, who must be better than last time out. He played poorly and our offence stalled. Old bad habits around shot selection returned as the field goal percentage plummeted. When we got good looks from deep the team were inaccurate with 3 ball.
OKC will not roll over and expect them to fight. There are no easy games in the NBA but given a better start facing OKC for round 2 then this is one we can win.
WE BELIEVE IN OUR TEAM!
LET’S GO MAGIC!