Game Day 63 sees the Orlando Magic in Memphis to take on the Grizzlies for the first meeting of the 2020-2021 season. This is no easy task and is the first night of a back-to-back with the Grizzlies, which sees the teams play again tomorrow in Orlando.
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The tip time is shown on the NBA app and Orlando Magic website as being 1:00am here in the UK (8pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
THE MATCHUP FOR THE ORLANDO MAGIC IN MEMPHIS
Memphis played last on Wednesday night in a home defeat to the Portland Trailblazers, by 130-109. Four Memphis players made double figure scoring. Jonas Valanciunas led the Grizzlies in scoring with 19 points. Ja Morant scored only 10 points but had 8 assists. Dillon Brooks scored a solid 18 points and Jaren Jackson Jr 13. Memphis shot only 28.1% with the three ball on 9 of 32 shooting from deep.
The Magic snapped a six game losing streak on Wednesday night in Cleveland, beating the Cavaliers by 109-104. Orlando created a 23 point lead early in the fourth quarter. The Cavs fought and levelled it at 104-104 with 1:03 left. Cole Anthony closed the game out for Orlando, attacking the basket and banking in a tough off-balance shot over Jarrett Allen. Chuma Okeke played well before leaving the game late in the 4th with an ankle twist. Chuma had again scored 18 points on 7 of 12 shooting, including 3 made three’s, Gary Harris led the team on scoring (19 points) and assists ( 7). Cole Anthony produced his 11th double figure scoring game in the 12 played since his return from injury. Cole scored 8 of the Magic’s final 11 points including the winning shot. Moritz Wagner made his Magic debut from the bench.
The Grizzlies have won 13 of 30 games at home this season. Orlando have won 9 of 29 games on the road. Season records see Orlando at 19-43, whilst Memphis are 31-30. Across the last 10 games that each team has played the Grizzlies have a 5-5 record, whilst Orlando are 2-8. Memphis have a two game losing streak and Orlando have won their last game.
Results see Memphis 8th in the Western Conference and Orlando 14th in the Eastern Conference.
The Grizzlies come into the game as the NBA’s 15th ranked offensive team, scoring on average 113.7 points per game. Orlando are 29th with an average of 104.3 points per game.
The Grizzlies have a defensive rating at 9th and sees them conceding 113 points per game. Orlando are 26th and concede 112.6 points per game.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
Offensively they play at a fast pace. They take 17.1 fast break points per game which is the most in the NBA and across their last 3 games this number has been over 27 points per game. The Grizzlies share the ball and get 27 assists per game. Scoring wise 56.3% of Memphis’ points per game come from the 2 ball. Of their 113.7 points per game 56.2 is from inside the paint. Only 29.2% of their points per game is from beyond the arc, being a lower volume 3 point shooting team. Memphis put up 30.9 shots from deep per game, making 11.1 of them. They shoot 46.8% from the field and only 35.8% with the 3 ball. They attempt 21.1 free throws per game, making 16.5. That ratio of made free throws sees an accuracy rate 77.9% and accounts for 14.5% of their points.
They rate 20th in blocks (4.6 per game) but lead the league for steals (9.4 per game). They turn the ball over very little at a rate of 13.2 times per game. On average they foul 19 times per game. Orlando by contrast foul only 17 times per game, the best record in the NBA. 47.2% of opponent points come in the paint and 34.4% is from deep.
They are a dominant rebounding team, rating 7th in total rebounds, 3rd in offensive rebounding and 10th in defensive.
THE MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES SQUAD
Last time out Coach Taylor Jenkins used a starting line-up of Ja Morant (19.5 PPG), Jonas Valanciunas (17 PPG), Grayson Allen (11 PPG), Dillon Brooks (16.7 PPG) and Kyle Anderson (12.1 PPG).
From the bench came Jaren Jackson Jr (15.3 PPG), De’Anthony Melton (10 PPG), Desmond Bane (9.1 PPG) Brandon Clarke (10.1 PPG), Justice Winslow (6.6 PPG), Xavier Tilman (6.8 PPG), Tyus Jones (6.7 PPG), Killian Tillie (2.5 PPG) and John Konchar (3.6 PPG).
As I write according to ESPN the Grizzlies have two players on their injury list. Grayson Allen (11 PPG) is day-to-day and doubtful with a hand injury. Jaren Jackson Jr (15.3 PPG) is out with for injury management.
THE HEAD-TO-HEAD – THE MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
In 47 regular season games played the score stands at 24-23 to Orlando.
This is as said previously the first meeting this season. Orlando saw success by sweeping the series 2-0 last season. The Magic are on a 3 game winning streak in the series and have won 5 of the 6 games played. Prior to this recent success season’s 2015-16 and 2016-17 were both split with each team winning on home court. The Magic win on April 3rd 2016 broke a 9 game winning streak for Memphis.
These two teams have never met in the playoffs.
THE MAGIC INJURY REPORT FOR THE ORLANDO MAGIC IN MEMPHIS
As I write the injury report on ESPN reads:
Chuma Okeke (7.8 PPG) is out and will not play after turning his ankle against Cleveland.
Terrence Ross (15.6 PPG) is listed as out but doubtful with back spasms.
Devin Cannady (4.3 PPG) is out after undergoing surgery for an open dislocated and severely sprained right ankle.
Otto Porter Jr (9.7 PPG) is out with a foot injury and has no timetable for return.
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.
Finally Coach Clifford will miss multiple games after having tested positive for COVID-19.
THE MAGIC LINE-UP FOR THE ORLANDO MAGIC IN MEMPHIS
So far this season Orlando have used 29 starting units, the most in the team’s history. The injury report makes number 30 very likely.
The Magic starting unit against the Cavaliers used by Acting Head Coach Ty Corbin was Cole Anthony (12 PPG), Chuma Okeke (7.8 PPG), James Ennis III (8.6 PPG) Gary Harris (10.6 PPG) and Wendell Carter Jr (11.7 PPG).
From the bench came Dwayne Bacon (10.7 PPG), RJ Hampton (5.1 PPG), Mo Bamba (7.2 PPG), Donta Hall (3.5 PPG) Chasson Randle (5.8 PPG) and Moritz Wagner (5.5 PPG).
RECORD FOR 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 THE ORLANDO MAGIC IN MEMPHIS
For the Orlando Magic in Memphis there is no room for error. Memphis are are balanced team who get production from all parts of their roster. In the absence of Grayson Memphis has lost their most effective three ball shooter. Brooks, Bane and Anderson will require attention though.
However in Ja Morant the Grizzlies have a one man highlight reel, capable of electrifying drives to the baskets and dunks. This sees him draw a lot of fouls and he has attempted 322 free throws in the season (18th in the NBA). He has great court vision and rates 8th in the NBA for assists per game.
Jonas Valanciunas is in the top 20 of all NBA players for 2 point field goals this season with 355. He is 7th for total rebounds (647), 3rd for rebounds per game (12.2) and total offensive rebounds (212), finally on total defensive boards he is 11th (435).
For Orlando stopping second chance points is a must. Wendell Carter Jr is going to be a key factor against Valanciunas.
Orlando must also take care not to get into early foul trouble, particularly with Morant.
The Magic have to take care of the ball. Memphis will force turnovers and are the league leaders in steals and fast break points.
For Orlando success could come from hitting the long ball. Opportunities will always be present for Orlando to score in the paint against a team concede a lot of points there.
The loss of Okeke is huge for a Magic team already short on numbers. If Cole Anthony, Wendell Carter Jr and Gary Harris can get a grip on the game then the Magic will have an opportunity to win. James Ennis III return against Cleveland was important and could be so again tonight
KEY DATES IN THE NBA
Orlando is in a very tight fight for the best lottery position. Houston comfortably hold the worst record. The win in Cleveland and results around sees Orlando tied with Detroit for the 2nd worst record in the NBA. This means Orlando have a 14% chance of landing the number 1 draft pick when the lottery comes. It also means that their pick can be no lower than 6th. A win tonight would move Orlando level with Minnesota.
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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In the latest episode we are joined by Senior Director of Communications for the Orlando Magic, George Galante. As always we review last weeks games and preview the upcoming week and Magic news, and George shares with us his stories about the Dante and Galante Shows, what life is like on the road during the 2020/21 season and what it was like in the final days before the NBA suspended the 2019/20 season last March.
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