It is Game Day 8 and it sees the Orlando Magic face Cleveland again. With the upcoming schedule Orlando need to take a morale boosting win.
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 have 5 wins this season. The wins came in battling games against Miami, Washington twice, Oklahoma. The final win came last time out over the Cleveland, being the team’s first blowout home win of the season.
Defeat has been to Philadelphia and to Oklahoma.
It can not be underestimated how good Nikola Vucevic has been for the team. He has 5 double-doubles. Of 775 Magic points Vooch has scored 152 of them. He has 60 field goals, which is tied with Paul George and Brandon Ingram. He has made 77 of the team’s 343 rebounds. Vooch is tied 6th in total defensive rebounds in the NBA. Averaging 11 rebounds per game Vooch is 10th in the NBA. The performances result in his being 5th in the NBA for player efficiency , bettered by only James Harden, Nikola Jokic, Stephen Curry and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Finally in the box plus/minus category Vooch is 2nd at a plus of 9.3, only bettered by Jokic.
THE MATCHUP AS ORLANDO MAGIC FACE CLEVELAND AGAIN
Injury is a factor for both teams as the Orlando Magic face Cleveland again. We will look at this in detail later but Orlando will change the starting line-up again tonight as Michael Carter- Williams is out.
Cleveland, like Orlando have started the season beyond what many felt they were capable of. In our preview of the Eastern Conference we also saw the Cavaliers as being a struggling team. Our take was that the Cavs are not likely to trouble the postseason positions.
The Cavaliers have some quality young players who give it everything. They can be a tenacious and stubborn opponent. There are players on the roster who are capable of scoring the ball and playing strong defence.
Orlando are seeking a win to build from that of Monday over the Cavs. The schedule ahead for Orlando is a tough one so a win tonight is essential. After this matchup Orlando head to Texas to face Houston and Dallas. They then return to the Amway to take on the Bucks. The Magic then take a 6 game road trip to face Boston twice, Brooklyn, New York, Minnesota and Indiana.
GAME DAY 8 OPPONENTS – CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
Last season they had a 19-46 record, ending 15th in the Eastern Conference. That saw them finishing 25th in NBA Offensive Ratings and 29th in Defensive Rating. They drafted much rated forward Isaac Okoro at No. 5. The front office also brought in JaVale McGee and Thon Maker.
A season start of 4-3 has resulted in Cleveland being 2nd in the Defensive Rating (103) and 28th on offense (102.5). They sit 5th in the Eastern Conference.
Last time out Coach JB Bickerstaff saw his Cleveland team lose in the Amway to our Magic 83-103. Prior to that game they had held the Hawks under 100 points.
The Cavaliers starting line-up on Monday was Larry Nance Jr (8.3 PPG), Colin Sexton (25.7 PPG), Dante Exum (3.8 PPG), Damyean Dotson (6 PPG) and Andre Drummond (16 PPG).
From the bench came JaVale McGee (9.3 PPG), Cedi Osman (12.1 PPG), Thon Maker (3.3 PPG), Dean Wade (1.7 PPG), Marquis Boldon (1.3 PPG) and Lamar Stevens (2.7 PPG).
As I write according to ESPN the Cavaliers have an extensive injury list. To start Dante Exum left the game in the first quarter on Monday night. He is out for up to two months with a painful looking calf strain. Matthew Dellavedova is out with concussion. Kevin Porter Jr is out for a personal matter. Darius Garland is out with a shoulder strain. Kevin Love is out long term to a calf injury. Dylan Windler has a wrist fracture and is therefore out. Isaac Okoro is no longer on the Cavs injury report but is still shown on ESPN as questionable with a foot injury.
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS VS ORLANDO MAGIC – THE HEAD-TO-HEAD HISTORY
In 113 regular season games played the score stands at 57-56 to Cleveland. Orlando are on a 5 game winning streak, sweeping the series 3-0 last season.
These games are often close affairs. One of my favourite moments in the Amway was the Evan Fournier buzzer beating winner from November 2018. .
These two teams have famously met once in the playoffs, in 2009, resulting in a 4-2 win for Orlando.
THE MAGIC INJURY REPORT
There are 5 injuries for us to look at.
For some time to come there will be no change on the absence of Jonathan Isaac and Al-Farouq Aminu, both being long term and out indefinitely.
Chum Okeke (3 PPG) limped off the court in the 76ers defeat. He is expected to be absent from the rotations for multiple weeks with a bone bruise in his left knee.
Michael Carter-Williams is day-to-day with a sore foot but will not play tonight.
Evan Fournier (14.8 PPG) is now listed as day-to-day but is questionable for tonight with the back spasm issue that saw him withdraw from the Sixers defeat and miss the last two games totally.
James Ennis is no longer listed on the Magic injury report. His involvement is now a question of conditioning after his lengthy hamstring injury.
THE MAGIC LINE-UP
For the last two games Coach Clifford was forced into a change from the consistent starting line-up of Markelle Fultz (14.3 PPG), Evan Fournier (14.8 PPG), Aaron Gordon (13.7 PPG), Dwayne Bacon (7.6 PPG) and Nikola Vucevic (21.7 PPG).
Michael Carter-Williams (5.1 PPG) stepped into the Fournier slot but is now out so a change will come again. Could Evan return to the role tonight? If not Coach Clifford will have to use his third different starting unit of the season.
From the bench can come Cole Anthony (8.7 PPG), Terrence Ross (20.8 PPG), Khem Birch (7.1 PPG), Gary Clark (2.3 PPG), Jordan Bone (2 PPG) and Karim Mane (0 PPG). There is finally also available Mo Bamba (0 PPG) who made his return last game.
Could Cole Anthony get his first NBA start? We will have to wait and see what the starting unit is and what rotations are available.
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 2nd
SEASON RECORD – 5-2
HOME RECORD – 2-2
ROAD RECORD – 3-0
RECORD LEADING AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER – 2-1
WHEN LEADING AT HALF TIME – 5-0
AND WHEN LEADING GOING INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER – 3-0
NBA OFFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 17TH OF 30 (108.3)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 6TH OF 30 (105.4)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 9TH OF 30 (107.7)
RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – 0-2
WHEN SCORING MORE THAN 100 POINTS – 5-0
WHEN SCORING 110 POINTS OR MORE – 4-0
AND WHEN SCORING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 2-0
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 100 POINTS OR LESS – 1-0
WHEN CONCEDING 110 POINTS OR LESS – 3-1
AND WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR LESS – 5-2
LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY – 20 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
LARGEST MARGIN OF DEFEAT – 24 – GAME DAY 5 PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
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 – 83 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
Check out our podcast Penny For Your Thoughts !
In the latest episode we are joined by special guest, host and presenter from the Orlando Magic Mackenzie Thirkill. We recap losses to the Sixers and Thunder, before a blowout win against the Cleveland Cavaliers. We look ahead to the next three Magic games against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks. Plus Mackenzie explains what it is like working for the Orlando Magic.
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KEYS TO THE GAME AS ORLANDO MAGIC FACE CLEVELAND AGAIN
As the Orlando Magic face Cleveland again we will pretty much take the same as on Monday night!
On the season Orlando are shooting a field goal percentage of 43.8% which is 26th in the NBA. The poor shooting translates to a stat that Orlando are last in the NBA for 3 pointers made.
A solid Magic defence is needed again. It has not been at it’s best yet this season. Orlando rank 29th in blocking shots.
Coach Clifford has the offence playing at a fast pace. In driving to the basket Orlando are finding some success but too many are being squandered. If we can draw a foul call from these drives then Orlando are knocking free throws down at over 83% on the season. That is the highest rate in the NBA and Cole Anthony is hitting 95% of his (19 of 20 attempts).
Be under no illusion the Cavaliers have come to fight and to win. With every respect to Cleveland if the Magic are to push for the post-season and avoid the play-in tournament then Cleveland are a team we have to be beating.
In basketball no team can be contained entirely, some shots are going to be made. With the Cleveland defensive strength Orlando can not afford to allow the offence to begin rolling as well. Larry Nance Jr, Colin Sexton, Andre Drummond, JaVale McGee and Cedi Osman are all capable of scoring.
WE BELIEVE IN OUR TEAM!
LET’S GO MAGIC!