Opening night on the road for Orlando is a trip to San Antonio to face the Spurs. NBA Season 2021-22 is big for the Magic‘s development!
The tip time is shown on the NBA app and the Orlando Magic website as being 1:30am here in the UK (8:30pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
The Matchup For Opening Night On The Road For Orlando
The Magic finished preseason with a 1-3 losing record. They closed with a win in hard fought one point victory over the Boston Celtics by 102-103 in the Amway Centre last Wednesday. This was the third match to close with a single point margin. Since then Orlando have had a full week of practice.
Preseason saw defence of the paint to be impressive for the Magic. They averaged 10 blocks per game, Mo Bamba claiming 3.8 of them and twice making 5 in a game. Steals (led by Franz Wagner) and deflections were also strong. Orlando also fouled at a low rate, leading to a low rate of opportunities from the free throw line.
Though production was good on offence from deep, concern remains especially from the corners. Cole Anthony and RJ Hampton both shot well from deep, with Bamba and Wendell Carter Jr also showing progress.
San Antonio finished their preseason with a winning 3-2 record, including the win over Orlando. Their final outing was on Friday night with a 98-126 home win over the Houston Rockets. Six Spurs players made double digit scoring, led by Dejounte Murray and Derrick White with 20 apiece. In steam rolling Houston the Spurs shot almost 47% from the field and 38.5% with the three ball.
Our Opponents – The San Antonio Spurs
As highlighted in the preseason game preview the Spurs have seen changes in the off-season. The last remaining member of their championship team; Patty Mills moved on. So did team leader DeMar DeRozan, along with Rudy Gay, Gorgui Dieng and Trey Lyles.
As I write the Spurs are listed on ESPN as having some injury concerns. Zach Collins (F) will not make his Spurs debut until Christmas through a foot injury. Devontae Cacok (PF) is out and Jock Londale (C) is shown as being day-to-day.
Coach Popovich’s starting unit could be Dejounte Murray (PG), Derrick White (SG), Keldon Johnson (SF), Doug McDermott (PF) and Jakob Poetl (C).
Bryn Forbes, Lonnie Walker IV and Thaddeus Young can all have impact off the bench.
Former Orlando Magic player Al-Farouq Aminu (PF) has yesterday been waived by the Spurs as they finalised their squad.
The Orlando Magic Injury Report
At the time of writing ESPN list Orlando as having 5 injury concerns.
Jalen Suggs is on course to return to the team following a non-COVID illness.
E’Twaun Moore will not be available to play after having been diagnosed with a sprained knee.
Chuma Okeke is day-to-day but confirmed as out by Coach Mosely. This is the result of a hip injury described as a bone bruise.
Michael Carter-Williams is out after undergoing surgery to remove a bone fragment and repair his left ankle ligament.
Jonathan Isaac remains out as he rehabilitates from the left knee ACL injury that saw him miss all of last season. JI has in interview said if it was his decision he would be on court.
Markelle Fultz is still out after last season’s left knee ACL tear and subsequent surgery.
The Magic Lineup – Opening Night On The Road For Orlando
Availability allowing Coach Mosely may choose to start Jalen Suggs (PG), Gary Harris (SG), Franz Wagner (SF), Wendell Carter Jr (PF) and Mo Bamba (C).
Preseason has seen multiple variations of starters for the Magic. Opinions do vary on what lineup should take the court. It can be argued that Cole Anthony should be starting ahead of Suggs. It is easy to make a case for Terrence Ross to start at the small forward spot in place of Franz Wagner. If that happens Franz could feature at power forward with Bamba and Carter vying for the centre.
Check Out Other Orlando Magic U.K. Content
On each game day make sure to check Twitter and Facebook to play along with Magic MOments competition. Simply comment with your prediction for each of the five questions we will ask on that night’s game. At the end of the season we will send out a prize to whoever tops the league with the most correct predictions.
The Final Thoughts For Opening Night On The Road For Orlando
On paper and in that preseason game both teams are extremely closely matched. Each play with determination and fight for every possession. The paint and rim defence is valued by Orlando. The Spurs limit fast breaks and try to control game pace. Neither are seen as exceptional offensive teams, especially when it comes to shooting the three. However both teams can at times light it up from beyond the arc. Orlando were ranked 7th during preseason shooting the 3 ball but as mentioned previously struggled from the corners.
This game could be a slug-fest and may come down to a possession or two. Both teams will see this game as very winnable. With a challenging schedule looming for Orlando a strong start to the season is desirable if they hope to defy critics and bookies alike by winning more than the forecasted 20 to 23 games.
LET’S GO MAGIC!