After a five game home-stand it is once more to the road and Orlando are back in Chicago to take on the Bulls tonight. This is the first night of a road back-to-back for the Magic.
Last Games And Season Records.
The Orlando Magic
Sunday 30th January – Dallas Mavericks 108 – 110 Orlando Magic
Magic Top Performances – Orlando produced a team performance, outscoring a top 5 defensive team. Scoring was shared, with 7 Magic players reaching double digit scoring.
Chuma Okeke led the team in scoring, as he came from the bench. 19 points came from 7-of-10 shooting. Again defensively he shone and made 3 steals. Franz Wagner went for 18 points. Wendell Carter Jr scored a 14 points 14 rebounds double-double. Cole Anthony had scoring problems again. He failed to make any of his 6 attempts with the three-ball but still recorded 16 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds. Moe Wagner came off the bench to score 14 points. Mo Bamba recorded 10 points, as did Gary Harris. Jalen Suggs struggled on offence but dished out 5 assists, along with strong defensive play that saw him get 2 steals and a block.
Orlando’s record is now 11 wins and 40 losses, seeing the Magic still adrift at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. They also hold the worst record in the NBA. Of the last 10 games played the Magic have won 4, including both the last two played. The home record stands at 5 wins of 23 games played, whilst on the road it is 6 wins in 28 played. In points per game the Magic improved in both categories, scoring 102.5 whilst conceding 110.4. The over all rating for the Magic remains 28th on offence and 21st defensively.
The Chicago Bulls.
Sunday 30th January – Portland Trail Blazers 116 – 130 Chicago Bulls
Bulls Top Performances – Head Coach Billy Donovan saw Nikola Vucevic lead the team with a 24 points and 14 rebounds double-double. Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan scored 20 and 23 points.
Chicago have a record of 31 wins and 18 losses, which sees the Bulls at the top of the Eastern Conference. Of the last 10 games played Chicago have won 4. The home record stands at 18 wins of 24 games played. In points per game the Bulls score 111 whilst conceding 109.2 rating 4th on offence and 20th defensively.
Head-To-Head: The Chicago Bulls
The all time head-to-head record in the 117 regular season games played sees the Magic trailing by 54-63.
This will be the fourth and final meeting of the season. So far the Bulls are ahead 2-1, the Magic winning the most recent match up by 95-114 on January 23rd.
Recent history sees no team dominate. Last season the Magic took the series 2-1, the loss being in the Amway Center, with a win both at home and on the road.
The previous season through the NBA COVID break resulted in the teams meeting only once, Orlando winning the game 95-103 in the Amway Center. The 2018-19 season saw the series split 2 & 2, both teams taking a road and a home win.
In the playoffs the record for games is 6-4 to Chicago, being tied 1-1 for series victories. The Magic famously won 4-2 in the 1995 Eastern Conference Semi-finals, but in 1996 were swept 4-0 in the Conference Final.
Our Opponents – The Chicago Bulls.
The Bulls are a different team to last season, with depth and experience in all positions. That has seen them exceed expectations to top the East.
Coach Billy Donovan has some serious absences. Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, Patrick Williams and Derrick Jones Jr are all out long term on the injury report on ESPN. Javonte Green is day-to-day but is probable.
Starting Unit – Ayo Dosunmu (PG), Zach LaVine (SG), Javonte Green (SF), DeMar DeRozan (PF) Nikola Vucevic (C).
Bench Unit: Coby White, Troy Brown Jr, Matt Thomas, Tony Bradley, Malcolm Hill, Alfonzo McKinnie
The Orlando Magic Injury Report
No change, as you were before for Orlando on ESPN with 5 absences
RJ Hampton is out with a left knee injury.
Markelle Fultz is again shown as out indefinitely with no public timeline for his return.
E’Twaun Moore remains out with a sprained left knee.
Michael Carter-Williams is out after surgery to remove a bone fragment and repair his left ankle ligament.
Jonathan Isaac continues to be out as he rehabilitates from the surgically repaired left knee. There remains no public timeline for his return to the court.
The Magic Lineup As Orlando Are Back In Chicago
As Orlando are back in Chicago Coach Jamahl Mosely is unlikely to make any changes to the starting unit or bench rotations.
Magic Starting Lineup – Cole Anthony (PG), Jalen Suggs (SG), Franz Wagner (SF), Wendell Carter Jr (PF), Mo Bamba (C)
Magic Bench Unit – Gary Harris, Terrence Ross, Chuma Okeke, Moe Wagner, Admiral Schofield (DNP), Ignas Brazdeikis(DNP), Robin Lopez (DNP)
Final Thoughts As Orlando Are Back In Chicago
What Orlando did in January is show progress and potential, despite still having key absences. The Magic earlier in the season would most likely have lost such a close game as against the Mavs. They have learnt from the previous mistakes made. The defence is top 10 rated for the month, defensive rebounds are top five. The starting unit is back to playing strong basketball and the bench is now contributing on both ends also.
Franz Wagner is drawing comparisons with some NBA top players as he continues to show incredible form in his rookie season. His score against Dallas was the 43rd game he has scored double figures in 51 played, having hit 20-points or more on 12 occasions.
Chuma Okeke has been stepping his game up. He has scored double figures in 5 of his last 6 games, averaging 13.3 points on 56.9% shooting overall and 47.4% with his 3-point shooting.
Wendell Carter Jr has shown in his appearances against the Bulls that he relishes the challenge of going against his former team.
In two of the three games against Orlando this season Chicago have shown what they can do. They shoot the ball well, from all points of the court. They have talent. DeMar DeRozan has been tearing up teams all season. Coby White has scored double figures in 17 of the last 21 played. And every Magic fan knows what a double-double machine Nikola Vucevic is.
The game should be an entertaining one.
The tip time from Chicago is shown on the Orlando Magic website as being 1am here in the UK (8pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando). To watch the game live or on demand in the UK today you will need an active NBA League Pass 2021/22 subscription.
Let’s Go Magic!