On Magic Game Day 46 Orlando are home to face Portland. The Trail Blazers will be a tough match for a Magic team seeking winning form. Anfernee Simons, Jusuf Nurkic and a returning CJ McCollum are all challenging match-ups.
There could be a good crowd in the Amway Center tonight as it is a US National Holiday for Martin Luther King Day. The tip time from Orlando is shown on the Orlando Magic website as being midnight here in the UK (7pm 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.
So ahead of the tip off we take a look at tonight’s match up, the history and what to expect.
Last Games And Season Records.
Saturday 15th January – Orlando Magic 92 – 108 Dallas Mavericks.
Magic Top Performances – Robin Lopez joint led the Magic scoring with 16 points, making 8 of his 9 field goal attempts. Jalen Suggs continued where he left off in Charlotte. Also registering 16 points he played with determination and strength. Moe Wagner was the third Magic player to score 16 points. As always he was the thorn that got under the opposition skin. Cole Anthony was the only other Magic player to make double-digit scoring with 12 points.
Orlando’s record is now 8 wins and 36 losses, which sees the Magic remain last in the Eastern Conference. Of the last 10 games played the Magic have won 1. The home record stands at 2 wins of 17 games played, whilst on the road it is 6 wins in 27 played. In points per game the Magic score 101.9 whilst conceding 110.8, rating 28th on offence and 24th defensively.
Saturday 15th January – Portland Trail Blazers 115 – 110 Washington Wizards. Anfernee Simons showed his ability, again leading the scoring for Portland with 31 points in the absence of Damian Lillard.
Portland’s record is 17 wins and 25 losses, seeing them 10th in the Western Conference. Of the last 10 games played they have won 4 times, including their last game. At home Portland have a decent record at 14 wins in 25 games played. On the road is a different matter, with just 3 wins in 17 played. In points per game the Trail Blazers score 108.9 whilst conceding 113.1, rating 11th on offence and 30th defensively.
Head-To-Head – The Portland Trail Blazers
The all time head-to-head record in the 63 regular season games played sees the Magic trailing by 25-38.
Our recent record with the Trail Blazers is far from good. Portland have won the last 9 games played, sweeping the series over each of the last 4 seasons. Orlando’s last victory over Portland was on January 13th 2017 in the Moda Center. For a win in the Amway Center for Orlando you have to go back to December 18th 2015.
The teams have never met in the playoffs.
Our Opponents – The Portland Trail Blazers
Head coach Chauncey Billups has not had the easiest first season in charge of Portland through injury absences to major players. The most obvious is Damian Lillard electing to have abdominal surgery. Since he exited the team Portland at first struggled but have found a way to get results. Portland are now 5-8 in games that Dame has been inactive this season. Lillard has missed every game since the start of 2022, a stretch that has also seen CJ McCollum, Norman Powell, Cody Zeller and Larry Nance Jr out in part.
However tonight should see CJ McCollum return after clearing the NBA Covid protocol. Norman Powell is questionable, as is CJ Elleby. Damian Lillard, Cody Zeller and Larry Nance Jr all remain out.
Last Portland Starting Unit – Anfernee Simons (PG), Ben McLemore (SG), Nassir Little (SF), Robert Covington (PF), Jusuf Nurkic (C)
Last Portland Bench Unit – Dennis Smith Jr, Tony Snell, CJ Elleby, Trendon Watford, Keljin Blevins
The Orlando Magic Injury Report
ESPN still has some big players absent as Orlando are home to face Portland.
Wendell Carter Jr remains out with a sore left hamstring.
Markelle Fultz has again been training with the Lakeland Magic as he rehabs the knee. There remains 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. He is said to be making steady progress. There remains no public timeline for his return to the court.
The Magic Lineup As Orlando Are Home To Face Portland
Magic Head Coach Jamahl Mosley may field an unchanged team. However Bamba could return to the starting centre position after having returned against Dallas.
Magic Starting Lineup – Cole Anthony (PG), Gary Harris (SG), Franz Wagner (SF), Chuma Okeke (PF), Robin Lopez (C)
Magic Bench Unit –Jalen Suggs, Mo Bamba, Terrence Ross, Moe Wagner, RJ Hampton, Admiral Schofield, Ignas Brazdeikis
As Orlando Are Home To Face Portland Some Final Thoughts
Orlando’s offence will need to be better across the team than we saw against Dallas. Cole Anthony, Franz Wagner, Gary Harris and Terrence Ross all had a poorer night shooting the ball. It fell to Moe Wagner, Jalen Suggs and Robin Lopez to carry that torch.
However against the NBA’s worst rated defence tonight could be an opportunity to refocus. Even after a less effective game in Dallas Franz Wagner will draw Portland’s attention. He has scored double figures in 37 of his 44 NBA games, including attaining 20-points or more on 10 occasions. Gary Harris has a run of double-digit scoring, standing at 20 in his last 22 games. Cole Anthony and Terrence Ross are too good to have continued struggles, if one goes through the hoop then confidence gets high for each.
Chuma Okeke again showed improvement in form as part of the starting unit. That must continue, with a solid defence and an effective offensive contribution. Jalen Suggs has played two strong games since his return. He is playing with strength and determination.
Finally, Moe Wagner, Robin Lopez and Mo Bamba as the big men have the opportunity to get strong games. Only Bamba has been struggling to score of the three but as we saw in the early season he can carry a scoring threat, to go with the shot blocking ability.
As so often this season inaccuracies with the three-ball, fouls and turnovers were a huge part of Orlando’s downfall in Dallas. A low scoring game saw Orlando register less than 27% when shooting from deep. The Mavericks took 38 free throws amassing a 32 point haul from it. The 15 turnovers committed by Orlando gave Dallas a further 21 points. Against a team not renowned for rebounding the Magic were outplayed on the glass at both ends, seeing Dallas grab 12 offensive rebounds. This has to improve or it will be a long night. Portland get steals and shoot a high amount of free throws per game but are another low ranked rebounding team.
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