Tonight sees Orlando close preseason at home to Cleveland. The Magic look to make it 4 straight wins against an exciting Cleveland Cavaliers team.
Tonight’s tip time from the Amway Center is shown on the NBA app and the Orlando Magic website as being 12 midnight here in the U.K. (7pm Eastern for our friends in Florida). To watch the game live or on demand you will need an active NBA League Pass subscription.
Your Orlando Magic
As Orlando close preseason at home to Cleveland it is another hard challenge. It is one however the squad will relish against a much fancied team. This will be the first time this preseason that the Magic have faced an Eastern Conference team.
Orlando stand at 3-1 in the preseason so far, having faced three teams from the South West Division of the Western Conference. Each performance has been an improvement of the previous one.
Magic Preseason So Far
Orlando opened their preseason losing 97-109 to the Memphis Grizzlies. A disjointed Magic offence was led by Cole Anthony 17 points. R.J. Hampton scored 14 points and Paolo Banchero contributed 8 points in his NBA preseason debut.
Orlando next took on San Antonio, beating the Spurs 102-99. Wendell Carter Jr recorded a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Franz Wagner weighed in with 12 points as he joined with Paolo Banchero for the first time. Banchero produced a strong box score with 9 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. A Moe Wagner cameo contained his usual enthusiasm and do everything game. RJ Hampton again looked effective and was the spark for the second unit.
The following night the Magic produced a come back win by 110-105 in Dallas. Producing a 40 point second quarter Orlando clawed their way back from a 21 point deficit. Paolo Banchero had 19 points, shooting 6-of-13. Jalen Suggs suffered a lower left leg injury in the first quarter and didn’t return.
On Tuesday night the Magic played their first home game of the preseason winning 105-109, again facing the hugely talented Memphis Grizzlies. In a highly competitive match both teams played their starters for full minutes. All five Magic starters scored in double figures but it was the combination of Franz Wagner, Paolo Banchero and Wendell Carter Jr that shone brightest. Carter finished with 18 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists. Wagner teased at a triple-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists. Banchero scored 17 points and made 9 rebounds. Ross (17 points), Anthony (12 points) and Caleb Houstan (13 points) rounded out the double digit scoring. A final performance of note is that of Bol Bol, who produced 9 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals and a block.
Starting Unit Against Memphis
Last Time Out Bench Unit
Gary Harris is said to be day-to-day following arthroscopic surgery to his torn meniscus of the left knee.
Jonathan Isaac is also day-to-day. A 2 year injury absence is hopefully coming to a close.
Markelle Fultz remains unavailable for the Magic with a toe fracture.
Jalen Suggs is also day-to-day after sustaining a left knee capsule sprain and bone bruise against the Dallas Mavericks. His return to play will depend on how he now responds to treatment. but is involved in some training activities.
Last Season’s Statistics
Record: 22-60, Finished 15th in NBA Eastern Conference.
PTS/G – 104.2 (29th of 30) Opp PTS/G – 112.2 (20th of 30)
Pace – 10th of 30 Off Rtg – 30th of 30 Def Rtg – 17th of 30
Our Opponents – The Cleveland Cavaliers
Coach JB Bickerstaff will field a different looking team to other preseason outings so far.
The Cavs certainly made the league’s biggest move this summer by acquiring Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz. The three-time NBA All-Star has to blend into a team with Darius Garland, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen. If it works it is a talented and balanced unit, featuring strong depth of both youth and experience.
Previous Starting Unit
Darius Garland (PG), Donovan Mitchell (SG), Isaac Okoro (SF), Lamar Stevens (PF), Jarrett Allen (C)
Cedi Osman, Robin Lopez, Raul Neto, Mamadi Diakite, Isaiah Mobley, Nate Hinton, RJ Nembhard Jr, Sharife Cooper
Injury And Absence Report
The Cavaliers have a lot of players who are listed as day-to-day so could make an appearance.
This is the case for Kevin Love (knee), Donovan Mitchell, Caris LeVert, Dean Wade (ankle) and Jamorko Pickett (back).
Ricky Rubio (knee) and Dylan Windlar (ankle) are out.
Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen have not travelled to Orlando so will not play.
Record – 44-38. Finished 8th in the Eastern Conference. Lost in NBA Eastern Conference Play-In Tournament versus the Brooklyn Nets and the Atlanta Hawks.
PTS/G – 108.7 (25th of 30) Opp PTS/G – 105.7 (5th of 30)
Pace – 26th of 30 Off Rtg – 20th of 30 Def Rtg – 7th of 30
Cleveland are a patient team, using the clock and ball movement. Last season saw them shoot a strong over all field goal percentage (46.9%). As an eighth position finish would suggest; they did most things at a league average. Something they excelled at was not fouling, whilst also preventing opponents from getting shots up.
Cleveland stand at a losing 1-2 record so far in their preseason schedule.
It was a loss in their opener in Philadelphia by 112-113. Donovan Mitchell made 16 points on his Cavaliers debut.
Facing 76ers again, this time on home-court Cleveland lost 113-97. Jarrett Allen hit a 19 point, 12 rebound double-double to lead his team.
Cleveland last played on Wednesday night, winning 99-105 over the Atlanta Hawks. Mitchell recorded a game high 24 points, with Darius Garland adding 23 points.
Head-To-Head – The Cleveland Cavaliers
In 118 regular season games played the score stands level at 59-59.
The Cavs took the series last season 2-1, the Magic winning the final meeting. Going into the 2021-22 season Orlando were on a 7 game winning streak, having swept the series over the previous two seasons.
These two teams have famously met once in the playoffs, in 2009, resulting in a 4-2 win for Orlando.
Final Thoughts As Orlando Close Preseason At Home To The Cleveland Cavaliers
This game is all about the final preparations ahead of the season start, which for the Magic is in Detroit on October 19th. Tonight is also Cleveland’s final exhibition game, ahead of their opener in Toronto also on Wednesday night.
As I have written previously preseason is not about results but winning is a great habit to develop. So far the Magic have seen improvements game-on-game in performance, understanding and fitness.
The team will look to be competitive and get a strong workout against strong opposition, whilst avoiding any new injuries.
One final thing the British invasion of the Amway Center begins tonight. So if you are at the game say “hi” to our great friend Angus Craig who will be sat in block 108, row 8, seat 8.
Let’s Go Magic!