On Magic Game Day 70 it is fair to say Orlando face a challenge as Brooklyn visit. The Nets are aiming to snatch an automatic playoff spot but look destined for the play-in tournament.
To watch the game live or on demand in the UK you will need an active NBA League Pass subscription. The tip time from Downtown Orlando is shown on the Orlando Magic website as being 11pm here in the UK (7pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
Time to take a look at tonight’s matchup as the Magic play their third game of a six game homestand.
Season Record And Last Time Out
The Orlando Magic
Last time out Orlando fell in overtime to the Philadelphia 76ers by 116-114 loss on Sunday at Amway Center. The game was a thriller spoilt by some uneven officiating as Joel Embiid and James Harden shared 32 of Philly’s 37 free throw attempts. Cole Anthony drilled three consecutive 3-pointers in the extra 5 minutes but was unable to convert a potential game-winning 3, that hit the rim at the buzzer.
Wendell Carter Jr recorded 23 points and 12 rebounds for his 31st double-double of the season. He also made 3 blocks. Markelle Fultz dished out 11 assists in 19 minutes played, to go with 8 points and 2 steals. Cole Anthony had 19 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists. Chuma Okeke contributed 13 points, RJ Hampton 11 and Moe Wagner an impactful 10 points. Jalen Suggs had to leave the game as his ankle injury flared. In 22 minutes played he’d added 10 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, a block and a steal.
After that loss to Philly the Magic hold a record of 18 wins and 51 losses. This still sees the Magic last in the Eastern Conference. Houston continue hold the worst record in the NBA by virtue of having played and lost a game less. Over the last 10 games played the Magic have won 5. The home record stands at 8 wins of 32 games played. On the road the record is 10 wins in 37 games played. Points per game sees the Magic scoring 104.2, whilst conceding 111.7.
Orlando and Detroit are now both eliminated from playoff contention.
The Brooklyn Nets
Also on Sunday in the battle for New York bragging rights the Nets beat the Knicks 107-110. Kevin Durant put on a masterclass as he shot the ball for 53 points, adding 9 assists, 6 rebounds and 2 steals. Andre Drummond contributed an 18 point and 10 rebound double-double. Further support came from Bruce Brown and Nic Claxton with respective tallies of 15 and 10 points.
The Brooklyn Nets have dropped from the top of the East, which was where they sat when we last met in December. They now hold a record of 35 wins and 33 losses. The Nets are now sat at 8th in the Eastern Conference, being 3 games back of Toronto (7th) and 4 off Cleveland (6th). Of the last 10 games played Brooklyn have won 4, being on a 3 game winning run. The Nets road record stands at 21 wins of 36 games played. In points per game the Nets score 111.3 whilst conceding 111.7.
Head-To-Head – The Brooklyn Nets
These two teams have played 123 regular season games but never met in the playoffs. The regular season record sees Orlando ahead 68-55.
Orlando face a challenge as Brooklyn visit in what will be the last meeting of the season, having played three times. On Game Day 12 in the Amway Center, it was not a fun game for Magic fans! The Nets ran out winners by 123-90. A 30-point performance from Kevin Durant, on 11-of-12 shooting catapulted them to victory. James Harden also notched a triple-double. Game Day 16 in Brooklyn saw the Magic with a 19 point first half lead, after Jalen Suggs erupted for 17 first quarter points. But the Nets dominated the second and third quarters on their way to beating the Magic 115-113 with a lot of help from officials. The third game on December 18th was won by Orlando in Brooklyn by 100-93. Both teams were at this point depleted. Chuma Okeke was influential getting 2 blocks and 2 steals to go with 15 points.
Last season Brooklyn won the three game series 2-1, each team winning on home court. The 2019-20 season had seen Orlando take it 3-1. No season has been a swept since 2016-16.
Our Opponents – The Brooklyn Nets
Head Coach Steve Nash is facing a constant changes in his Nets starting unit with Kyrie Irving unable to play any home games. They are also have different personnel since previously playing, James Harden, Paul Millsap, Langston Galloway, DeAndre Bembry, Jevon Carter and James Ennis III having gone. Into the fold have come Goran Dragic, Ben Simmons, Seth Curry and Andre Drummond.
ESPN shows that the Nets are again dealing with injury disruption. Seth Curry and David Duke are both questionable. Out are LaMarcus Aldridge, Joe Harris and Ben Simmons.
Kyrie Irving is available to play tonight so will start, seeing Goran Dragic drop to the bench.
Last Starting Unit: Goran Dragic (PG), Patty Mills (SG), Bruce Brown (PF), Kevin Durant (SF), Andre Drummond (C)
Last Bench Unit: James Johnson, Nic Claxton, Cam Thomas, Blake Griffin (DNP), Kessler Edwards (DNP), Day’Ron Sharpe (DNP)
The Orlando Magic Lineup And Injury Report
Injury Report – Coach Jamahl Mosely will be making a change to start. Jalen Suggs is out with the ankle issue that has troubled him recently. RJ Hampton will start in his place. Jonathan Isaac (knee) and Bol Bol (foot) are both out for the rest of the season.
Last Magic Starting Lineup – Cole Anthony (PG), Jalen Suggs (SG), Franz Wagner (SF), Wendell Carter Jr (PF), Mo Bamba (C)
Magic Bench Unit – Markelle Fultz, RJ Hampton, Chuma Okeke, Moe Wagner, Gary Harris, Terrence Ross (DNP), Robin Lopez (DNP), Admiral Schofield (DNP), Ignas Brazdeikis (DNP)
Final Thoughts As Orlando Face A Challenge As Brooklyn Visit
The Nets as with the Magic have been decimated through the season by persistent and multiple injuries. It has hurt their record but come the post season they are likely to still be in the mix and dangerous.
Brooklyn have a lethal one-two punch in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Durant is an isolation scoring genius who can shoot over anybody. Irving has incredible handles and shot creation abilities. Outside of this the Nets need production from Andre Drummond, who is an excellent rebounder.
The Magic must be ready. Defence will be the key for the Magic, who need to keep this game low-scoring to be in with any chance.
The Nets three point shooting is not constant but it is accurate. Over all they have the 6th best field goal percentage. Their offence is based on constant ball movement, seeing them get a lot of assists.
Again Wendell Carter Jr will be a major factor in deciding this game. Defensively, he will have the challenge of marking Durant. He will need to contest every shot to make KD work for his points. Offensively, Carter Jr will need to work the boards. Since the All-Star break, Carter Jr is averaging 19.1 PPG, 12.0 RPG, and 2.9 APG on 57.6 FG%.
Getting a few early fouls on KD and forcing him into less minutes would help.
Coach Mosely will trust and test his youthful squad again one of the league’s best. Do not expect to see Markelle Fultz to be involved for more than the near 20 minutes he has been playing as he continues to come back from the injury.
Let’s Go Magic!