The first night of a back-to-back saw Orlando fall to defeat in Chicago by 115-126. It was a hugely entertaining game to watch as the Magic went toe-to-toe with the Eastern Conference leading Chicago Bulls.
A high scoring first half saw Orlando trail going into the break by 63-70. Defence wasn’t Orlando’s strength having given up 103 points going into the final frame. With 6 minutes to play Cole Anthony dived to recover a loose ball, a play that saw Orlando level the score at 113-113 having trailed by double digits. Ultimately as Orlando went cold in the final 5 minutes an 11-0 Bulls run would be decisive.
For Chicago both Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan were superb on the attack, finishing with game leading 26 and 29 points respectively. The acquisition of DeRozan has been an inspired move by the Bulls front office.
Rebounding on the defensive end was an issue for the Magic (particularly in the first half), seeing Orlando concede too many second chance points. There was a huge disparity in the free throw attempts the Magic shooting only 11 compared to the Bulls 29 attempts, resulting in an advantage of 14 points to the Bulls in a game lost by 11 (just saying).
Magic Top Performers
Wendell Carter Jr again showed he relishes the opportunity to go against his former team. He led Orlando in scoring with 24 points.
Franz Wagner is so good! His ability to create himself a shot is something teams are struggling to contain. Here comes the statistic again…a 22 point scoring performance was the 44th game he has scored double figures in 52 played, having hit 20-points or more on 13 occasions.
Chuma Okeke on defence is proving invaluable, with 3 blocks and 2 steals on the night. His positioning and determined application to the task may not show in the boxscore but often results in his opponent having to find a pass.
Cole Anthony had hustle. He made a steal on LaVine in third quarter hitting the resulting opportunity from deep that typified his night. By the close he had 20 points and had been much more efficient on offence than of late. He also added 9 assists.
Up Next After Orlando Fall To Defeat In Chicago
Orlando’s record is now 11 wins and 41 losses, seeing the Magic sitting at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. We hold the worst over all record in the NBA. Of the last 10 games played the Magic have won 4. The home record stands at 5 wins of 23 games played, whilst on the road it is 6 wins in 29 played. In points per game the Magic are scoring 102.8 whilst conceding 110.7. The efficiency rating for the Magic remains 28th on offence and 21st defensively.
Orlando now travel to take on the Indiana Pacers tonight (Wednesday 2nd February) on the second night of this back-to-back. It will be the first meeting this season of three games between the two teams.
The Indiana Pacers
Monday 31st January – LA Clippers 116 – 122 Indiana Pacers
The Pacers were led with a 26 points 10 rebounds double-double from Isaiah Jackson. Caris LeVert had 17 points, Duane Washington contributed 16 points, whilst Terry Taylor weighed in with a further 15 points. The Pacers shot over 52% from the field and in excess of 48% from the three. They also won the rebound battle comfortably. As a team they produced 31 total assists.
Indiana have a record of 19 wins and 33 losses, which sees the Pacers surprisingly off the pace being at 13th in the Eastern Conference. Of the last 10 games played Indiana have won 4. The home record stands at 13 wins of 26 games played. In points per game the Pacers score 108.9 whilst conceding 110.8, rating 17th on offence and 25th defensively.
Experienced head coach Rick Carlisle extensive absences to key players.
Starting Unit – Caris LeVert (PG), Chris Duarte (SG), Justin Holiday (SF), Torrey Craig (PF) Isaiah Jackson (C).
Bench Unit: Jeremy Lamb, Duane Washington Jr, Terry Taylor, Lance Stephenson, Keifer Sykes
Injury Absences – Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner, Malcolm Brogdon, TJ McConnell, TJ Warren, Goga Bitadze, Oshea Brissett.
Josh Cohen’s game reviews are available on the Orlando Magic website.