The final week of the NBA regular season is here. As Orlando host the New York Knicks it is all about playing the odds for the draft lottery. Neither the Knicks nor the Magic are bound for the playoffs, both already being eliminated from contention.
The tip time from City Beautiful is shown on the Orlando Magic website as being 11pm here in the U.K. (6pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando). To watch the game live or on demand you will need an active NBA League Pass subscription.
Season Record And Last Time Out
The Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic trailed the Toronto Raptors all game, eventually losing 102-89 in the Amway Center. This was an ugly game to watch as a Magic fan as our shooting faltered badly. Persistent turnovers saw the Raptors benefit from easy scoring all night. Orlando were thrown offensively inside 15 seconds of the game as Franz Wagner turned his ankle and did not return. The Raptors took a 13-point lead into halftime but were forced to play their starters to the final buzzer through the Magic’s refusal to quit.
The Magic were led by a double-double from Mo Bamba with 15 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high 6 assists. Ignas Brazdeikis produced 13 points to tie his season high. Markelle Fultz again filled the stat sheet effectively in limited minutes, registering 12 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals. They were the only three Magic players to score in double figures. Finally of note was the season debut and return to the squad of guard Devin Cannady. He scored 9 points, shooting 42.9% from deep (3 of 7).
After tonight the Magic have just 3 games remaining. Orlando’s record for the season is a dismal 20 wins and 58 losses. The Magic remain last in the Eastern Conference, the record tied with only the Houston Rockets. Over the last 10 games played the Magic have won 2, having lost 5 games consecutively. The home record stands at 10 wins of 38 games played. On the road the record is 10 wins in 40 games played. Points per game sees the Magic scoring 104, whilst conceding 111.9.
The New York Knicks
The Knicks are on the second night of a back-to-back. Last night in the Madison Square Garden; New York fell 119-101 to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Obi Toppin led the Knicks in scoring with 20 points, followed by 19 from former Magic favourite Evan Fournier. Immanuel Quickley (17 points), RJ Barrett (12 points) and Alec Burks (11 points) rounded out the double figure scoring.
New York also have 3 games remaining after tonight. Their record for the season is 34 wins and 44 losses. The Knicks dropped away after early promise and sit 12th in the Eastern Conference. Over the last 10 games played the Knicks have won 6, but losing the last 2 games. The road record stands at 18 wins of 39 games played. Points per game sees the Knicks performing better than the Magic in both categories, scoring 106.4 whilst conceding 107.1
Head-To-Head: The New York Knicks
This will be the fourth meeting of the season between the teams, all others coming within the opening weeks. The Magic lost their home opener by 121-96 on Game Day 2 in the Amway Center. Julius Randle led the team, assisted by Evan Fournier as a total of 7 Knicks players made double digit scoring, on a superb shooting display. Orlando then won in New York on Game Day 3 by 110-104, Cole Anthony lighting it up on the court where his dad played. November 17th was a 104-98 road win for Orlando, producing a team performance led by Terrence Ross and Cole Anthony.
The teams met three times last season in what were mostly scrappy games. Orlando lost the series 2-1.
Across the 122 regular season games played the Magic lead 63-59. The teams have never met in the playoffs.
Our Opponents – The New York Knicks
Head Coach Tom Thibodeau has been using a different line up, enforced through injury. Derrick Rose, Julius Randle, Nerlans Noel and Cam Reddish are all listed on ESPN as out. Quentin Grimes and Miles McBride are both questionable.
Last Starting Unit – Evan Fournier (PG), Alec Burks (SG), RJ Barrett (SF), Obi Toppin (PF), Mitchell Robinson (C)
Bench Unit – Immanuel Quickley, Taj Gibson. Ryan Arcidiacono, Jericho Sims, Feron Hunt (DNP), Kemba Walker (DNP)
The Orlando Magic Lineup And Injury Report
Coach Jamahl Mosely will be awaiting updates from his medical staff. The team will be without Wendell Carter Jr, Jalen Suggs, Jonathan Isaac and Bol Bol again, as all remain out. There are questions around the availability of Cole Anthony, Franz Wagner and Admiral Schofield.
Final Thoughts As Orlando Host The New York Knicks
As Orlando host the New York Knicks it is as we said at the start all about playing the odds for the draft lottery. Our record sees us holding one of the three best odds for landing the top pick in the Draft. Our closest competitors for the bottom position (Houston, Detroit and OKC) all play tonight.
Neither the Knicks nor the Magic have any incentive to play hard, that does not mean that neither will. What is certain is that if there is any doubt to our day-to-day players they will not feature. The rolled ankle suffered by Franz could see him miss his first ever NBA game.
Keep the faith Magic fans, not much longer before we close the books on this season!