ORLANDO MAGIC 90 – 99 LA CLIPPERS
Orlando Magic basketball returned last night after an enforced hiatus since March 11th. It was a good run out for the team & a first chance to shake away the cobwebs.
This scrimmage game with the Clippers didn’t give us full NBA basketball as it was clear each team eased themselves back onto the court. Markelle Fultz & the still injured Jonathan Isaac were absent for Orlando. The Clippers had Patrick Beverley, Montrezl Harrell, Landry Shamet & Ivica Zubac missing.
Each team played all of their available players in the match. In a change to the norm quarters consisted of 10 minutes instead of the regular 12 minutes. That shortening has been because of the desire to avoid injury. With the length & nature of the lay off many players have been unable to maintain their usual fitness.
THE MAGIC TAKEAWAYS
On the night we were led by Nikola Vucevic with his 18 points & 10 rebounds on just under 21 minutes of play. Michael Carter-Williams weighed in with 16 points on 54.5% shooting. Aaron Gordon hit 13 points from his 5 of 9 field goals. Terence Ross scored a somewhat inefficient 14 points on 3 of 9 shooting. Evan Fournier had a poor shooting night as he tried to find his offensive groove.
We all wanted to see the newly bulked up Mo Bamba. He was on a minutes restriction as he is allowed time to become used to playing at his new weight. In those 6 minutes of play he scored 2 points, made a block & took 2 rebounds.
The starters were withdrawn late in the 3rd quarter. Unfortunately our bench outside of Ross & MCW didn’t contribute over effectively. The final minutes of the game fizzled out as we saw a line up featuring Melvin Frazier Jr, BJ Johnson, Vic Law, Khem Birch & Wes Iwundu.
The Magic led after the 1st 26-21. A 16-32 second quarter was disappointing, being hurt by multiple 3’s at the hands of Lou Williams, Patrick Patterson, Kawhi Leonard & Paul George. Steadily the lead had grown to a high of 13 points for the Clippers before the deficit was clawed back, being only 3 points early in the 4th.
THE BIGGER PICTURE
This was an exhibition game designed to improve fitness & game readiness for the whole squad. The result ultimately did not matter. Something to note is that the Magic face in these 3 scrimmage games the top 3 Western Conference teams, with the Lakers & Nuggets still to come. Playing teams of this calibre cannot harm our sharpness & readiness for facing the Brooklyn Nets when play resumes properly for us on August 1st.
Importantly Orlando came away from this game having played some good minutes against a strongly fancied team. We had no injuries. Happily & unlike the Nets we did not take a demoralising drubbing.
We play the LA Lakers on Saturday with a UK tip time of 5pm. Again this will be available to watch on the NBA League Pass.