Orlando take on the Timberwolves tonight on Magic Game Day 8. The Magic are desperate to break the losing streak that sees a 1-6 record.
The tip time is shown on the Orlando Magic website as being 12:00 midnight here in the UK (7:00pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
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The Matchup For Game Day 8 As Orlando Take On The Timberwolves
Last time out Orlando put in a disappointing performance on the second night of a back-to-back. A frustrating final quarter and a half cost the Magic as Detroit earned their first win of the season in Cade Cunningham’s NBA debut. The final score of 103-110 was a fair reward for the Pistons. Once again turnovers and an inability to prevent second chance opportunities was fateful to Orlando’s chances.
Franz Wagner led the Magic with 19 points, and continued to show his versatility on the floor creating and scoring as well as being a solid defender. Mo Bamba was less productive with 10 points and only 3 rebounds. Cole Anthony managed a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Jalen Suggs struggled from the floor shooting 3 of 13 for 10 points but was strong defensively.
Minnesota also last played on Saturday night, a home court matchup with the Denver Nuggets. A tight game throughout with many ties and lead changes saw Denver win 93-91, on the back of a dominant performance by Nikola Jokic. For the T’Wolves Malik Beasley led the team, coming off the bench for 18 points. The starters were lead by a double-double from Anthony Edwards, with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Records For The Season So Far
In the early NBA standings Orlando sit 14th in the Eastern Conference, tied for the bottom spot with the Indiana Pacers with a losing 1-6 record. In the Western Conference Minnesota are 5th with a winning 3-2 record.
A 4 game losing streak and statistics show a struggling Orlando team. They are not scoring sufficiently (average of 102.3 points per game) to counter conceding an average of 113.6 points per game. Turnovers and second chance points have been a problem for Orlando so far. When combined with an inability to defend the 3 it has seen teams put on scoring runs that have hurt the Magic.
The Timberwolves have kept teams to a much lower points total of 100.6 per game, playing some excellent defence. It sees them rank in the top 4 teams for both blocks and steals. Minnesota have the NBA’s second best success defending the three ball. On offence they live and die by the three having taken a league high 212 attempts, with a success rate of 32.5%.
Head-To-Head – The Minnesota Timberwolves
Anyone remember what happened last time Orlando were in the T’Wolves house? Cole Anthony does!! That three point dagger at the buzzer gave Orlando a 97-96 win, to take a 4th straight win over Minnesota. The Timberwolves came to the Amway Center later in the season and dismantled the Magic 128-96 to split the series 1-1.
History is with us on this one. The all time head-to-head record in the 61 regular season games played sees the Magic leading by 40-23.
The teams have never met in the playoffs.
Our Opponents – The Minnesota Timberwolves
Do not underestimate our opponents, they have a strong squad, bursting with talent.
Head Coach Chris Finch took charge during last season, ending with a 16-25 record. This is his first full season in charge.
A starting unit of D’Angelo Russell (PG), Anthony Edwards (SG), Jarred Vanderbilt (PF), Jalen McDaniels (SF) and Karl Anthony Towns (C) has experience, strength and ability. D.Lo, KAT and Edwards have all had excellent starts to the season and sees Towns up with the NBA’s leaders for blocks made.
Pat Beverley leads the bench unit with his aggressive guard play. The bench also features Malik Beasley, Naz Reid, Josh Okogie and Taurean Prince.
At the time of writing ESPN shows that the Timberwolves have no injury concerns.
The Orlando Magic Injury Report
At the time of writing ESPN show Orlando as still having some absences.
Gary Harris is a new addition and questionable for tonight with a left ankle sprain.
E’Twaun Moore remains out, diagnosed with a left sprained knee.
Michael Carter-Williams is out after undergoing surgery to remove a bone fragment and repair his left ankle ligament.
Jonathan Isaac continues to be out as he rehabilitates from a left knee ACL injury that saw him miss all of last season.
Markelle Fultz is still out after last season’s left knee ACL tear and subsequent surgery.
The Orlando Lineup
Coach Mosely rolled again with the same starting 5, a constant unit for all 7 opening games. Jalen Suggs (PG), Cole Anthony (SG), Franz Wagner (SF), Wendell Carter Jr (PF) and Mo Bamba (C) continue to impress and grow in experience. For the plus/minus rating in the NBA despite the team struggles this five as a unit are amongst the league leaders. The statistic that this is the youngest starting unit to open a season in the NBA for over 50 years is now well known.
Chuma Okeke made a welcome return for his season debut against Detroit. Guard Mychal Mulder also played his debut minutes with the team. From the bench also came Terrence Ross, Ignas Brazdeikis, Moe Wagner, RJ Hampton and Gary Harris.
Robin Lopez was available but did not feature.
Check Out Other Orlando Magic U.K. Content
On each game day make sure to check Twitter and Facebook to play along with our Magic Moments competition. Simply comment with your prediction for each of five questions we will ask on that night’s game. At the end of the season we will send out a prize to whoever tops the league with the most correct predictions.
Be sure to subscribe to Orlando Magic U.K. YouTube channel for episodes of our podcast Penny For Your Thoughts.
Final Thoughts As Orlando Take On The Timberwolves
Tonight is the final night on the road for a while, Orlando will then begin a 5 game home stand. This is clearly not a team that lacks in unity or self belief. So far the problem has been execution throughout the full 48 minutes. Eliminating errors, both team and individual ones to reduce turnovers and second chance opportunities will put Orlando into a very competitive position in games.
Once again Jalen Suggs will see fierce competition from experienced guards as his baptism of fire continues. Franz Wagner remains a beacon of hope for the team as he again scored in double figures against Detroit, a feat now achieved in every one of his 7 NBA games. His defence may be more important tonight as Orlando attempt to contain the scoring of Russell, Edwards and Towns.
To see a second win of the season the Magic bench must begin to support the starting five more effectively. If that were to happen tonight and break the 4 game losing streak it would deliver a huge confidence boost.
The game will not be easy but it can be won. We’d happily take another Cole race up the floor for a buzzer beating 3!
Let’s Go Magic!