Philadelphia 76ers vs Orlando Magic tonight in seeding game 5. Orlando face the much fancied 76ers… it’s game day Magic fans!
The game has a UK tip off time of 11:30pm so a nice start to the weekend. As always it will be available live and on demand via NBA League Pass.
OUR PLAYOFF PICTURE
Orlando remain in the 8th seed position after our loss to the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, our record is now 32-37.
We are one Orlando win or one Washington loss from officially clinching for the post season with out the need for a Play in Game. To force a play in tournament Washington need to be within 4 games of the 8th placed team and that seems increasingly unlikely. We are still chasing Brooklyn for the 7th seed who remain .5 game ahead of us, they face the Sacramento Kings at 10pm on Friday, so a nice warm up before we all settle down to watch the Magic.
Including games prior to the hiatus, Orlando in the last 10 games are 5-5. Since the restart we are 2-2 in the seeding games.
In the NBA offensive rankings after the last defeat we moved down the rankings. We are averaging 107 points per game (25th in the NBA).
Our defensive ranking hasn’t changed much from the last game as we continue to surrender 107.8 points per game (5th for opponents PPG in the NBA).
Our defensive game had been strong against both the Nets and Kings. However the last two outings especially in the first quarter weren’t good enough. We were outplayed, outworked and didn’t turn up until the third quarter when Aaron Gordon received a cheap shot from Kyle Lowry.
MAGIC INJURY REPORT AND STARTERS
Jonathan Isaac (11.9 PPG) left the Orlando bubble to begin another long road to recovery from the devastating tear to his left ACL. This will see Isaac out for potentially 12 months. Al-Farouq Aminu (4.3 PPG) (torn meniscus) did not travel to the restart in Walt Disney World and is out for the season.
Michael Carter Williams (7.2ppg) is day to day with a foot injury and it remains to be seen if he plays on Friday Night.
Aaron Gordon (14.4 PPG) strained hamstring is also day to day, once again we have not heard that Aaron is out however this is likely to be the case for Fridays encounter.
Orlando’s starting lineup against Toronto remained DJ Augustin (10.2 PPG), Evan Fournier (18.4 PPG), James Ennis III (7.3 PPG), Aaron Gordon (14.4 PPG) & Nikola Vucevic (19.5 PPG). Coach Clifford is likely to have to change the lineup based on which injuries dictate who can and can’t play.
From the bench we have Markelle Fultz (11.9 PPG), Michael Carter-Williams (7.2 PPG), Terence Ross (14.9 PPG), Mo Bamba (5.4 PPG ), Wes Iwundu (5.3 PPG), Khem Birch (4.1 PPG), Gary Clark (2.9 PPG), BJ Johnson (1.6 PPG), Vic Law (0 PPG) & Melvin Frazier Jr (1.1 PPG) to choose from.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
Are the Philadelphia 76ers genuine title contenders having lost a heart breaker against the champions to be last season? The team reloaded in the offseason acquiring Al Horford from their nemesis the Boston Celtics. They also acquired shooting guard Josh Richardson in a sign and trade with the Miami Heat for Jimmy Butler. There is a lot of talent on the Philadelphia roster led by Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris and we would expect them to be contending.
However Philly have struggled away from their building this year going 11-25 away from the Wells Fargo Center whilst going a league best 30-2 at home. How will they fare away from Philly in the Orlando bubble?
The Sixers lost their opening matchup with the Indiana Pacers, then followed up with back to back wins over the San Antonio Spurs and Washington Wizards, now sitting at 2-1 for the bubble. The win against the Wizards did come at a cost however, Ben Simmons now listed as OUT leaving the game with subluxation of his left patella.
With this injury news we struggle to believe the 76ers have enough to go all the way this season. Unfortunately as we have seen with our team this year injuries can really cripple you and your expectations as a franchise..
THE HEAD-TO-HEAD HISTORY
This will be the third and final time we play the 76ers this season, this is a designated Philadelphia “Home game”.
In previous outings both in Orlando at the Amway Center, the Magic prevailed 112-97 in November and 98-97 a few days after Christmas surging a late free throw collapse where we struggled at the line.
All time the Magic lead the Head to Head in the regular season 79-38 in 117 games played.
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
The Magic are 17-10 when they lead after the first quarter, 12-25 when they trail.
Orlando are 26-2 when leading going into the 4th quarter.
When the Magic score 110 points or more they are 23-2. Hit 115 points or more & they won all 19 games. When scoring at least 120 points the Magic won all 14 games on the 2019-20 season.
Against teams over .500 Orlando have a 5-28 record. Of the 5 seeding games remaining two sub .500 teams await, being the Brooklyn Nets & New Orleans Pelicans.
To check out the schedule Click Here.
PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
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THE KEYS TO THE GAME
We have to find some way to stop the efficient Philadelphia offence and keep up with them out of the gate where we have struggled mightily in the first half of the last two games. We predicted this to be a 50:50 game which could go either way, a lot depends on who suits up for the Magic and how Philly deal with Simmons not playing and if they choose to rest their stars. So there is every chance we could get the win.
To do so we will have to play better as a team and be more aggressive, which we saw in the games against the Nets and Kings, however, not so much against Indiana and Toronto.
Again an individual I’m highlighting who needs to turn up is Evan Fournier. His performance against Indiana and Toronto wasn’t up to the levels we expect, too often he was absent on defence and slow on offence.
Time to react and reclaim 7th!