On Orlando Magic Game Day 67 it sees the Magic go back-to-back in New Orleans against the Pelicans, who also played last night. As always join us as we take a look at the history of the matchup and focus on what to expect tonight.
To watch the game live or on demand in the UK you will need an active NBA League Pass subscription. The tip time from New Orleans is shown on the Orlando Magic website as being 1:00am here in the UK (8pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
Season Record And Last Time Out
The Orlando Magic
Last night Orlando came up just short as Phoenix took a 99-102 victory in the Amway Center. Whilst it was close and hard fought the loss was in part down to an over shooting of the long ball by Orlando against the team ranked number 1 in defending the three-pointer. Orlando shot the three at only 17.9%, making just 7 of the 39 attempts from deep. Orlando trailed big several times but rallied repeatedly, even taking a lead. That effort had allowed the Magic to be within one possession during the final minute. Franz Wagner’s potential game-tying 3-point effort in the final seconds was impressively blocked by Mikal Bridges.
Wendell Carter Jr returned, leading the team with 20 points and 12 rebounds, his 29th double-double of the season. Moe Wagner led the bench producing a stat line of 12 points, 7 rebounds and 1 block. Cole Anthony had 11 points and 5 assists, whilst also receiving a nasty cut to the bridge of his nose from contact by Mo Bamba. Markelle Fultz continued his comeback as he looked good for 11 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal. Mo Bamba produced a strong game with 9 points and 15 rebounds.
Orlando holds a record of 16 wins and 50 losses. This sees the Magic last in the Eastern Conference and holding the worst record in the NBA. Over the last 10 games played the Magic have won 3, losing the last 2 played. The home record stands at 7 wins of 30 games played. On the road the record is 9 wins in 36 games played. Points per game sees the Magic scoring 103.8, whilst conceding 111.8.
The New Orleans Pelicans
New Orleans are also on the second night of a back-to-back, last night taking a 111-132 defeat in Memphis to the Grizzlies. CJ McCollum scored 32 points and dropped 11 assists for a double-double. Five other players supported him in double-digit scoring, including Willy Hernangomez with 17 points.
The Pelicans have a record of 27 wins and 38 losses, being 10th in the Western Conference. New Orleans have won 5 of their last 10 games, but losing the last 2 played. The home record stands at 15 wins of 32 games played. In points per game the Pelicans score 107.8, whilst conceding 109.5. They rank 21st in offensive efficiency and 20th defensively.
Head-To-Head: The New Orleans Pelicans
The head-to-head record across all the various franchise titles of the now New Orleans Pelicans sees the Magic leading 22-20 in the 42 regular season games played. Against the New Orleans Pelicans the Magic lead 11-6.
The teams met early this season, as a battling Orlando fell 110-104 in the Amway Center on December 23rd. In that game the offence of Brandon Ingram and Devonte’ Graham proved decisive. Gary Harris and Cole Anthony both had 22 points. Cole also had 11 assists for a double-double. Wendell Carter Jr made 17 points and 12 rebounds as Franz Wagner finished with 20 points.
Last season was split 1-1, each team winning on the road. The previous two seasons (2019-2020 and 2018-2019) saw the Magic sweep the series 2-0 on both occasions.
The teams have never met in the playoffs.
Our Opponents – The New Orleans Pelicans
New Orleans Head Coach Willie Green does have issues to contend with on the injury front. Zion Williamson (foot), Kira Lewis Jr (ACL) and Larry Nance Jr (knee) are out. Brandon Ingram who has missed games is day-to-day and questionable with a hamstring injury.
Previous Starting Lineup: CJ McCollum (PG), Herbert Jones (SG), Jaxson Hayes (PF), Tony Snell (SF), Jonas Valanciunas (C)
Bench Unit: Willy Hernangomez, Navi Marshall, Devonte’ Graham, Jose Alvarado, Alize Johnson, Gary Clark, Garrett Temple (DNP), Trey Murphy III (DNP)
The Orlando Magic Lineup And Injury Report
Coach Jamahl Mosely will be shuffling the pack again tonight. Markelle Fultz sits as the team continue to manage his return from injury. Jalen Suggs, who is questionable with a right ankle sprain will again be a game time decision. Jonathan Isaac (rehabilitation of surgically repaired left knee) and Bol Bol (out for the season after surgery to a foot injury) remain absent. Both two-way players Admiral Schofield and Ignas Brazdeikis were last night absent with the Lakeland Magic. They should return tonight as the Magic go back-to-back in New Orleans.
In the defeat to Phoenix the Magic played:
Magic Starting Lineup – Cole Anthony (PG), RJ Hampton (SG), Franz Wagner (SF), Wendell Carter Jr (PF), Mo Bamba (C)
Magic Bench Unit – Markelle Fultz, Chuma Okeke, Moe Wagner, Terrence Ross, Gary Harris, Robin Lopez (DNP)
Final Thoughts As The Magic Go Back-To-Back In New Orleans
Orlando have to shoot the ball better to be winning these tight games. Franz Wagner will be wanting to get back amongst the points for Orlando tonight, having scored double figures in 55 of his 66 games played.
The defensive intensity has been present for Orlando. That is again the platform the Magic will work from. The primary focus will be upon CJ McCollum. In 5 of his 11 games since being traded to the Pelicans he has scored 30 points or more. All the games have seen him register at least 15 points. If he is joined by Brandon Ingram that task becomes a whole lot more challenging.
Mo Bamba and Wendell Carter Jr will again have a battle on the boards. Tonight it is with Valanciunas, who is 5th for total rebounds. One overlooked player for the Pelicans is Herbert Jones. He is 6th in total steals, so turnovers will be a renewed focus for Orlando. Chuma Okeke is proving invaluable to Orlando in this category as his defence continues to be elite.
Expect New Orleans to use the long ball sparingly but attack the paint primarily. As a team the Pelicans shoot a lot of free throws and have good accuracy in doing so. Their offence is not built on pace but patience.
This will not be an easy game. New Orleans will be aiming to win as they look to overtake the Lakers in the race for the West play-in positions.