The Orlando Magic completed their second preseason game with a homecourt win over the Dallas Mavericks 112-89. Although Dallas was short-handed there are some positive takeaways.
Orlando took the floor to showcase the new look Magic for the home crowd for the first time. Going into the game many were focused on the Point Guard battle between Elfrid Payton and rookie Dennis Smith Jr. During the draft process, Smith was a fan favorite to replace Payton in the Magic backcourt so this matchup was highly anticipated.
News came down just prior to the game that the Mavericks would be without the services of 8 players including 3 starters and Head Coach Rick Carlisle. So the talent level on the court gave an advantage to the Magic from the beginning.
From the opening tip, Aaron Gordon picked up where he left off Monday night. Gordon’s first basket of the evening and the first basket for the Magic was from behind the arch. Gordon has shown confidence in his jump shot and has not hesitated to pull the trigger. Gordon finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds in 20 minutes. Entering a contract year Gordon has to show that he is worthy of a contract extension. So far in the preseason, Gordon has not disappointed. Being moved back into the power forward position where he has had the most success has obviously been a good decision. Continuity in coaching helps as well.
For the second straight outing, both Elfrid Payton and Terrence Ross had a rough night. Each finished with just 2 points. Seeing that the Mavericks did not have their full complement of players Ross and Payton should’ve had a much more productive night. After two preseason games, neither Ross nor Payton have reached double digits if their two-game total was combined. With four preseason games left these two have to get it going in order for the Magic to be successful. Moving forward it will be interesting to see if Coach Vogel extends their minutes to help them get their rhythm back or continues as planned.
Pushing for Time
Offseason acquisition Jonathon Simmons is still impressing. Simmons is making a case to be moved into the Orlando Magic starting lineup. The edge Simmons plays with along with great defense brings something the Magic have not had in a while. Simmons has also played well on offense using his athleticism to get to the basket in transition and back cuts. With Terrence Ross not hitting his stride just yet it may be time for Frank Vogel to experiment with Simmons in the starting role.
The Orlando Magic next game will be Saturday night against the visiting Miami Heat.