The Orlando Magic played the second game of a back to back last night. After getting out to a good start Orlando trailed at halftime. The Magic were able to pull together in the end and defeat the San Antonio Spurs 103-98.
On the second night of a back to back, the Orlando Magic flipped some of the players that played the previous night with players that rested. Having fresh legs surely played a role for Magic starters Elfrid Payton, Aaron Gordon and Bismack Biyombo. Jonathon Simmons, on the other hand, had the privilege of starting both games of the back to back. This one may have meant a little bit more as he faced the team he spent the last two season with. He did not disappoint in his return.
Jonathon Simmons returned to San Antonio to face his former team for the first time. With Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross sitting out this game, Simmons got to start at shooting guard. Like all of his games so far in the preseason, Simmons showcased why he moved on from the Spurs to get more minutes. He ended up with a double-double putting in 20 points and 10 assists in 33 minutes. Simmons definitely is not shy about having the ball. Prior to Simmons arrival, Evan Fournier was the most consistent at creating his own shot. Jonathon Simmons has the explosiveness to get around defenders and get to the rim. That same explosiveness puts defenders on their heels at times and leaves Simmons open for jump shots.
Go To Guy
The emergence of Aaron Gordon has been phenomenal. Yes, it’s just the preseason. However, Aaron Gordon has not looked this aggressive on the offensive end of the floor since he came into the league. Gordon put up 27 points and grabbed 11 rebounds last night. He showed no hesitation when making moves to the basket or catching it in rhythm. Once Gordon had his defender on his heels he attacked. Aaron Gordon has realized that he is a superior athlete. Not many people even in the NBA possess the skills that he does. Giving his opponents time to evaluate the situation and prepare for the attack is much less beneficial than going at them immediately. He was able to post up smaller defenders, score in traffic and even made some nice fadeaways from the baseline. As the Magic embrace the fast pace offense Gordon will continue to be on the receiving end of many assists in transition.
More Than Defense
Going into the offseason the biggest hole for the Magic was scoring points. The additions made to the roster did little to improve the offense on paper. Last night the Orlando Magic were without the services of some major scoring threats. Fournier, Vucevic, and Ross will be fixtures of the Magic offense this season. In their absence, Orlando managed to find scoring from an unlikely source. Bismack Biyombo contributed 18 points on 8 of 11 from the field and 2 for 2 from the free throw line. Biyombo playing alongside a faster lineup was able to run the court and catch passes cleanly in transition. Rolling to the rim after screens is something Biyombo can be great at if he catches the ball cleanly. Scoring 18 points will not be a usual occurrence but it was great to see Biyombo finishing cleanly in the paint.
The Orlando Magic next game is Friday night against the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers.