Pregame: What to Watch For, Orlando Magic vs Brooklyn Nets
The Orlando Magic are back home to face the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets handed the Magic their first loss of the season just a few nights ago. Can Orlando even the series?
The first match-up with the Brooklyn Nets a couple of wrenches were thrown at the Orlando Magic. Just before the start of the game Aaron Gordon tested a sore ankle during warm-ups and decided he could not participate. With the Magic already down Aaron Gordon, another blow was suffered as Elfrid Payton left the game just before halftime with a hamstring injury. The Magic still held there own with the Nets considering the absence of two key starters. In the end, Brooklyn came out on top.
Following the Brooklyn game, Orlando was more prepared for the absence of Gordon and Payton and put together a great game defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers by 21. Going into tonight’s game the Magic are feeling good about their team. Aaron Gordon will be back in the lineup and Orlando will seek to avenge their only loss of the season. Here are a few things to look for in tonight’s game.
The Brooklyn Nets are the highest scoring team in the NBA, Orlando isn’t far behind at number five. With that said, this should be a high scoring game. With Aaron Gordon back in the lineup, we can expect to see a few more transition baskets and scoring in the paint. While the Magic offense didn’t seem to miss a step with Gordon on the sideline, his addition gives another threat. The last time they met the score was 121-126, Nets. Look for numbers similar to this tonight.
Attention to Vucevic
Nikola Vucevic has been on fire for the Magic and is currently ranked 7th in scoring. The Nets were burned for 41 by Vucevic. Brooklyn was unable to keep tabs on Vucevic as he lit up the scoreboard from behind the arch. That amount of freedom will not be allowed by the Nets again. The Magic can expect more attention for Vucevic maybe even some double teams to get the ball out of his hands. Good thing for Orlando that Nikola Vucevic is a great passer. When given the ball in the post or on the elbow he has great vision and can find the open man. Vucevic will likely get his points, but look for him to rack up the assist as well.
In the last meeting between Brooklyn and Orlando, the Nets scored easily in the paint. Trevor Booker especially was able to do whatever he wanted on the inside. The Magic have to find a way to defend the paint better. Whether they double down on Booker or just make it difficult to get him the ball. Orlando gave up 60 points in the paint and have to do better. Look for help to come early when Trevor Booker is in the post.