Pregame: What to Watch For, Orlando Magic vs San Antonio Spurs
The Orlando Magic welcome the undefeated San Antonio Spurs into town tonight. The Spurs are still without Kawhi Leonard. Can the Magic take advantage?
The San Antonio Spurs have not played a game with Kawhi Leonard in the lineup, yet they are undefeated. LaMarcus Aldridge has stepped his game up to supplement for Leonard’s production. Along with Aldridge, the rest of the Spurs roster has bought into Coach Greg Popovich’s system. The Orlando Magic have bought into an up-tempo system that coach Frank Vogel has implemented which counters the Spurs. As these two teams meet, the contrast in styles will be a focal point as Orlando tries to end San Antonio’s win streak.
A key aspect of all NBA teams recently is movement. The Orlando Magic are no different. That doesn’t just go for ball movement, but body movement as well. Action being done off the ball to set up a good look at the end is becoming more prevalent. The Orlando Magic while they have improved in this area, are still a work in progress. The San Antonio Spurs are one of the founding franchises implementing movement in the offense. They weren’t focused on getting a particular player the ball for the most part but more concerned with making the defense get out of place. The Magic have begun to trust one another so much more and not afraid to pass the ball for the next guy to take the shot. Look for Orlando and San Antonio to move a lot in this game. There will not be much isolation, outside of holding for the last shot of the quarter. Orlando knows they are better when pieces are moving and will look to get things going early.
The Orlando Magic have 100+ points in every game this season. Tonight will be no different. While the Magic want to have a defensive identity putting points on the board is also a goal. With the pace the Magic play they will have a ton of possessions throughout the game. Giving up points here and there isn’t a huge concern of the wins keep coming. While the Spurs like to play more of a half-court game look for Orlando to keep their uptempo style and score over 100 points tonight.
Gordon VS Aldridge
The power forward matchup tonight may feature the two best players on the court. Aaron Gordon had a career night in his last game and is gaining more confidence as he plays. Facing LaMarcus Aldridge will be a big test for Gordon. On the defensive end, Gordon will have to take on Aldridge in the post. Keeping Aldridge out of the paint will be rough for the smaller Gordon and may lead to some adjustments. On the other end of the court, Gordon will have just as much of an advantage. Being able to handle the ball on the perimeter and pull Aldridge out of the lane will open up the offense for the Magic. Keep an eye on the back and forth between Aaron Gordon and LaMarcus Aldridge tonight.