Pregame: What to Watch For, Orlando Magic vs Chicago Bulls
The Orlando Magic return home to the Amway Center to face the Chicago Bulls. The Magic went 3-1 on a short road trip and not lost a home game yet this season. Will the Magic continue to take care of home?
The Orlando Magic are continuing to surprise the NBA. After pulling out the win at Memphis Orlando improved to 6-2 tieing for the leagues best record with the Boston Celtics. The Chicago Bulls are a team in complete rebuild mode and are currently 1-5. The Orlando Magic have to be careful not to take the Bulls lightly. Orlando will face the Celtics on Sunday and very well may be playing for the best record in this early NBA season. Not overlooking the will be the focus for this team tonight. Here are a few things to look out for in tonight’s matchup.
Point Guard Play
The Orlando Magic have ruled out Elfrid Payton and DJ Augustin for this game. That leaves the Magic with Shelvin Mack as the lone point guard available. With injuries to the first and second string point guards Coach Frank Vogel will need to be creative with his lineups tonight. Orlando has used some lineups where there was no true point guard on the court. Jonathon Simmons has walked the ball up court and initiated some offense for Orlando for stretches and will probably see even more of that tonight. Regardless of who is playing point guard for the Magic tonight, Orlando should dominate at that position. Look for the Orlando Magic to control the game at the point guard spot.
The Chicago Bulls are the third best rebounding team in the NBA. The Magic are currently ranked 18th. Chicago also gives up the third most rebounds to its opponents. Orlando has really struggled to keep opposing teams off the glass and end possessions. Although Chicago is dead last in points per game (90) Orlando cannot give up second-chance points. Orlando has to make a conscious effort to get rebounds off of missed shots particularly on the defensive end.
Without the services of a second point guard, the Magic will likely push the ball even more tonight. The point guard directs the offense and gets everyone into position. Having Aaron Gordon, Jonathon Simmons or Terrence Ross grab the rebound off of a miss will lead to transition buckets instead of looking to setup a play. The Bulls are third from the bottom in pace, hence the low amount of points per game. The Magic love to run and will get started early going up and down the court. Getting baskets in transition instead of running set plays will be a must tonight. Look for the Magic to push the pace early and often.