Pregame: What to Watch For, Orlando Magic vs Indiana Pacers
The Orlando Magic suffered their worst home loss since 1991 after losing to the Utah Jazz 125-85. The road doesn’t get any easier as the red-hot Indiana Pacers come to town. Can the Magic turn things around?
The Orlando Magic are currently on a four-game losing streak. The Indiana Pacers, on the other hand, are on a three-game winning streak after dismantling the Miami Heat 120-95 last night. The Magic had their worse performance this season as the team showed no interest in fighting for a win. To make matters worse, Utah was playing the second night of a back to back without their best player. The Magic need to come into tonight’s matchup with focus. Keeping the energy level high and not dropping their heads when the Pacers make a run will be critical. Orlando has to take care of home and right the ship immediately to end this downward spiral. Here are a few things to look out for tonight.
Stick to the Plan
Many of Orlando’s woes come from the team’s lack of consistency. The Magic play their best when they are sharing the ball and creating open looks for each other. Problems arise when they start to fall behind. When their opponents go on a run the Magic tend to abandon the team ball concept and look to make individual plays to put points on the board. Taking the team away from moving the ball and keeping everyone involved drops the overall morale. Players start to get lazy on help defense and rotations causing the opponents lead to grow even more. The Orlando Magic cannot afford to stop sharing the ball. Allowing everyone to touch the ball during a possession keeps everyone on their toes and looking for the open man. Ball movement also makes guys work hard to get open which makes the opponent work as well. The Orlando Magic will surely move the ball to start the game. Look for the team’s response to an Indiana Pacers run. Will they abandon team ball again or stick to the plan and chip away at the lead?
Oladipo vs Fournier
Victor Oladipo is returning to the Amway Center tonight. Once thought of as the face of the Magic and a key part of the rebuild Oladipo was traded last offseason. Many Magic fans are still miffed by the trade and would prefer the Magic kept Oladipo instead of Evan Fournier. Both Oladipo and Fournier are having great seasons so far and should be a great one on one matchup tonight. Many fans will be paying close attention and keeping score of possesions in which Fournier and Oladipo are matched up. For the Magic to have success tonight Evan Fournier will need to be at his best on both ends of the court. Being aggressive on offense with his penetration can suck the defense in and create open looks for someone. Fournier also needs to knock down open looks when he’s on the other end of an assist. The familiarity between Oladipo and the Magic will churn out some good basketball. Look for an intense battle as the Magic try to turn things around.