Pregame: What to Watch For, Orlando Magic vs Golden State Warriors
Now that the Orlando Magic have ended their losing streak they look to start a streak in the win column. Picking up a second straight win will be tough with the Golden State Warriors visiting Orlando tonight. Are the Magic back on track?
In Orlando’s previous meeting at Golden State, the Magic played the Warriors tough in the first half before falling behind in the third quarter. The Orlando Magic were unable to capitalize on the absence of Steph Curry and loss 110-100. Tonight’s game will be a little different. First of all, Orlando will be missing two key players as Jonathan Isaac will miss another game with a sprained ankle. Terrence Ross will also be out(indefinitely) after an MCL sprain on Wednesday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Golden State has some injury issues of their own as Klay Thompson is listed as questionable(sprained ankle). Here are a few things to watch for in tonight’s matchup.
The Orlando Magic know what works well for them to pick up victories. They have to use pace and ball movement on offense to get good looks. Going into a possession and have three or more passes is a recipe for success in Orlando. A great way to move the ball is by moving players. When isolating to take advantage of a particular matchup the offense for Orlando tends to stop moving. Whether its Nikola Vucevic getting the ball in the post or Aaron Gordon catching it on the wing Orlando has to keep moving.
While Gordon does have an advantage in some situations he is better at scoring after making quick decisions. To get those opportunities the Magic have to get the Warriors off balance. Continuous cuts in and out of the paint and flares to the perimeter keep the defense guessing and chasing. When defenders are chasing they tend to overreact in an effort to close out on shot opportunities. Making the extra pass or two after an overreaction leads to open looks at the basket. Look for the Orlando Magic to keep the Warriors chasing on the defensive end.
The Orlando Magic have to keep their hands up on the defensive end. The Golden State Warriors are one of the best passing teams in the league. While they are a great shooting team from deep, the way they get those open shots is by scoring in the paint. When anyone for the Warriors penetrates the lane they have great vision to find a teammate cutting to the basket and slip them an assist. In their first meeting, Orlando did a great job of disrupting passes in the lane to force turnovers by keeping their hands active. Getting just a finger on the ball or a hand in the way makes those passes a little harder to complete. Lowering the number of baskets at the rim will help Orlando to keep this game competitive and hopefully lead to a victory.