Post Game Reactions: Orlando Magic Welcome Elfrid Payton Back With A Win Over The New York Knicks

The Orlando Magic found their offense Wednesday night against the visiting New York Knicks. Losers of two in a row, the Orlando Magic of old returned and continued their strong team effort play defeating the Knicks 112-99.

The New York Knicks (6-5) were expecting to have Kristaps Porzingis on their trip to Florida. The Orlando Magic (7-4) were hoping but not expecting to have point guard Elfrid Payton. Both received unexpected surprises.

A little over an hour before game time, New York revealed Porzingis would not play due to a right ankle sprain and right elbow contusion. Around the same time, the Orlando Magic announced Elfrid Payton would return from his eight game absence due to a nagging hamstring injury.

The Return of Elfrid Payton

The Magic offense showed why Elfrid Payton was so valuable to what they want to do this season. Payton consistently pushed the ball in transition and found the open man either cutting to the rim or spot up for an open three. On the opening play of the game, Payton found Aaron Gordon for an easy open alley-oop connection. A few plays later, he found an open Evan Fournier in the corner for a three. After the game, Payton stated that was his purpose. “That’s what I’m here for, to make everybody job as easy as possible”. Payton finished with 11 points, 11 assists, and six rebounds on the night.

Offensive Flow and Tempo

The Orlando Magic ended the game with 30 assists on 46 made baskets. It was apparent the Magic needed Elfrid Payton back for the offense to find fluidity once again. The Magic converted on 54 percent of their shot attempts and shot a sizzling 46 percent from three.

They seemed to have returned to their old selves as everyone contributed in a Magic win. The Magic had three players score 20 points or more and stayed true to their playing style of pushing the tempo every chance possible. Speaking to Evan Fournier after the game, he reiterated the importance of having Payton back for the offense. “It definitely feels better. We only had one point guard for two games, and we lost those games by 20. Again, that’s not a coincidence.” Fournier tallied 23 points for the Magic.

Center Nikola Vucevic led the Magic in scoring with 24 points and forward Aaron Gordon added 21 points, including going 4-6 from three.

Defensive Tenacity

On the defensive end, Orlando kept their hands active. The Magic forced the Knicks into 23 turnovers and several key blocks down the stretch. Orlando played smothering defense holding the Knicks to just 23 points in the fourth period. Forward Aaron Gordon reminded his former teammate, Kyle O’Quinn of the Magic defense with an emphatic block at the rim that created another Knicks turnover. The Magic had a season high 16 steals with Fournier responsible for creating five.

No Porzingis, Big Problem For the Knicks

The New York Knicks felt the absence of Kristaps Porzingis and his ability to create offense. Porzingis is second in scoring in the NBA at just over 30 points a game. His absence and points needed to be replicated in order for the Knicks to have a chance at pulling off the upset win in Orlando. The only Knick to step up and show some consistent scoring for the Knicks was Tim Hardaway Jr. who led the game in scoring with 26 points and 11 rebounds.

Orlando Magic , New York Knicks , Elfrid Payton , Tim Hardaway Jr. , The Oliver's Twist

Forward Michael Beasley started for Porzingis and was inefficient and ineffective finishing with four points on the night in 20 minutes of game action.

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The Knicks kept pace in the game until the fourth quarter. That’s when swingman Jonathon Simmons single-handedly pushed the game out of reach for the Knicks. Simmons entered the fourth quarter and scored 11 straight points to essentially secure the Magic lead. He finished with 16 points. Vogel credits Simmons being back on the wing in Payton’s return as the reason for his effectiveness. “When we’re at our best, its with the starting unit doing what they are doing and Simmons coming in and running the show with the second unit.”

The Magic will have Thursday off as they prepare for a four game west coast trip beginning Friday night against the Phoenix Suns (4-8).

Post Game Reactions: Orlando Magic vs Boston Celtics

The Orlando Magic went to battle against the number one team in the NBA. After a bone-crushing loss in their previous game, Orlando surely would be more prepared, right? Sadly, the Magic were just as ill-equipped and fell to the Boston Celtics 104-88.

The Orlando Magic suffered a huge loss at the hands of the lowly Chicago Bulls on Friday night. They took to the Amway Center again Sunday to get back on track against the league-leading Boson Celtics. Still down their first and second string point guards, Orlando opted to play Jonathon Simmons as the starting point guard and keep Shelvin Mack running the second unit. While the intent was good the results remained the same as the previous game. Orlando failed to get into a rhythm on offense. A lot of the offensive ineptitude stems from Jonathon Simmons getting into early foul trouble. Simmons picked up his third foul with a little under 5 minutes remaining in the second quarter. Without Simmons steady defensive pressure on Kyrie Irving, the Celtics offense opened up and allowed their lead to grow. The Orlando Magic were out of the game by halftime.

 

Cold Shooting

The Orlando Magic had another off night shooting ball. In particular, Evan Fournier had a bad night. Fournier was an abysmal 2 of 14 from the field and 2 of 9 from behind the arch. Fournier has been Orlando’s steady hand consistently contributing about 20 points per game. He just could not get anything going in the paint tonight and was even held without a free throw attempt. As a team, the Magic shot 36.3 percent from the field and 20.7 percent from three-point range which is even worse than their previous night versus Chicago.

The Magic were on an abnormal tear in terms of their shooting percentages before DJ Augustin went down. A decline was expected to take place at some point but this drop off has been unbelievable. Finally, the Magic had figured out how to get good, open, high percentage shot with ball movement in the first seven games. It seems as if they have forgotten what got them to this place in the standings. They have to get back to moving the ball and trusting each other no matter who the point guard is.

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4th Quarter

After clawing their way back within 8 points at the end of the third quarter the Orlando Magic fell apart. The 4th quarter was not kind to the Magic and they did not take it well. When the team needed to desperately close out this game the Magic gave up 27 points while only scoring 19 points on the other end. A deficit that was manageable at the start of the quarter quickly got out of reach and the team looked like they threw in the towel. However, the Magic live to fight another day but they will have to regroup and put forth a much better effort to finish games.

The Orlando Magic next game is Wednesday versus the New York Knicks.

Post Game Reactions: Orlando Magic vs Chicago Bulls

The Orlando Magic failed to pass the century mark in scoring for the first time this season. Orlando was outplayed from start to finish and ended up with a blowout loss to the Chicago Bulls 105 – 83.

Going into the game Orlando would have the challenge of replacing the production of their first and second string point guards. With DJ Augustin being injured in the Magic last game in Memphis and Elfrid Payton not quite ready for action Orlando leaned on Shelvin Mack at point guard. The absence of Payton and Augustin were felt throughout this game as Orlando failed to ever get into the flow of their offense. The defense end of the floor was no better as Chicago had little resistance scoring. While Orlando did manage to take the lead for a short time the effort used to get the lead drained them. The Magic seemed out of sorts the entire game and never looked to be a cohesive unit.

Chemistry

What looked to be the Orlando Magic of the past 4 seasons returned to the Amway Center against the Bulls. While many will downplay the importance of chemistry, there is no denying that it was missing for Orlando tonight. After Elfrid Payton suffered his injury it was assumed that Orlando would regress slightly was DJ Augustin is not the creator that Payton is. However, when the Magic kept winning the narrative turned to Augustin being a better shooter than Payton, which opens up the floor. None of these observations are necessarily wrong. The main factor in the early success of this

The main factor in the early success of this team, however, was their chemistry. Payton has played with Evan Fournier, Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon since he was a rookie. DJ Augustin came aboard last season and even started over Payton for stretches of the year. Having that familiarity with your teammates and knowing their tendencies is a big part of long-term success. After seeing how the offense flowed with Shelvin Mack at the point shows how much chemistry is needed on this team. Mack is good in small spurts and even great when paired with the rest of the newcomers on the team. Placing him in the starting role just threw Orlando’s rotation off. Not only was the starting lineup affected, the bench was effected as well.

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Defensive Rotations

Aside from the offense never getting it going, the Magic were constantly late on rotations. They exerted so much effort trying to muster up some offense that they were gassed on the defensive end. While trying to make a comeback in the third and fourth quarters Chicago came up with wide open three-point shots. Many of the open looks came on second efforts. Orlando would play great initial defense and then 4 passes later someone is left open with no one within 10 feet of them.

The Orlando Magic next game is Sunday versus the Boston Celtics.

Post Game Reactions: Orlando Magic at New Orleans Pelicans

On the second night of a back to back, the Orlando Magic came out firing on all cylinders. The Magic picked up a big victory in New Orleans over the Pelicans 115-99.

The Orlando Magic have gotten off to a monster start to the season. They scored over 110 points in every game so far this year. Last nights victory placed this year’s team in the Magic record bookend for total points scored through the first 7 games. Going into this game the biggest concern for the Magic was holding All-Stars Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins to sub-par games. In the end, the Magic were able to get half the job done.

DeMarcus Cousins who was named the Western Conference player of the week was held well below his averages. Cousins who is averaging 33.3 points and 13.3 rebounds per game was held to 12 points and 12 rebounds. Opposite Cousins, Davis still had a good night tallying 39 points and 10 rebounds. Orlando was able to get past the big night from Davis with team ball and get the win.

Bench Contribution

Orlando got some great minutes out of their bench. The Magic bench scored 44 points while New Orleans benched recorded 21 points. A lot of the bench production can be attributed to Jonathon Simmons. Simmons heads up that second unit and gets things started on the defensive end. Outside of the starting five, Simmons is the most consistent scorer the Magic have. Hence, him tieing for the leading scorer for Orlando in this game with 20 points to keep Orlando afloat. Aside from Simmons, Marreese Speights exploded from 3point range. As a result, Speights shot 6 of 10 from deep five of those baskets coming within a 5-minute span. Speights dropped dagger after dagger as New Orleans tried to stay in the game. The barrage of threes electrified the Orlando Magic and helped them seal the game.

Efficiency

The Magic have been a stellar team in terms of efficiency this season. As a result, last night Orlando shot 50.6 % from the field and 46.1 % from behind the arch. Not having a true go-to guy makes this efficient work so much more impressive. Consequently, the Magic are not leaning on one guy to have a big night while others fill in. Furthermore, everyone on the roster is capable of having a big night and Orlando has done a good job of feeding the hot hand.

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Rebounds

The Orlando Magic have not been the best rebounding teams in the league. Finally, on this night, Orlando was able to put rebound the Pelicans 50-47. Securing rebounds helped the Magic end possessions and limit second-chance points. Orlando rebounded well as a team. Most noteworthy, Nikola Vucevic led the Magic with 8 rebounds while Jonathan Isaac and Aaron Gordon grabbed 7 each. Orlando needs these type of numbers consistently to keep their up-tempo pace by getting rebounds and going up court quickly. Rebounding helps Orlando to get into their offense and should be a focus for this team.

The next Orlando Magic game is at the Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday night at 8pm.

Post Game Reactions: Orlando Magic vs San Antonio Spurs

The Orlando Magic are starting to turn heads in the NBA. After starting the season 3-1 with a convincing win over the Cleveland Cavaliers the Magic had an even more convincing win over the then-undefeated San Antonio Spurs. The Magic come out on top 114-87.

Coming into this game the Orlando Magic were playing great basketball by all standards. The team was moving the ball and making good decisions to get open shots. The San Antonio Spurs would be another test for Orlando to see if this was real or a mirage. The Magic showed that not only was it real, but it can be even better. From the start of the game, Orlando was the aggressor and never backed down from the Spurs. Orlando led the Spurs by as much as 36 points playing solid on both ends of the court.

Unlike last game where the ball movement was not emphasized, the Magic kept the offense flowing from tip-off. LaMarcus Aldridge was able to make some big contributions for the Spurs tallying 24 point and 11 rebounds. However, Aldridge also had the highest negative +/- in the game(-20). The efficiency that the Magic are playing with now makes them look like a sure playoff team and maybe even a championship contender. But again, it is early in the season.

 

Fournier

Evan Fournier has gotten off to a great start this season. Fournier is averaging 22.2 points per game while shooting 56% from deep. Fournier has been as consistent as anyone in the league. The Magic know what they will get from him on a daily basis and he showed it again. He started out the game hot and never really cooled down. The chemistry Fournier has with those in the starting lineup allows them to trust him taking the big shots or having the ball when they need a basket. There weren’t too many instances in this game where Orlando needed to stop a rally, but when the situation does occur, Fournier is the one to have the ball. The Magic are looking good and Evan Fournier is a big part of that.

 

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Defense

Coach Frank Vogel is known as a defensive-minded coach. The Magic look like they have finally bought into his philosophy and are playing harder on defense. The off-season acquisitions for the Magic were questioned by many in the media as it looked like Orlando did not get any help for their biggest flaw, shooting. Orlando signed free agents known more for defense and also drafted two players that were ready to play NBA defense. In this early portion of the season, it looks like Orlando made all the right moves. Orlando held the Spurs to their lowest point total of the season(Spurs also scored 87 in a win over Chicago). Orlando will only get better as the season progresses and the team gains more chemistry.

 

The Orlando Magic next game is Sunday at the Charlotte Hornets.

Post Game Reactions: Orlando Magic vs Brooklyn Nets

The second meeting between the Orlando Magic and Brooklyn Nets in just four days almost produced the same exact score. This time, Orlando came out on top as they held on to defeat the Nets 125-121 in the Amway Center.

The Orlando Magic and Brooklyn Nets are two of the top five scoring teams in the NBA. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that this was a high scoring game. The Magic had a tough time keeping Brooklyn out of the paint. This was also an issue in their last meeting when Brooklyn scored 60 points from in the painted area. This time Orlando was able to keep the total down to 50, still a little high but getting the win makes it easier to deal with. The biggest reason why Orlando gave up so many point in the paint were second chance opportunities given up by the Nets cleaning the offensive glass.  Nevertheless, Orlando was able to pull out the win.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rUuIQe-JTiM

Career Night

Aaron Gordon exploded in his return back to the court. Gordon poured in a career high 41 points while going 5 for 5 from three point range. Gordon also collected 14 rebounds in the process. Aaron Gordon has been showing signs this season that he has finally taken the jump. His game began to blossom during the preseason and last night Gordon was in full bloom. Gordon played with a confidence and a swagger that we have not seen from him in prior seasons. His confidence has steadily grown this season and will continue to do so. Being the first game back from a sore ankle it would be understandable to easy him back into the lineup. Gordon was not having it. He shot the ball well and he moved great without the ball to get open. Both of those attributes came together in crunch time as Gordon hit the go ahead three pointer.

Take Care of Home

The Orlando Magic went back and forth with the Brooklyn Nets all night keeping the game interesting. Brooklyn gave Orlando all they had and were able to gain a 10 point lead in the 4th quarter. Orlando showed resilience as they fought their way back to take the lead. So far the Magic have taken care of home court. Last season Orlando won only 16 games out of 41 home games. To be a contender in the NBA you have to be able to win on your home court consistently. With Orlando playing the style that they are and scoring so many point the fans will definitely show their support. Having a mad house of fans cheering them on transfers that energy to the team and make it difficult for visitors.

Rising in the East

The Orlando Magic are off to their best start since 2012. They are currently tied for the second spot in the eastern conference behind the Washington Wizards. Although the season is only four games old Orlando has the feel of a changed team. The national recognition has yet to be seen, but if they continue to play this way it will come. The East lost a few superstars this offseason and the early injuries are starting to mount up for competition. The early returns show a favorable chance for Orlando to make the playoffs this season.

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The Orlando Magic next game is Friday night versus the visiting San Antonio Spurs at 7pm.

 

Post Game Reactions: Orlando Magic at Cleveland Cavaliers

The Orlando Magic completed the second game of a back to back last night. Without the services of Elfrid Payton and Aaron Gordon, the Magic still defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 114-93.

From the very start of the game, the Orlando Magic were determined to win. Orlando quickly got out to a 15 point lead and as a result, never trailed in the game. The Magic made a team record 8 three-point shots in the first quarter alone, surpassing Cleveland’s total for the game(7).In total, Orlando made 17 shots from deep. They led by as much as 37 at one point. The Cavaliers were able to cut the lead down to 7 early in the third quarter but could get no closer. Consequently, the Orlando Magic came out with the unexpected win.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0nBIKPt8ylE

 

Ball movement

The Orlando Magic got the ball moving early in the game. In addition to moving the ball, shots were falling. In the first quarter alone the Magic tallied an assist on 13 baskets. The Magic finished with a total of 28 assists on the night. A total of 6 Magic players scored in double figures. Orlando made a conscious effort to take good shots. Everyone on the team made the extra pass to keep the defense chasing and ended with an open shot. Hence, the unselfish play kept the defense on its heels not having one person to key on.

Minutes

Both Orlando and Cleveland were playing the second night of a back to back. Getting out to a big lead early allowed coach Vogel to distribute minutes evenly throughout the roster. All available 13 players got time on the court and each of them scored. The leader in minutes for the Magic was Nikola Vucevic who logged 28 minutes in the game.  The Magic bench contributed more than half of the points for the night.

Filling In

The Magic were without Elfrid Payton and Aaron Gordon tonight. What would seem to be terrible absences from the outset were not sorely missed. Payton and Gordon are key contributors for Orlando. Playing any game without either of them is a huge blow to the team. Missing both players is almost an assured loss, especially versus the Cleveland Cavaliers. DJ Augustin and Jonathan Isaac were tasked with replacing the two starters.

Just looking at the final score you can tell they faired well. Augustin recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 assists in only 27 minutes. Jonathan Isaac contributed 5 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 steal in 21 minutes. Isaac also got a shot at defending Lebron James a good portion of the night. Like most opponents, Isaac had some rough times defending James. Furthermore, he also had some series where his length disrupted the play. The depth that this roster has been constructed with will help Orlando all season.

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The Orlando Magic next game is Tuesday at home versus the Brooklyn Nets.

 

Post Game Reactions: Orlando Magic at Brooklyn Nets

The Orlando Magic came into tonight’s game a man down as Aaron Gordon sat out with ankle soreness. The Magic were handed their first loss of the season 126-121.

The Magic got off to a good start against the Nets playing with pace and hitting their shots.  The Nets quickly found their way back into the game as Orlando went cold shooting the ball. Orlando had a tough time keeping Brooklyn out of the paint and gave up 32 first-half points inside. Already down Aaron Gordon, the Magic would be without Elfrid Payton who left the game just before halftime with a hamstring injury. As a result, the Magic could not overcome the loss of their two starters and came up short.

Missing Gordon

The offense was noticeably different without the services of Aaron Gordon. Consequently, Orlando was not able to speed up the tempo like they would like and were forced to run half-court sets. With Elfrid Payton out in the second half, the Magic’s offense sputtered even more. The high flying up-tempo style just was not happening. Evidence of this is the measly 5 points scored on fast breaks. The Magic are not a great shooting team so walking the ball up the floor did not create the best situations. The importance of Elfrid Payton and Aaron Gordon were seen tonight.

Vucevic on Fire

One bright spot for the Orlando Magic was the play of Nikola Vucevic. Vucevic scored 21 points and recorded a career-high 4 3-pointers in the first half. With the Magic not running the offense with tempo setting up Vucevic on pick and pops was the go-to play call. Outside of pick and pop offense, Vucevic had his way with the Brooklyn defenders in the post. Vucevic was the Magic’s main source of offense all night.  He finished the game with 41 points and 11 rebounds shooting 6-8 from behind the arch.

Interior defense

The interior defense for the Magic was the weak point tonight. Brooklyn scored an amazing 60 points in the paint, only 6 of those were on fast breaks. The Magic just could not figure out how to keep the Nets out of the paint. Not only did Brooklyn score the ball in the paint they were able to get Orlando to put them on the free throw line. The Nets took 20 more free throw shots than the Magic going 25-35 while Orlando went 13-15. Many of the Magic’s woes on defense came as a result of penetration from the perimeter not being cut off. The Magic will need to go back to the drawing board to sure up the interior defense.

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Up next

The Orlando Magic will now go on to face the Cleveland Cavaliers tomorrow night. This will be the first back to back game for both teams as Cleveland got a win over the Milwaukee Bucks tonight. The Magic hope to have both Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton back in the lineup as they look to get back in the win column.

Post Game Reactions: Orlando Magic vs Miami Heat

The first game of the regular season is in the books for the Orlando Magic. The Magic were able to hold off a late run by the Miami Heat and pick up a 116-109 victory.

 

The Orlando Magic squared off against the Miami Heat in the Amway Center Wednesday night. A rivalry game that was sure to produce some fireworks did not disappoint. The Miami got off to a good start but were unable to keep the lead as Orlando found their rhythm on offense. The Magic were able to dictate the pace of the game for most of the night and keep the Heat playing catch up. Orlando’s lead of 15 points was cut down to 5 in the fourth quarter as Miami clawed their way back into the game. Magic fans around the country held their breath in preparation for a let down familiar of previous seasons. Orlando was able to breath easy however after Evan Fournier took over on offense and propelled the Magic to a win in the season opener. Here are a few takeaways from the season opener.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bWIKf49NL64

 

Still The Closer

After receiving a new contract last summer Evan Fournier immediately gained more responsibility for the success or failure of the Orlando Magic. Fournier often found himself with the ball in his hand in the closing minutes of games for the Orlando Magic last season. He was and still is the most consistent offensive weapon the Magic have in half-court sets. In the first game of the season, Fournier showed why he was the only Magic starter not to be benched last season. With the game slipping away from the Magic in the closing minutes Fournier was able to mustard up some offense for the Magic. Two driving layups, a big three-pointer and a huge assist to Nikola Vucevic assured the Magic a victory on their home court. While other players like Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac, and Jonathon Simmons have received tons of coverage this offseason (and rightfully so) Fournier is still the man for Orlando when its closing time. The way Fournier attacks the defense coming off of a screen is unlike anyone else on the team. Fournier should have the ball in his hands to close out most if not all games.

Active Hands

The defense for the Orlando Magic is not quite where they want it to be, but it is progressing. The Magic gave up more points than they would have liked but there were some good things in the efforts. Individually the Magic did a solid job containing their own man which was a somewhat of a weakness last season. The team did a good job of keeping their hands active and causing deflections. During one Heat possession, Elfrid Payton deflected and stole the ball as his man tried to make a back cut to the basket. That led to a transition basket for Orlando. The very next trip down the court Miami tried the same play against Evan Fournier with the same results. If Orlando can continue to keep their defensive focus they will end up as a top-tier defense.

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No Issue on Offense

Coming into the season many believed the Orlando Magic would struggle on the offensive end. Tonight Orlando showed that they can put the ball in the hole with the best of them. The team had a balanced scoring attack and will need contributions like that nightly. The chemistry carrying over from last season is definitely a factor along with the up-tempo pace. After just one game completed it’s too soon to say the Magic have figured it out. However, it is encouraging for a franchise that has not won its season opener since 2012 to get off to a good start.

Orlando Magic next game Friday 7:30pm at the Brooklyn Nets.

Post Game Reactions: Orlando Magic vs Cleveland Cavaliers Preseason

The Cleveland Cavaliers visited the Orlando Magic without the services of two key starters. Still, Orlando came up short as they were defeated 113-106.

In their final preseason game, the Orlando Magic needed to keep the momentum rolling. The Cleveland Cavaliers would be playing without Lebron James and Kevin Love. Coach Frank Vogel mentioned pregame that he intended to deploy somewhat of a regular season rotation. Once the last buzzer sounded the minutes were a little more evenly distributed than a typical regular season game would be. The starters played a max of 25 minutes each and 7 reserves got time on the court. It’s probably safe to say that the starting five will spend more than 25 minutes on the court and bringing in seven players from the bench won’t be the norm. There were some things to be encouraged about as the Orlando Magic look forward to the regular season.

What Looked Good

The starting five just as it did last season, did a good job when on the floor together. Even with Jonathon Simmons in for Terrence Ross, the starters held their own. Each of the Magic starters scored in double figures with Aaron Gordon leading all scorers with 21 points.  From behind the arch, the Magic went 11 of 33, 8 of 16 from the starters alone.

Elfrid Payton had a particularly good night going 4 for 4 from the field tallying 11 points 4 rebounds and 6 assists. The chemistry with Aaron Gordon is just as strong as ever. Payton connected with Gordon for 4 of his assists o  the night.

Work in Progress

The Achilles heel for the Orlando Magic last season seemed to be the production of the bench. Tonight the bench was the weak link once again. The second unit of the Magic was outscored by the Cavaliers second unit 71-40. The bench just could not get it going tonight.  From behind the arch, they made 3 out of 16 attempts. On the bright side, Mario Hezonja was 1 for 1.

The bench will get a jolt of energy when Terrence Ross returns to the floor. Whether Ross is starting or Simmons is starting, both players provide a spark and will contribute points off the bench.

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Up Next

The Orlando Magic will now turn their attention to the regular season. All of the offseason preparations and hard work is going to count moving forward. The Orlando Magic are a mystery to the rest of the NBA. Many believe that the team is in basketball purgatory stuck between not that bad, but not really good. The pieces in place have been shifted and reshuffled for the past three years. This team finally has some consistency and that consistency has bred confidence. The Orlando Magic are hungry to prove they are more than mediocre misfit pieces. It all starts Wednesday, October 18th at the Amway Center versus the in-state rival Miami Heat.

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