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Orlando Face “The Best In The West”

Regular Season Game 49 – Orlando Magic vs Minnesota Timberwolves 

  • Venue – Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • U.K. tip time is 1am, which is 8pm in Orlando and 7pm in the North Star State.
  • To watch Orlando face “the best in the West” live or on demand here in the U.K. you will again need an active NBA League Pass subscription.

Orlando Magic 

Season Stats

  • Regular Season Record: 25-23
  • Run: Won 1 and are 4-6 in the last 10 played.
  • Home Record 15-7 (15-6 in the Kia Center; one “home court” loss was in Mexico City)
  • Road Record 10-16
  • Standing: 8th in the East (record tied with Miami in 7th, but they hold the tie-breaker)
  • Points Per GameFor 111.6 Against 110.9
  • RatingOffensive 24th Defensive 4th

Last Time Out For Orlando: vs The San Antonio Spurs 

  • Orlando got the W over the San Antonio Spurs in a 108-98 road victory. 
  • The opening quarter saw the Magic adapting on both ends of the court to the Spurs play, particularly the talent and presence of No. 1 pick; Victor Wembanyama. And how they learnt.
  • In 18 minutes on court Jonathan Isaac contributed 8 points, 4 rebounds and 4 blocks whilst consistently being matched up with Wemby. And what a battle it was! At times JI’s defensive game suffocated his opponent. Wembanyama posted 21 points, most coming when Isaac was on the bench.  
  • The Magic locked in during the next two periods, building a 25 point lead. Truthfully, it should have been game. Yet again the Magic fancied a close road game and on the back of some excellent play (along with the obligatory Magic turnovers and cold shooting streak) the Spurs came all the way back to within three points during the clutch stages of the final period. That was as close as it got, the Magic refocused and closed the game out on a 9-2 run.
  • Paolo Banchero had another excellent all-round performance with 25 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists.  
  • Franz Wagner finished with 20 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists.
  • Wendell Carter Jr also battled with Wemby, contributing 14 points. Double digit scoring was rounded out by Markelle Fultz (11), Cole Anthony (11) and Moritz Wagner (10).
  • Jalen Suggs produced an energetic stat line, including 5 assists and 4 steals.
  • In the starting lineup Markelle Fultz rejoined Jalen Suggs, Franz Wagner, Paolo Banchero and Wendell Carter Jr.
  • From the bench Jonathan Isaac, Anthony Black, Cole Anthony, Moritz Wagner and Joe Ingles played.
  • Chuma Okeke, Goga Bitadze, Trevelin Queen, Caleb Houstan and Admiral Schofield were available but did not play.

Tonight

  • Gary Harris (calf) is listed as day-to-day and probable for tonight, having been out for 14 consecutive games.
  • Jett Howard is unavailable on G-League assignment again.
  • Kevon Harris is listed as out, simply as being “G-League two-way”.
  • Coach Mosley could be playing this one with almost a full squad available. It is hard to see anything but his preferred starting option seeing heavy minutes, along with the core bench unit.

The Minnesota Timberwolves

Season Stats

  • Regular Season Record: 34-14 Run: Won 2 and are at 7-3 in the last 10 played.
  • Standing: 1st in the West 
  • Points Per GameFor 113.1 Against 107
  • RatingOffensive 18th Defensive 1st
  • At home the TWolves have been almost untouchable, being at an 18-4 record.
  • Minnesota are built on defence, particularly of the three-point-line, blocks and rebounding. The leagues top rated defence concedes the fewest points per game.
  • Whilst not being the highest volume shooters Minnesota has the league’s second best three-point percentage and is 7th for the over all field goal percentage.
  • So far this season Coach Chris Finch’s squad has been blessed with both great chemistry and good health. 
  • Rudy Gobert is back to his exceptional best on defence. He has the NBA’s best defensive rating and is grabbing boards at a rate of 12.4 per game (2nd in the NBA). He is also top 10 in all block categories and in field goal percentage. 
  • Their star man on offence is Anthony Edwards with 25.5 points per game.
  • A healthy Karl Anthony Towns is always an effective player to call on. He is scoring 22.7 points per game and rebounding strongly.
  • Mike Conley continues to make assists. In his 19th season he is playing at a an incredible level.
  • Naz Reid is having an effective season, leading the second unit in both points and rebounding.

Last Time Out For The Minnesota Timberwolves

  • Minnesota took a home win by 87-121 over an injury ravaged Dallas Mavericks on January 31st.
  • A Luka-less Mavs were put to the sword by a ruthless second half by the T-Wolves. A 4 point half time Minnesota advantage was extended to 13 by the close of the third. Dallas again completely failed to compete in the final period, seeing a 17-38 period.
  • Karl Anthony Towns put up a 29 points to lead his team. Rudy Gobert had 17 points and the bench was again led by Naz Reid with 12 points.
  • Anthony Edwards had a quiet shooting night, taking only 7 shots for 9 points. He dished out 5 of the team’s 31 assists.
  • The starting 5 was Mike Conley, Anthony Edwards, Jaden McDaniels, Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert.
  • From the bench came Naz Reid, Kyle Anderson, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Jordan McClaughlin were the bench core. Troy Brown Jr, Shake Milton, Luke Garza and Wendell Moore Jr saw minutes once the game was won.
  • Leonard Miller, Daishen Nix and Josh Minott were listed as inactive, as was Jaylen Clark who is injured.

Tonight

  • Jaylen Clark remains the only injury issue for the home side.
  • Expect for Minnesota to feature the same starting 5 as against Dallas. When available it has been the starting and closing unit of choice.

Head-To-Head With The Minnesota Timberwolves

  • In 68 regular season games played the score stands at 43-25 to Orlando.
  • There has been one meeting already this season, on game day 37. The Minnesota Timberwolves led from start to finish, with the Magic having no answer to them in a 113-92 loss. The Wolves led by as many as 34 points in what was a grim watch for Magic fans.
  • The series tied at 1-1 last season, each team taking the road game, being the case in 4 of the last 6 series. The Wolves last took the series in season 2016-17.

A Final Thought As Orlando Face “The Best In The West”

  • This is a far from easy task against a brilliant defensive team. Against the Wolves opponents are shooting just 44.9% from the field, the second-lowest figure in the league. The Wolves are also top 5 at restricting second chance points, protecting the paint and limiting fast break points. 
  • With Magic forward Paolo Banchero being named to the 2024 NBA All-Star team for the first time he will looking to lead the team again tonight. Banchero has played and started in all 48 games this season, whilst averaging team-highs per game of 23.0 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. He is weighing in further with a shade over steal per game.

The Let’s Talk Magic Game Preview

GO MAGIC!