The Orlando Magic wait to face the Houston Rockets, hoping to steal a critical win from a Western Conference power as their road trip continues.
Orlando Magic (28-35) vs. Houston Rockets (39-23)
Time/TV: 7 p.m./FOX Sports Florida
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2020 Season Series: Rockets 130, Magic 107 in Orlando on Dec. 13; Tonight in Houston
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The Orlando Magic finally face a game where the opponent comes in with a rest disadvantage. The Orlando Magic were waiting in Houston while the Houston Rockets had to play the Charlotte Hornets. That game did not go according to plan for the Rockets. They fell behind by 20 points off the bat and fought to get back into the game, but could not sustain shooting. Their plans to go small have had mixed results. And Saturday was the downside of that mixed result. The Magic should be able to score. That has been the case for weeks now. But with their defense struggling and the potential for Nikola Vucevic to be stuck on the perimeter defender, this might be a recipe for the Rockets to bounce back in an odd matchup for the Magic to face.
1) Orlando Magic coach Steve Clifford said he is feeling better after dehydration caused him to leave Friday’s game and go to the hospital, Chris Hays of the Orlando Sentinel writes. Clifford said he got calls from former colleagues telling him to be mindful of his health, Jenny Dial Creech of The Athletic writes.
2) The Houston Rockets never found their footing in falling to the Charlotte Hornets on the road on Saturday. Turnovers prevented the Rockets from getting itself going.
3) Wesley Iwundu returns home to Houston as a starter for the Orlando Magic, a sign of how far his journey has come, John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com writes.
4) The Orlando Magic have to trust their youth to close games and make comebacks like they did last year, Spencer Henderson writes.
5) The Orlando Magic showed their resilience in the face of injury yet again as their offense evolved again.
6) The Houston Rockets’ legacy will be set with a championship ring, Lachard Binkley of Space City Scoop writes.
7) Josh Robbins of The Athletic gives his take on why Mohamed Bamba’s minutes have been limited and why that might still be beneficial for him.
8) Especially now with the injury to Evan Fournier, this is Aaron Gordon’s time to shine, Luke Duffy of Hoops Habit writes.
9) With Evan Fournier out, the Orlando Magic will need several players to pull their weight to make up for his absence, John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com writes.
10) The playoffs are almost assured and there is not a ton of upward mobility. Still, there are plenty of questions left to answer in the final quarter of the season.
11) Statistics say Terrence Ross is the best shooter off screens in the NBA today, Josh Cohen of OrlandoMagic.com writes.
12) The Orlando Magic’s defensive struggles have betrayed a growing and steady offense, Omar Cabrera writes.
13) Indeed, Orlando Magic coach Steve Clifford has struggled as much as his team to get the most out of this season.
14) Jonathan Isaac ranks 21st in ESPN’s ranking of the top-25 players under 25 years old.
15) The Orlando Magic’s poor first quarters have left them chasing and left them far behind, Chet Stirston writes.
16) Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins discussed the Magic’s future projects, including the entertainment complex and new practice facility, with Justin Warmoth of ClickOrlando.com.
17) Sham Chrarania of The Athletic reports the Phoenix Suns made a late push for Aaron Gordon at the trade deadline, confirming other rumors circulating about the Magic’s intent around that time.
18) The NBA is making plans to get together with teams to share best practices and standards for testing for the coronavirus among players and may consider playing games without fans in attendance if the outbreak becomes worse.