The Orlando Magic close their scrimmage schedule with the return of Jonathan Isaac and a matchup with the gigantic Denver Nuggets.
Orlando Magic (30-35) vs. Brooklyn Nets (30-34)
Time/TV: 2:30 p.m./FOX Sports Florida
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2020 Season Series: Magic 101, Nets 89 in Orlando on Jan. 6; Magic 115, Nets 113 in Brooklyn on Feb. 24; Today at the NBA Campus; August 11 at the NBA Campus
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Steve Clifford said it best after practice Thursday: He has no feel for how this game is going to go. That is normal though. It is not as much about the league’s hiatus. The first few games of every season are a bit uneasy for a coach as they do not know exactly how their team is going to fit together. Of course, this is different. This game matters. It is probably the biggest game of the year. The Magic could every easily come out unable to hit a shot and find themselves in a grind. The defense is not exactly a point of confidence. Or they could come out like gangbusters and win running away. The Brooklyn Nets could exploit all the Orlando Magic’s weaknesses too. Brooklyn is undermanned without several key players. But the team still plays hard and is still potent. If the Magic are as focused as they say they are, they should win. But they could be focused, miss a bunch of shots and find themselves in trouble anyway. The mystery is half the fun!
1) The Orlando Magic are eager to show they are a Playoff team and ready to face the Brooklyn Net sin an important game, Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel writes.
2) The Orlando Magic know they cannot underestimate the schedule they will play in the seeding round.
3) Like the Orlando Magic, the Brooklyn Nets know how important this opening game is to their Playoff hopes, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes.
4) The Orlando Magic announced the statements players will wear on their jerseys for the seeding round.
5) Jonathan Isaac’s return is welcomed for the Orlando Magic, but it is not a cure-all for a team with lots of improvements to make. His return did give the Magic a reason to smile still, Nick Friedell of ESPN.com writes. And also a much-needed boost.
6) The numbers certainly suggest Jonathan Isaac’s return will improve the team’s defense, Seth Partnow of The Athletic observes. But his impact will be felt in more ways than one, Mike Cali of Orlando Pinstriped Post writes.
7) Luke Duffy of Hoops Habit looks at three things we learned from the Orlando Magic’s scrimmages.
8) Jamal Crawford’s status for Friday’s game is still unknown as the Brooklyn Nets struggle to piece their rotation together with their undermanned roster, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes.
9) The NBA showed its commitment to be a beacon beyond the basketball court with its teamwide demonstrations before the games, Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel writes.
10) The Orlando Magic are still trying to find their defensive identity after an inconsistent run through the regular season, Garrett Townsend of Orlando Pinstriped Post writes. The Magic are also trying to find out if their offensive surge was a fluke.
12) Brooklyn Nets guard Jamal Crawford discusses the team’s chances with Steve Serby of the New York Post.
13) Rodions Kurucs is thriving as a small-ball five inside the bubble, Kirstian Winfield of the New York Daily News writes.
14) Michael Carter-Williams joined the Bob Ryan & Jeff Goodman NBA Podcast and discussed the depression he found himself in as his NBA career seemed to be hanging by a thread.
15) Offensive consistency is going to be key for the Orlando Magic during the seeding round, Omar Cabrera writes.
16) Gary Clark could be a critical piece of the Orlando Magic’s rotation, Tim Briggs writes.
17) Jarrett Allen is a player to watch for the Brooklyn Nets as they try to claim a playoff spot, Neil Pane of FiveThirtyEight writes. Tyler Johnson could also prove to be a big piece off the bench.
18) Andy Bailey of Bleacher/Report explores potential landing spots for Aaron Gordon with a fresh round of trade rumors springing up.