The Orlando Magic are back in action after a game postponement this week as they get their trip to Boston to take on the Boston Celtics to start a long road trip.
Orlando Magic (6-5) vs. Boston Celtics (7-3)
7:30 p.m./FOX Sports Florida
No Tickets Available
2020 Season Series:
in Orlando on Jan. 24;
in Boston on Feb. 5;
in the NBA Disney Campus on Aug. 9
2021 Season Series:
Tonight in Orlando
The Boston Celtics have not played since last Friday. That is when they came in contact with the Washington Wizards and were potentially exposed to COVID-19. Several players went into the health and safety protocols from there and they did not have enough players to take the court (the league requires eight). The Orlando Magic were gifted an extra two days to prepare then and they really needed it. Since Markelle Fultz’s injury, the Magic have completely shifted their style of play, roles and playing groups. They have looked like a team that is still figuring everything out. Orlando will still have work to do, but the team should look a lot better having worked through some things in a practice. And an undermanned Celtics team is the perfect testing ground.
3 Keys To Watch
The big word for the Orlando Magic has been organization. The team has struggled to look like a cohesive unit as they struggled to get their offense going.
In the last three games, Orlando has posted 97.6 points per 100 possessions. That is a terrible offensive output, to say the least. They have failed to score 100 points, to say the least.
The Magic hope these problems are mostly one of understanding and chemistry. They have to hope that the issues are simply about familiarity. And so a few days of practice should get the team back on a better track. And that will be the biggest key for the Magic. To look like a functioning team again.
Rest vs. Rust
The biggest storyline for this game is to figure out how much time off is too much time off. The Boston Celtics have not played in a week because of the health and safety protocols. That is a lot of time off and their ability to practice was certainly limited because they have fewer bodies available than the Orlando Magic.
The Magic certainly believe their three days without a game will help them refresh physically and mentally to get through the rest of the season. Coach Steve Clifford said the team looked as energetic and strong physically as they had since the season began during Thursday’s practice.
The Celtics are still without Jayson Tatum. They will get some size back, which they lacked in last week’s loss to the Washington Wizards with Tristan Thompson and Grant Williams returning. Jaylen Brown was listed as questionable as of Thursday night. They practiced for the first time since that game last Friday on Thursday with Kemba Walker joining them, although he will be out for Friday’s game.
The shooting problem
The difference for this game will then be 3-point shooting. That has actually been one of the key differences for the Orlando Magic in their last three games. They have struggled to shoot from the perimeter and they have given up a ton of threes.
In the last three games, the Magic are shooting 27.5-percent from beyond the arc. They have made only 8.3 per game, by far the worst in the league. The Magic have to move the ball better and get open looks. And just make them.
The bigger concern is the defense. In the last three games, opponents have shot 45.1-percent from deep. That is the second-worst mark in the league. The Magic have prided themselves on being a good defensive team against the 3-point line. So this is a point of major concern. The Celtics are a good shooting team making 39.2-percent from deep. Orlando will have to do a good job stopping Boston from firing from deep.