5 little improvements that will determine the Orlando Magic’s season
Winning in the Clutch
How better way to make sure the Orlando Magic win close games than to win the 50/50 games.
The reality is the margins to make the postseason are going to be very narrow. The difference between making and missing the postseason could come down to how many clutch games the Magic end up winning.
Orlando took advantage of that last year too. The Magic finished 19-25 in clutch situations, when the game is within five poitns in the final minutes, with a 111.1/120.4 offensive/defensive rating split.
This is another situation where the Magic’s defense seemingly betrayed them. It is an area where the team lost a lot of games because their defensive identity did not follow them to pressure situations, much like with the team’s struggles on the second night of back-to-backs.
There is at least some good news. Orlando was 16-13 in clutch situations after Dec. 7 with an offensive/defensive rating split of 117.4/112.3. That was certainly much improved and something that could help the team deliver wins in the future.
That also means the Magic were a mere 3-12 in clutch games before Dec. 7. That is the reason the Magic missed the playoffs right there. Just as a big reason why the Magic were able to stay in the postseason chase was because they were winning these close games.
The good news then is the Magic are a team that can win these close games. One of their advantage is they have mutliple players they can turn to win these games late — Paolo Banchero is the natural scorer for late in games, Markelle Fultz is an excellent closer and playmaker and Franz Wagner can do it all too.
That will help the Magic close these games out. And, in the end, the Magic will likely look at how they played in these close games to improve their overall record and get them into the postseason.