Orlando Magic: The Week Ahead
A busy week lies ahead for the Orlando Magic who are playing four games in six nights, while both Jameer Nelson and Vince Carter are hobbling with injuries. Luckily, three of the four are at home in the Amway Center and the Magic have one of the deepest teams in the league. A full breakdown of the week ahead (November 8th-14th) is below.
Monday Nov 8th – Atlanta Hawks (HOME)
7:00 PM, Sun Sports
The Atlanta Hawks and Joe Johnson’s Contract are visiting the Amway Center for the first time tonight in hopes of revenging last year’s playoff sweep. In case you don’t remember, the Magic crushed the Hawks during the second round last year with an average margin of victory of 26.5 points. Atlanta was so happy with the effort put forth by the team and their best player Joe Johnson, that they rewarded him with a 6 year, $120M+ max contract. The Hawks started the season 6-0 before losing last night to the Phoenix Suns. While the record appears to be impressive at first glance, they didn’t play a decent team until last night.
The Hawks are expected to be without starting SF Marvin Williams for tonight’s game who has a bone bruise in his right knee. For the Magic, both Vince Carter (strained hip flexor) and Jameer Nelson (sprained ankle) are listed as questionable. With it being so early in the season, I would be surprised to see either play unless they are 100%. Expect Stan Van Gundy to continue tinkering with his rotations.
Wednesday Nov 10th – Utah Jazz (HOME)
7:00 PM, ESPN
The Utah Jazz and Deron Williams come to Orlando on Wednesday in what is likely to be the most competitive game of the week. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN so you can expect to hear about the Miami Heat for at least half the game, regardless if it has no bearing on the action in front of them. The rest of the game commentary will likely be spent debating the pros/cons of Dwight Howard’s offensive game. If you want to avoid ESPN, the game will also be televised on Sun Sports.
With Al Jefferson now manning the Center position for the Jazz, Utah matches up much better against Orlando. Jefferson should be able to handle, or at least limit Dwight, by himself which will allow Utah to not double team D12 and focus on stopping the rest of the Magic scorers. Deron Williams is a big, strong PG who would trouble the Magic even if Jameer is able to play and Paul Millsap is basically a much better Brandon Bass. This game will be the toughest game of the week and will be especially difficult if Vince or Jameer are still out.
Friday Nov 12th – Toronto Raptors (HOME)
7:00 PM, FSN Florida
In the final home game of the week, the Toronto Raptors will visit Orlando to face off with the Magic. Toronto may be the worst team in the league and the only real reason to watch them play is in case young Raptor’s Demar DeRozan or Sonny Weems are able to get out on a fast break and display their dunking skills. Former 1st overall draft pick Andrea Bargnani is actually improving quite a bit as well and is averaging 20.3 PPG so far this year.
Luckily for Magic fans, Orlando is an entertaining enough team on its own to merit the price of admission. Plus, it’s Friday night… So just head downtown afterwards!
Saturday Nov 13th – New Jersey Nets (AWAY)
7:00 PM, Sun Sports
The Magic travel to Newark to face off with the Nets in a rematch from a game a week earlier that the Magic won by 15 points. The Magic had a sloppy first half in that game but came out with a lot of intensity in the second half and Dwight Howard owned the Nets best player, Brook Lopez. Lopez was 0-13 at one point in the game and finished with only 10 points and 5 rebounds. Expect Lopez to be a little better at home, but in 7 career matchups with Dwight, Lopez is averaging only 11.9 points and 7.4 rebounds. Lopez’s career averages through his first 2+ seasons are 16 PPG and 8.3 rebounds. The only other real offensive threat the Nets possess is former all star, Devin Harris, who has regressed substantially without great players surrounding him. A loss here would certainly be a disappointment, but it is a back-to-back on the road, so anything can happen.