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Off-Day Debate: Magic/Warriors predictions

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The Magic face the defending champs on Monday in the third game of their West Coast trip

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Orlando Magic Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

It's the new Warriors versus the actual Warriors.

Well, not really. But it was just a few short days ago that a headline by The Ringer actually called the Magic the "new Warriors" because of their surging offense and three-point proficiency.

Remember?

Another debate could be about where that headline ranked on the sarcasm meter, but there is no denying that the Magic's modernized style of play, based on pacing and spacing, resembles that of the defending champions. The Magic obviously just have a long way to go before perfecting it the way the Warriors have.

The Warriors lead the league in three-point shooting at 41.5 percent. The Magic are second in the league at 40.6 percent.

The Warriors have a pace of 104.7 possessions per game, fifth fastest in the league. The Magic are right behind them at 103.9.

The Warriors have the best offense in the league, averaging 116.5 points per 100 possessions. The Magic, having dropped off somewhat after rough offensive outings against the Bulls and Celtics, are averaging 106.9 points per 100 possessions, tied for seventh best in the league.

Monday's game will be the measuring stick of all measuring sticks for the Magic, who have enjoyed early season success but also been the beneficiary of catching teams at opportune times (Spurs without Kawhi, Knicks without Porzingis, Cavs without Rose, etc.). With the Warriors expected to be at full strength, and the Magic coming off a rest day, Orlando will learn plenty about themselves.

The Magic have lost eight straight games to the Warriors, with their last win coming in 2012. Last season the Warriors disposed of the Magic with ease, winning by 20 in the first match-up, and 30 in the next.

It will be interesting to see if the up-tempo, three-point shooting Magic, aka the so-called "new Warriors," can close that gap this season or maybe even steal a win.


Prediction time....

Mike Cali: If Elfrid Payton is unable to play (it may actually be wise for the Magic to hold him out again) I would expect Frank Vogel to start Jonathon Simmons at point guard for defensive purposes, in hopes of disrupting Stephen Curry in some way. Still, keeping pace with the Warriors offensively is a lot to ask, even with a healthy Payton in the lineup. If the Magic allow the Warriors to score at will - as they did the Nuggets, who scored 70 first-half points on Saturday - and if Orlando rebounds the way they have at time this season, they'll have zero chance. Getting the Warriors to miss is an accomplishment in itself, so giving them a second-chance opportunity is a death wish. I say the Magic trade baskets and keep pace for a while before the Warriors pull away late: Warriors 123, Magic 110

Evan Dunlap: Since losing at home to the so-so Detroit Pistons two days before Halloween, Golden State has ripped off six straight victories by an average margin of 21.5 points, and the closest game in that stretch was a 17-point romp over the Miami Heat. It's tough to imagine this Orlando Magic team, which stands 2-3 in its last five games and owns a middling defense, mounting much of a challenge. Warriors 120, Magic 97

Aaron Goldstone: I think this game has a chance to be a high-scoring affair. Both teams boast top-10 NBA offenses, that's of course nothing new for the Warriors. Golden St. hasn't been as dominant on defense as they have been in recent year. But I think they will have the superior talent and depth in this one, and I don't think it will be that close. Warriors 120, Magic 102

Zach Oliver: While the Magic's start to the season is nice, the Warriors are a different beast than they've seen. With Elfrid Payton's hamstring still an issue, the Magic could be in for a long night. Oh, and the Warriors just murder everyone out of haldtime. The third quarter hasn't been the Magic's best friend in recent years. Warriors 134, Magic 106

What do you think the final score will be, and why? Join the debate below....