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Pregame notebook: D.J. Augustin’s play, and a Jonathan Isaac update

In this notebook, Zach looks at what D.J. Augustin has done in the last seven games, and gives an update on Jonathan Isaac.

Orlando Magic v New York Knicks Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

D.J. Augustin’s strong play

Since the Orlando Magic’s ugly loss at home to the Los Angeles Clippers on November 2nd, the team has reeled off wins in five of their last seven contests.

Over that time, the team has played, consistently, some of their best basketball in recent years. Shots have begun falling, and the defense has stayed with them, something that was a glaring issue over their first eight games.

Part of that success has been the strong play of D.J. Augustin.

Coming off, statistically, one of his best seasons as a pro, Augustin got off to a little bit of a slow start. The 10 year veteran saw his shot struggle to fall at a consistent rate, and showed inconsistencies initiating the offense.

Now, Augustin is rolling, shooting 50 percent from the field, and 45 percent from deep to go along with nearly six assists per game over their last seven.

His calming presence has helped the Magic’s offense find its rhythm, and begin to turn things around.

“I think he’s been terrific,” said Magic coach Steve Clifford. “Look at his assist-to-turnover ratio. He’s the one, if you want to use the word sacrifice, you know, D.J.’s an offensive pick and roll point guard. Yet, he’s playing very much as an organizer and distributor. As much as any guys that we have, he’s giving up, and I think sacrificing, a good bit of his, offensive aggressiveness to score, and putting the team and getting other people the ball first.”

On the season, Augustin has 73 assists to just 15 turnovers. Over the last seven, Augustin has turned the ball over just seven times, and has had three games with zero turnovers. That consistency, and ability to take care of the ball has helped lead to the Magic’s vast improvements on the offensive end.

At the end of the day, Augustin isn’t going to put up the big numbers that some point guards might, but his consistency, and ability to make the right play at all times, has made a huge impact on the Magic offensively.

Jonathan Isaac’s return

After missing six games due to yet another sprained ankle, Jonathan Isaac returned to the court for the Magic during Wednesday nights victory against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Isaac made his presence known with a huge block on Joel Embiid that helped the Magic continue their 21-0 run that got them back into the game. The second year man only played 16 minutes, and can expect to play roughly the same on Saturday night against the Los Angeles Lakers, and Sunday against the New York Knicks.

After that, depending on how he feels, could see his minutes go up against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday.

Once he’s fully back, Isaac will return to the starting lineup, says coach Clifford.

“Eventually, once he can get his minutes back. It makes everything so much easier. I think it’ll help the bench, to be honest. That’s a little bit down the road too.”

It’s no surprise that Isaac will return to the starting lineup once he’s able to go at a full pace. Wes Iwundu has done a fine job of willing in for him, and does all the right things on the floor, but getting Isaac the time is important as one of the staples of the team moving forward.