The Magic are on the road for the first time this season, heading deep into Georgia in the hopes of knocking off the high-flying (after one game) Hawks of Atlanta.
The Magic started their season in winning fashion, taking the spoils from Cleveland in their home opener. It was a game that never rose to any great heights, with Orlando really only doing what was needed to secure the W. The starters were competent, the bench seemingly improved over last season, and the Fultz debut was fuel for optimism.
Still, the side will have to be better if they want to stay on the right side of the ledger. Against the Cavs they gave up too much on the glass, including 10 possessions extended through offensive rebounds. When looking to score they suffered through some stretches of stagnant ball movement, as well as a failure to leverage efficient shots like the corner three (0-3 as a team on the night). Additionally, they benefited from a cold shooting night by Cleveland, who shot just 26.5% from deep and 66.7% from the line.
The Hawks project to be stiffer opposition, particularly on their home court. They waxed Detroit by 17 to open their season, with dynamic second-year guard Trae Young leading the way and veterans Jabari Parker and Evan Turner propping up an effective bench unit. As a team they moved the ball well, got to the free-throw line, and converted a strong percentage of their shots from the field. However, it’s a young side undoubtedly prone to inconsistency, which the Magic can hopefully encourage by amping up their own defensive intensity.
Heading into the season Orlando spoke of the advantage roster continuity should bring them during the opening stretch. This is another game in which they must capitalize, particularly with the Raptors, Bucks and Nuggets all on the schedule for the upcoming week. The team needs to bank each and every expected win if they’re going to maintain momentum after last season’s return to the playoffs.
Heading into this one what questions might be rattling around in the head of Magic fans? How about:
- Are we getting FIBA Fournier or the 2018/19 model that posted career-worst figures from deep? The one-game sample is trending in the right direction.
- What will the next installment of the Fultz MVP campaign look like?
- Does DJ Augustin have any chance of containing Trae Young? Dude looked a lot like Steph Curry when the Hawks kicked their season off.
- As a guy who looks like he could be playing in your local rec’ league, how will Kevin Huerter fare in season two?
- Jonathan Isaac’s going to be better, right? Right?!
As always, be sure to join us in the game thread and dive into the discussion!