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Magic vs. Timberwolves preview: Fournier returns as Magic look to snap losing streak

Fournier returns after missing nine games with back spasms

Orlando Magic v Oklahoma City Thunder Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images

The Magic are getting some help at a time when they need it most.

Evan Fournier will make his return after missing the last last nine games with back spasms.

The Magic, also without other key pieces, went 2-7 over that stretch, including their current six-game losing streak.

During that streak, which began after Markelle Fultz was lost for the season, the Magic have posted a league-worst offensive-rating of 98.3 points per 100 possessions, sitting just below the Cleveland Cavaliers, the lone team the Magic have defeated since the calendar flipped to 2021.

The Magic have shot 40.8% from the field during the stretch, making just 28.6% of their 33.8 three-point attempts per, with both percentages second-to-last in the league over that span.

And it hasn’t been because of a lack of good looks. The Magic have the league’s lowest shooting percentage on wide-open threes this season, making just 33% of their 15.6 attempts per game while the nearest defender was six or more feet away from the shooter, and just 32.1% of their 11.4 open threes where the nearest defender 4 to 6 feet away (sixth worst in NBA).

Over the last six games, the Magic have hit just 31.3% of their wide-open threes and 30.4% of their open threes.

Fournier, we hope, can help that, as Dwayne Bacon takes a seat on the bench. Bacon is shooting 41.4% from the field and 26.7% from three this season. He’s coming off one of his worst performances of the season, in which he had 2 points on 1-for-7 shooting (0-for-3 from deep) and committed five fouls, one of which was a foolish reach-in while Aaron Gordon had Julius Randle locked up in the fourth.

Bacon was one of many (meaning everyone except Nikola Vucevic) who contributed to the Magic having their worst offensive game of the season in a 91-84 loss to the Knicks on Monday.

Fournier, averaging 14.8 points on 51.1% shooting this season, at least gives the Magic a somewhat reliable outside threat.

That, combined with the fact they’ll be facing a 3-9 Timberwolves team with the NBA’s third worst defensive rating (113.9 points) and fifth worst offensive rating (104.4), gives the Magic their best chance of breaking their losing streak during what is the most grueling part of their first-half schedule.

The Wolves will also be without Karl-Anthony Towns, who unfortunately is out after testing positive for COVID-19. Minnesota is led by D’Angelo Russell, who is averaging 21.6 points per while shooting nearly 40 percent from three. The Magic also get their first look at No. 1 overall pick, Anthony Edwards, who is averaging 12.5 points per.

Who: Orlando Magic (6-8) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (3-9)

When: Wednesday at 8 p.m.

Where: Target Center - Minneapolis, Minnesota

TV: Fox Sports Florida