Magic's Defense Leading to Efficient Offense So Far in Preseason

by Josh Cohen

ORLANDO – A statistical category to keep a close eye on this season is points off turnovers, something Orlando Magic Head Coach Steve Clifford believes is a key to his team making more progress.

Creating offense with their defense, which should be outstanding with the size and versatility they have across the roster, will be important for a team who struggled in that area a year ago.

The Magic ranked 24th in the league in points off turnovers last season and 28th in transition offense. Playing at a faster pace could help Orlando be more efficient, which is what it has been thus far in the preseason.

Through two exhibition games, the Magic have forced their opponents – the Spurs and Pistons – into a combined 44 turnovers. Off those miscues, Orlando has averaged 25 points – accumulating 30 against San Antonio and 20 against Detroit. To give you an idea of just how good that is, the Kings led the league in points off turnovers in 2018-19 with an average of 19.3 per game.

Orlando’s defense, in general, has been smothering. The Pistons shot just 33.7 percent from the field and 27 percent from 3-point range. From Jan. 31 until the end of last year’s regular season, a stretch in which they went 22-9, the Magic led the NBA in opponent 3-point percentage (31.5 percent).

On the other end during Monday’s win, Orlando’s ball movement – just like it was in San Antonio – was excellent. The Magic amassed 32 assists and drilled 15 of their 35 attempts from beyond the arc. A few of their best offensive plays came after they made a splendid defensive play.

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