10 Most Intriguing Orlando Magic Games in 2021-22

by Josh Cohen

Oct. 20 at Spurs

For the first time since 2014 and just the ninth time in franchise history, the Magic will open their season on the road. Their opponent will be the San Antonio Spurs, making it only the fourth time they will play their first game of the year against a Western Conference opponent. Orlando has won four straight opening night contests.

Oct. 22 vs. Knicks

The Magic’s home opener will be against the New York Knicks featuring former Orlando players Evan Fournier and Dwayne Bacon. Fournier, who played for the Magic from 2014-2021 before getting traded to the Celtics at the deadline last season, signed a four-year deal with the Knicks this summer, while Bacon, also a member of last year’s Magic squad, inked a contract with New York shortly after Orlando waived him. The Magic’s subsequent game will also be against the Knicks. That contest will take place at Madison Square Garden.

Oct. 29 at Raptors

Many were surprised when the Toronto Raptors chose Scottie Barnes instead of Jalen Suggs with their fourth overall pick in the 2021 draft. For the first time in their professional careers, the two will go head-to-head when the Magic start a three-game road trip in late October. The Raptors intend on playing their home games in Toronto this season. Last year, due to pandemic restrictions north of the border, their home court was in Tampa.

Oct. 30 at Pistons

Felt in Las Vegas during NBA Summer League, there’s a rotating rivalry between each of the top five picks from the 2021 draft. One night after going up against Barnes, Suggs will square off against Cade Cunningham, Detroit’s No. 1 overall pick. The 6-foot-8 Cunningham starts his pro career after a year at Oklahoma State, where he averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 27 games.

Nov. 20 & 22 at Bucks

Coaches and players around the league raved about playing the same opponent twice in a row without travel in between. The Magic have this on their schedule three times this year, with two of those sets coming against the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks. The first set will take place in Milwaukee on Nov. 20 and 22. The second will be in Orlando on Dec. 28 and 30.

Nov. 26 vs. Bulls

Nikola Vucevic will make his highly anticipated return to Orlando when the Bulls come to town the day after Thanksgiving. The two-time NBA All-Star was traded to Chicago at the deadline last season in a deal that delivered Wendell Carter Jr. and two first round draft picks to Orlando, one of which was used to take Franz Wagner in the 2021 draft. In his 8 ½ seasons with the Magic, Vucevic averaged 17.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists.

Dec. 1 vs. Nuggets

Just a few nights later, Aaron Gordon will make his return to Amway Center. The 6-foot-8, 235-pounder, dealt to the Denver Nuggets in a deadline transaction last season that brought Gary Harris, R.J. Hampton and a future first round pick to Orlando, averaged 12.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists in his 6 ½ seasons with the Magic. Hampton, the 24th overall pick in the 2020 draft, had a strong finish to his rookie campaign after the deal. He was named the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month in May.

Jan. 15 at Mavs

Jamahl Mosley, hired by the Magic in July to be their 15th head coach in team history, goes back to Dallas where he was an assistant under Rick Carlisle from 2014-2021. Although Carlisle is now at the helm in Indiana, Mosley will coach against many familiar faces, including Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Jalen Brunson.

Jan. 21 vs. Lakers

LeBron James’ one Central Florida visit this season will be on Jan. 21 when his Lakers are in town. The Lakers will look much different this season after their disappointing and injury-riddled finish this past year. They acquired nine-time NBA All-Star Russell Westbrook in the offseason and signed a collection of vets, including 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony. They also brought back Dwight Howard, a member of their 2019-20 championship squad.

April 10 vs. Heat

Unlike last season when their last four games were on the road, this season four of the Magic’s final five games will be at Amway Center. The finale will take place on April 10 against their Sunshine State rivals, who some believe after signing Kyle Lowry and P.J. Tucker could be right back into title contention. Interesting they wrap up against the Heat considering in four of the last five seasons they tipped off their season against them.

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