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Magic's Defense Has Been Special During Recent Stretch

Josh Cohen
Digital News Manager

ORLANDO - Over the last four games, all dominant wins, the Magic have:

  • Held All-Star Khris Middleton to 4-of-17 shooting and 11 points while limiting the entire Bucks team to 17 percent shooting from 3-point range

  • Quieted up-and-coming youngsters Trae Young and John Collins, who combined to shoot 8-of-21 from the floor

  • Limited perennial MVP candidate, Anthony Davis, to one of his worst performances of his career – 1-of-9 shooting and three points

  • Held arch nemesis Kemba Walker to one of his worst performances this season – 4-of-20 shooting, 0-of-7 from beyond the arc and 10 points – while confining the entire Hornets squad to 4-of-30 shooting from 3-point distance

This is just a taste of what the Magic, winners of seven of their last eight games, have done to opponents recently.

When this team was put together last summer, some – including head coach Steve Clifford – envisioned this all being a possibility. The collective length, athleticism and instincts this team possesses is off the charts, and it’s showing over the last couple of weeks.

In just about every defensive category since late January, the Magic rank at or near the very top. During this 7-1 stretch, the Magic rank:

  • No. 1 in opponent field goal percentage (41.2 percent)
  • No. 1 in opponent 3-point percentage (29.2 percent)
  • No. 1 in defensive rating (98.8)
  • No. 5 in opponent free throw attempts (19.8 FTA)
  • No. 2 in opponent points off turnovers (11.8)
  • No. 2 in opponent second chance points (10.0)
  • No. 2 in opponent fast break points (8.8)

What’s even more amazing is that the offense has been almost just as good. In two straight games, Orlando has dished out 32 assists. It has also drilled at least 10 threes in 10 consecutive games.