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Orlando Magic’s 8 Interesting 2022-23 Schedule Storylines

Josh Cohen
Digital News Manager

Cade vs. Paolo Followed by Paolo vs. Dejounte 

Four of the Magic’s first five games will be on the road, with a trip to Detroit on Oct. 19 being the first stop. The Pistons, just like the Magic, are stocked with promising young talent, including last year’s No. 1 overall draft pick, Cade Cunningham. This will be the first time in NBA history that the two most recent first overall draft selections will square off on opening night. Orlando then travels to Atlanta to play the Hawks – an interesting matchup for a variety of reasons but mostly because it will be the first time Seattle natives Paolo Banchero and Dejounte Murray will play each other since trading barbs on social media after their chippy meeting in a pro-am game in early August. Sandwiched between those two contests and ones at New York and Cleveland will be the Magic’s home opener against Boston on Oct. 22. 

Steve Clifford Makes Return to Orlando as Coach of Hornets

The former Magic coach will step inside Amway Center for the first time since resigning in the summer of 2021 when his Hornets play Orlando on Oct. 28. The 60-year-old Clifford posted a 96-131 regular season record in three seasons in Orlando and guided the Magic to two playoff appearances. Earlier in his NBA coaching career, he worked as an assistant with the Magic under Stan Van Gundy for five seasons, including in 2008-09 when they reached the Finals. Clifford is back at the helm in Charlotte for a second stint. He replaced James Borrego, another former Magic coach. 

Battle of the Top Two 2022 Draft Picks

The first of two meetings between the Magic and Thunder will take place in OKC on Nov. 1. It will be the first time the top two 2022 draft picks, Banchero and Chet Holmgren, will square off as pros. Orlando and OKC did play in Las Vegas at summer league, but Banchero did not play in that contest. They did go head-to-head in the college ranks, however. Duke, behind Banchero’s 21-point, five-rebound performance, defeated Holmgren’s Gonzaga Bulldogs on Nov. 26. It will also be the first time that Holmgren will play against his former high school teammate, Jalen Suggs. The Thunder will visit Orlando on Jan. 4. 

Longest Homestand of Season Begins in Early November Against Defending Champs

Last year, the Magic spent a lot of time on the road early in the season. This year, although they will be out of town much of October, Orlando will play most of its November games in front of their home fans. In fact, from Nov. 3 all the way through Nov. 16, they will be sleeping in their own beds. To start that seven-game stretch, the Magic will host the reigning-champion Warriors, who they’ve beaten four straight times at Amway Center. The Magic’s other opponents during this homestand include Jabari Smith Jr.’s Rockets and Keegan Murray’s Kings. With the Suns, Mavs and T-Wolves also visiting during this time, the Magic will be tested against superstars like Devin Booker, Chris Paul, Luka Doncic, Anthony Edwards, and Karl-Anthony Towns. 

Extended Stays in Indianapolis and Boston

The Magic will play the same opponent in the same city twice in a row five times this season. The first of those mini-series will take place in Indiana, where the Magic and Pacers will clash on Nov. 19 and 21. After hosting Joel Embiid, James Harden, and the Sixers (Nov. 25 and 27) and then Pascal Siakam, Scottie Barnes, and the Raptors (Dec. 9 and 11) in the same manner, the Magic will visit Boston for two consecutive games against Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and the defending Eastern Conference champion Celtics on Dec. 16 and 18. Then, to close out their home portion of the schedule, the Magic will welcome the Cavs to town for a pair of games on April 4 and 6. 

Magic Will Be in Town Around Christmas and New Year’s Day

If you are planning to visit Orlando in late December or early January and want to watch the Magic play live, you are in luck. Aside from an up and back trip to Detroit on Dec. 28, Orlando will have five home games between Dec. 23 and Jan. 5. It will be during this time that LeBron James and Ja Morant will make their one and only regular season trips to Orlando.  

Northern vs. Southern West Coast Trips

It looks like the schedule-makers decided to draw a line somewhere around Las Vegas to determine where the Magic would fly to for each of their two trips out West. The first voyage, which spans from Jan. 7-15, will send the Magic to all the Pacific and Mountain time zone cities north of Vegas, which includes San Francisco, Sacramento, Portland, Salt Lake City and Denver, while the second one from March 14-19 will have the Magic go to San Antonio, Phoenix and Los Angeles, where they will play the Clippers and Lakers on back-to-back days. 

You’ll Have to Wait a While Before You See Magic vs. Heat 

The Magic will have played all 28 other teams at least once by the time they clash with their Sunshine State rivals. Orlando and Miami’s first meeting will be on Jan. 27 in South Florida. They will also play Feb. 11 and March 11 in Central Florida, and then back in South Florida on April 9, which is the final day of the regular season. Interesting about that last game is that it is one of two Magic games currently scheduled to start at 1 p.m. The other will be at Charlotte on Sunday, Feb. 5.

Orlando Magic's Schedule Drop!