Orlando Magic vs. Sacramento Kings: Game Preview

by Dan Savage

Date: Sunday, August 2, 2020

Time: 6 p.m. ET

Location: HP FIELD HOUSE, Orlando, FL

TV: FOX Sports Florida

Mobile: FOX Sports GO

Radio: 96.9 FM the Game / 98.1 SALSA Y MAS

ORLANDO -- The Orlando Magic will look to continue their torrid offensive pace when they tip off their second seeding contest on Sunday against the Sacramento Kings.

If you thought Orlando’s offense would take some time to kick into high gear, you thought wrong. Instead, the Magic picked up right where they left off and put together some of their most offensively impressive stretches of the regular season in an opening seeding game victory over the Nets on Friday.

Orlando was shooting a scorching 60.9 percent from the floor heading into halftime of that matchup, its best shooting mark in a first half this season. The Magic continued their phenomenal point production in the third quarter when they scored 41, tied for the most points this season in a third period. They finished the game with 128 points and improved to 13-0 this season when reaching the 120-point mark.

“We made shots,” said Evan Fournier, who went 10-for-15 from the floor on his way to a team-high 24 points. “When you find the open guy and he’s able to knock it down, it changes everything.”

Over the last 13 regular season games, the Magic sit atop the NBA in points per game, scoring an average of 121.3 per contest. That’s over a full point more than the second-place team during that time frame, the Houston Rockets, who come in at 120.1. They also have the league’s highest offensive rating at 118.6 and rank second in field goal percentage, 48.9 percent, and assists per game, 29.2, during that stretch.

“We’ve played at another level (during that period),” Magic Head Coach Steve Clifford said. “We’ve played with more pace, we’ve had better screening, we’ve been more inside-out, the ball has hit the paint more and I think that’s been a big part of the shot making, because our shot making numbers have gone way up in that time.”

Also on the rise is Orlando’s seeding in the Eastern Conference. By notching their third win over Brooklyn (30-35) this season, the Magic (31-35) jumped the Nets for the seventh spot in the East.

They’ll face another team eager to improve its playoff positioning as Sacramento (28-37) remains one game out of ninth place in the West, a spot that under these circumstances holds value, because that conference will likely require a play-in tournament for the final postseason slot.

In and Out: The Magic emerged from their game with the Nets without any new injuries. Wes Iwundu has cleared the NBA’s concussion protocol and Clifford said he’s making progress. Orlando’s head coach will meet with High Performance Director David Tenney on Saturday night to discuss the workload and minute restrictions for players like Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac, who scored 16 points in 16 minutes of action against Brooklyn.

Rivals Report: The Kings possess one of the league’s most offensively explosive backcourts. That was evident in Sacramento’s seeding opener against San Antonio as De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic combined for 63 of the team’s 120 points.

Fox erupted for a career-high 39 of them, surpassing his previous record of 34 points in a game.

“That’s why we talk about De’Aaron the way that we do,” Kings coach Luke Walton said via the Sacramento Bee's Jason Anderson. “We put a lot on him, but he’s shown in games like (that) what’s capable of. … De’Aaron had a pretty special game and we’re going to need it from him again.”

Fox puts immense pressure on opposing defenses in transition with his speed. Sacramento excels in the fastbreak and ranks Top 10 in the NBA in points off of turnovers.

“We’re going to have to be aggressive with him in some of the coverages and then, the pick-and-roll part, then the other part, the transition part is he’s like a John Wall,” Clifford said. “Everybody has to be back, you’re going to have to build a wall and you can’t let him get to a basket.”

Quote to Note: “(Jonathan Isaac) is one of the most talented players in the league, one of the best two-way players in the NBA, in my opinion. So, he helps me out a lot. Obviously, I’m not the tallest guy out there, I’m not the longest, but having J.I. out there being tall and long and also having that quickness helps me because he cleans up a lot of mess on the defensive end.” – Khem Birch, who notched 12 points, five assists, four rebounds, two blocks and one steal in the Magic's seeding opener.

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