Bricktown Beat

Thunder vs. Magic Game Preview: What to Expect in Tonight’s Rematch

Oklahoma City Thunder (1-3) vs. Orlando Magic (4-1)

Tip Off: 6pm CST

How To Watch: FSOK

Overview:

These two familiar faces will clash once again on Saturday after there first match-up on Saturday went in favor of the Magic 118-107. The Thunder, since this game, went on to lose 80-113 vs, the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday. The Magic also lost their last game Thursday night, falling to 76ers 92-116. For the Magic, this was their first taste of losing this season, as they went a perfect 4-0 before facing the 76ers.

Game Notes:

The Thunder have two players listed as out for tonight:

Ty Jerome (Left Ankle Sprain)

Trevor Ariza (Personal)

For the Magic, they will have five players out for tonight’s matchup:

Jonathon Isaac (ACL)

Al-Farouq Aminu (Knee)

James Ennis (Hamstring)

Chuma Okeke (Knee)

Evan Fournier (Back)

Starting Lineups:

OKC———————————–ORL

PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander———-Markelle Fultz

SG George Hill————————-Michael Carter-Williams

SF Lu Dort—————————–Dwayne Bacon

PF Darius Bazley———————-Aaron Gordon

C Al Horford————————-Nikola Vucevic

Key Matchups:

Al Horford vs. Nikola Vucevic

Nikola Vucevic scored 28 points in the Magic’s first contest vs. the Thunder. The Magic scored a whopping 72 points in the paint in that first game, one major reason for this may have been the lack of presence from Thunder center Al Horford, who did not play the load manage.

Horford will be in full-form in Saturday’s game and stopping Vucevic inside will be crucial. We have also seen Horford expand his range to the three point line in multiple games this year, and if he is able to get things going early the Thunder will be in good shape.

George Hill vs. Michael Carter-Williams

Hill was absent in the first OKC-ORL game, he may end up being one the Thunder’s key scorers in tonight’s game. Hill has averaged double-digits in scoring through his first three games, and with Michael Carter-Williams having to step up for the injured Evan Fournier, he may be exploited. Carter-Williams shot just 2-6 in the first duel between the two teams, and tacked on 5 fouls in just 24 minutes of play. Getting him into trouble early by giving the ball to Hill may give the Thunder the push they need.

Keys to The Game:

Limit the Points in The Paint

With the Thunder having given up 72 points in the paint in the first game, adjustments will need to be made to stop the Magic from having more success inside. Expect major runs from Al Horford, Isaiah Roby, and Darius Bazley to stop shots in the basket.

Limit the Turnovers

The Thunder had 19 turnovers in their last game vs. the Pelicans, and currently rank 26th in the league on turnovers, averaging 16.8 a game. Keeping the ball under control will be necessary to keep the Thunder in this game an reckless play will give the Magic easy buckets on the other end.

Bring Home the Bacon

The Thunder let Magic forward Dwayne Bacon drop 18 points on 9-10 shooting in the first game. Thunder players will need to keep Bacon out on the perimeter so he can not get comfortable inside.

Pun aside, the Thunder just need to simply- win this game.

Wear Out the Magic

With the Magic being undermanned, playing physical inside and forcing the Magic to exert their energy early will pay major dividends by the end of the game. Setting fatigue in on their 10-man rotation will force bench players to play big time minutes in this game. Taking advantage of this discrepancy should leave the Thunder closer’s with a full tank of gas closing out this game, while the Magic starters will be gasping for air.

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