The Orlando Magic’s loss to the Houston Rockets final Monday may properly have been a turning level for a younger workforce.
The Orlando Magic, excessive to open their seven-game dwelling streak after beating the Golden State Warriors and annoyed however heartened after a loss to the Sacramento Kings, failed to come back up towards the struggling Houston Rockets proper into play perspective and focus.
Sure, the Magic scored so much, however they obtained the Rockets feeling assured from three and located themselves in a monitor assembly. It was a low level for a workforce making an attempt to construct their defensive identification.
However, the workforce didn’t wallow in it. The workforce delivered two of their finest defensive performances of the season (together with the win over the Charlotte Hornets earlier within the season, they’re within the high 3) with two troublesome defensive runs in Luka Doncic and Devin Booker.
The particulars that appeared lacking in earlier video games have all of the sudden come collectively. All of that is an encouraging signal.
The Orlando Magic defense is beginning to come along with sturdy back-to-back performances. The workforce can thank his sturdy rebound to strengthen the workforce.
What particulars does the Magic convey down?
It’s not simply the sport plan and the way the magic imprisoned these two star gamers they confronted. Orlando is more and more proving to be a powerful rebound workforce, though that too is an space the place the workforce can proceed to work and enhance.
This season, the Magic are seventh within the league by way of defensive rebound charge, grabbing 73.7 % of accessible defensive rebounds. Orlando has an enormous lineup with Bol Bol, Franz Wagner, Paolo Banchero and Wendell Carter all sharing the ground, it could make sense for the workforce to be strong on the glass.
But it is nonetheless spectacular as a result of the workforce adjustments a lot. Orlando’s high rebounder — Carter, who has 9.5 rebounds per sport — is usually pulled off-color to defend on the rim.
Overall, rebounding needed to be a workforce effort.
“The level of focus, making sure we score guys and making sure we unpack,” coach Jamahl Mosley mentioned after Saturday’s observe session. “Obviously, in this first quarter, [the Phoenix Suns] got a lot of offensive rebounds. But our ability to focus and focus on ending possession.”
Orlando began Friday’s sport and gave up 5 offensive rebounds within the first quarter. However, the workforce gave up solely two second-chance factors. The Suns completed the sport with 11 complete offensive rebounds — and simply six factors complete for second probabilities.
Offensive rebounds have typically been up throughout the league — a byproduct of change and groups in search of hidden factors whereas that pendulum is beginning to swing again the opposite means. But the Magic have been significantly good at recovering once they hand over offensive rebounds, game-changing as they are often in the meanwhile.
The workforce’s reliance on substitutions has led to some weak spot on the glass this 12 months. Orlando had lengthy stretches the place the workforce gave up offensive rebounds. But this drawback has diminished because the season progressed.
Orlando is gifting away simply 12.3 second-chance factors per sport, fourth within the league. This might be a testomony to the workforce’s dimension, making it troublesome to choose up once more even when the workforce provides up offensive rebounds.
Still, rebounding will proceed to be a magnet for this workforce.
The Orlando Magic’s worst rebound video games have been their three worst losses — the blowout loss to the New York Knicks, the irritating dwelling loss to the Houston Rockets, and the uneven sport in Cleveland to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Losing to the Knicks and Cavaliers additionally resulted within the Magic giving up probably the most second likelihood factors of the season (27 to the Knicks and 19 to the Cavaliers). The opening loss to the Detroit Pistons was additionally notable for the second likelihood factors the workforce gave up.
Sometimes it feels prefer it’s not the uncooked variety of factors that the workforce is giving up, however when these offensive rebounds come — Jalen Duren has been significantly lively on the glass to maintain the magic at bay in that opening sport.
Also of notice is that Magic’s two video games with the bottom second likelihood factors have been this week’s wins over the Mavericks and Suns.
The Magic did a greater job of trapping and attacking the glass, limiting early season fight. And that can proceed to be a magnet for the workforce. Nothing appears to be everlasting with this workforce as they’re nonetheless working to ascertain their identification.
The Magic are nonetheless studying to play higher defenses. But issues are beginning to come collectively. Her strong rebounds and even her defense from offensive rebounds give hope that issues are beginning to come collectively.
After that loss to Houston, Orlando is enjoying so much higher.
“I have the feeling that we’ve gotten better defensively as a team,” mentioned Bol Bol after coaching on Saturday. “I feel like we trust each other more on the help side and we’re going into help and low man and all that. I feel like we trust each other more and that has helped us get better on defense.”
The Magic are nonetheless an imperfect workforce. No one ought to mistake this workforce for a juggernaut simply but – the workforce nonetheless sits twenty first within the defensive standings. And the workforce nonetheless has so much standing in its personal means — turnovers, particularly the place Magic sits at twenty ninth within the league in turnover charge.
The turnovers will be the greatest impediment to Magic’s defensive success — groups are 20.2 factors fewer in turnovers per sport towards them.
Orlando should proceed to be a powerful rebound workforce. And if the workforce makes errors, the workforce should restrict these errors as earlier than.