The Orlando Magic lost their second game in back-to-back nights on Saturday, losing to the Atlanta Hawks 104 – 94. Here are are the three biggest takeaways from Saturday’s game.
Within the half-court offense, Orlando’s pick-and-roll is primarily depndant of Nik Vučević hitting jump shots. When he’s off his game like he was tonight, opposing big men start to help under the screen and the Magic’s PnR becomes ineffective.
Jammer Nelson hasn’t been shooting well enough to pull up around the screen, and he’s too short to consistently attack the basket. Victor Oladipo has the athletic ability to take on the big man sagging off, however, he still needs to become a better finisher in traffic and he’ll often get caught in the air while looking to pass out to the perimeter.
Lack of aggression
During the four game home stand in which they went 3 – 1, the Magic averaged 24 free throws a game. Tonight, the Magic only attempted 18. That’s not enough for a below average jump shooting team. The Magic have to be more aggressive and it has to come earlier in the game.
The perimeter defense is a mess right now. A lot of miscommunication in transition of who is guarding who. Too many easy buckets early in the shot clock for the Hawks tonight. Even the defensive-minded Moe Harkless appears to be struggling defensively at the moment.
Vučević not only shot terribly (3-10) but he was also a non-factor on the boards (6 rebounds).
The Magic had four fast break points. Very, very bad. This is a team that NEEDS fast break points and free throws.
Arron Afflalo had another nice night (21 pts, 7 ast). The problem with Afflalo’s offense is that it’s mostly predicated on post-up isolations which doesn’t do much to help his teammates get open looks.
Victor Oladipo struggled (5 pts on 2-8 shooting) for the second straight night. He’s going to have his highs and lows this year. He’s having difficulty in the half-court offense.
Next game: Monday, November 11 @ Boston Celtics 7:30pm