Oklahoma City Thunder

OKC Thunder | Game #3 Preview: Magic

Zachary Low

zacharylow88

Tip-Off: 7 PM CT

Location: Chesapeake Energy Arena (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)

Television: Fox Sports Oklahoma

Radio: WWLS 98.1FM OKC The Sports Animal

Twitter: Follow @ZacharyLowNBA for live-tweets and discussion during the game

The Oklahoma City Thunder had yet another dramatic finish last night in their home opener, but unfortunately, they were unable to defeat the Utah Jazz, falling 110-109. Still, this team has already shown a lot of fight, and I think it goes to show that, despite clearly being in the midst of a rebuild, the Thunder is not going to go the traditional tanking route.

Tonight, the Thunder hosts the Magic, who are one of the league’s few remaining undefeated teams at 3-0. The Magic have been a bit of a surprise so far, mostly because they do not have a true superstar. Nikola Vučević was an All-Star in 2019, but aside from that, they’re just a really solid team.

Through the 3 wins, Orlando boasts 5 players averaging at least 13.0 points per game, and rookie Cole Anthony is almost averaging double digit with 9.0 points per game. Because they are not very top-heavy, the Magic play deep into their lineup. 10 guys have appeared in all 3 games and are averaging at least 18.8 minutes per game, with no player averaging more than 30.9 minutes per game.

Tonight’s matchup will be another good opportunity for the Thunder to compete in and even have a chance to win. Luguentz Dort is coming off a career-high 26 points, so look for him to follow it up with another solid performance. Meanwhile, it would be nice to see the bench step up and improve their play, as they have not been great so far outside of Mike Muscala and Hamidou Diallo.

Projected Starters

Thunder

  • PG: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
  • SG: Luguentz Dort
  • SF: Hamidou Diallo
  • PF: Darius Bazley
  • C: Mike Muscala

Magic

  • PG: Markelle Fultz
  • SG: Dwayne Bacon
  • SF: Evan Fournier
  • PF: Eric Gordon
  • C: Nikola Vučević

Injuries

Thunder

  • Trevor Ariza is OUT (not with team).
  • George Hill is OUT (neck spasms).
  • Al Horford is OUT (rest).
  • Ty Jerome is OUT (sprained left ankle).

Magic

  • Al-Farouq Aminu is OUT (right knee injury recovery).
  • James Ennis III is OUT (right calf/hamstring strain).
  • Jonathan Isaac is OUT (left knee injury recovery).

Head-to-Head

  • Since arriving in Oklahoma City in 2008, the Thunder is 17-7 against the Magic in the regular season (11-1 at home, 6-6 on the road).
  • In 12 seasons, the Thunder has won the season series with the Magic 6 times, lost it once, and tied it 5 times.
  • The Thunder went 2-0 against the Magic last season (1-0 at home, 1-0 on the road).
  • The Thunder has won 5 games in a row against the Magic, including 3 consecutive wins at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Game Notes

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