Rockets News

3 questions heading into Rockets vs. Magic duel

James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets drives to the basket while defended by Nikola Vucevic #9 of the Orlando Magic (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets drives to the basket while defended by Nikola Vucevic #9 of the Orlando Magic (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
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Houston Rockets
ATLANTA, GEORGIA – DECEMBER 13: Gary Clark #12 of the Orlando Magic blocks a shot by Clint Capela #15 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

2. Will Orlando’s defensive dominance continue?

The Magic have gotten off to a surprising 6-2 start, and currently sit atop the Southeast division, which isn’t something that many would have expected. Orlando’s defense has been a large reason for their success, as they have simply been suffocating on that end of the floor.

To that point, the Magic currently hold the following statistical defensive rankings as a unit:

  • 3rd-best 3-point percentage allowed
  • 4th-best defensive rating
  • 6th-fewest free throws allowed per game
  • 7th-fewest points allowed
  • 9th-most deflections

Although eight games is a small sample size, it’s fair to say that the Magic present a tough test for a Rockets team that’s struggled of sorts on the offensive end. The Magic are holding opposing teams to just 32.3 percent from long-range, which is roughly what the Rockets are averaging on the year (32.6 percent to be exact).

The Rockets have been accustomed to getting to the free throw line, as they’ve been averaging 27.5 free throws per game (3rd-most in the league) and the Magic are only allowing 19.1 trips to the line per contest, which figures to be a good matchup featuring two of the best teams in their respective categories.

The Rockets have been bailed out by their ability to draw fouls, and the Magic commit just 18.4 fouls per game, which is the sixth-fewest in the league. The Magic currently have three players that rank inside of the top-20 in individual defensive rating, and will look to continue their defensive superiority on Friday night.

Next: No. 1

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