Houston Rockets vs Orlando Magic game preview - December 21

N.B. Lindberg
Houston Rockets v Orlando Magic
Houston Rockets v Orlando Magic / Douglas P. DeFelice/GettyImages
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Houston Rockets vs Orlando Magic: Stats to know

The Orlando Magic’s offense features plenty of player movement (they run the eighth most miles on offense per game) but is light on ball movement (they attempt the 27th most passes per game and have the third-longest average time per touch). Usually, offenses that are light on passing are light on movement, but the Magic buck that trend. 

The Magic are surprisingly efficient in pick-and-roll ball-handler possessions. They run the seventh-highest frequency (19.5%) of the playtype and produce the tenth-best points per possession (0.91). For a young team, generating that level of efficiency at that volume is impressive. 

For the most part, the Magic don’t stand out in terms of frequency or efficiency in most playtypes. They’re average to below average in frequency and efficiency in isolations, transition, pick-and-roll roll-man, post ups, and spot up possessions. The notable exceptions are handoffs, cuts, and off screen actions. 

The Magic attempt the fifth-highest frequency of handoffs (6.6%) but produce a dismal 0.80 points per possession (27th). For cuts and off screen possessions, the inverse is true. The Magic cut at the 20th highest frequency (6.2%) but score at the second-best efficiency, producing 1.43 points per possession. Their off screen possessions account for 2.4% of their offense (27th) but lead to 1.02 points per possession (4th). 

Defensively, the Magic have ridden fortunate 3-point shooting variance about as far as it can take them. They give up the sixth-highest percentage of 3-pointers per game but have allowed the second-lowest field goal percentage on the shots. For a team with the 24th-ranked defense, that’s not good news. 

Their shot chart sees them give up an above-average percentage of shots at the rim, the third-highest rate of dunks, but the 27th-highest rate of layups. They also do not force many mid-range jumpers, the golden shot of defensive efficiency. All told, the Magic’s defense is flawed and likely on par with the Rockets in the tier of teams ahead of the Pistons and Spurs, who are pushing the boundaries of defensive ineptitude. 

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