TV: Bally Sports Oklahoma | Radio: WWLS 98.1 FM OKC
By Paris Lawson | Broadcast and Digital Journalist | okcthunder.com
The Thunder’s three-game road trip ends in Orlando to face the Magic for the first time this season. The game marks the first night of a back-to-back homecoming for OKC who will look to return to the Paycom Center on a high note after dropping their first two games of the road trip.
- Youth on display – OKC has the youngest roster of any team in the league, but the Magic also uses its fair share of young talent with the third-youngest roster. In fact, the Thunder and Magic rank first and second in the league in points per game by players 22 and under.
- Extended Opportunity – The Thunder have addressed injuries throughout their roster as an opportunity for young players to see long minutes on the court. One player who has flourished through these opportunities is second-year striker Aleksej Pokuševski. The 7-footer recorded 10 points and a career-high 15 rebounds against Miami on Friday. The effort marked his third double-double of the season and eighth straight game with 10 or more points.
- Balanced Attack – Keep an eye on how the Thunder are working to limit Orlando’s balanced offense. Although the Magic receive the most points per game from Cole Anthony who contributes 17 points per game, he is only one of seven Orlando players to average 10 or more points, which is tied for most of all teams in the league.
Thunder rookie Tre Mann had 25 points against Miami on Friday, but recorded 20 of those points in the second frame alone. The former Gator recorded a new high by a rookie in a single quarterback in OKC history and also the most by a rookie in a quarterback this season.
“It challenges you and kind of gives you perspective to see where you are at. Obviously, the first two are a very good team. And we want to be at the top of the conference one day so we can see exactly where we are, what we need to work on and what we need to improve on.
—Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on the example of Miami and where they are as a team
Orlando (18-53) faces the Thunder amid a three-game losing streak. The group is led by Cole Anthony who is averaging 17 points, 5.6 rebounds, 5.7 assists throughout the season. However, seven players averaged in double figures for the Magic each night and against in its last game against the Pistons, of the six players to score in double figures, three of them recorded 16 or more. Franz Wagner led the way with 26.