Quick take: Spurs (12-3) vs. Magic (5-8)
November 19, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Orlando Magic shooting guard J.J. Redick (7) dribbles down the court in the first half against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE
The Spurs will win if: The Spurs score at least 95 points. Orlando’s offense doesn’t fare well in any offensive category, meaning their defense is largely responsible for their victories.
The Spurs will lose if: Orlando’s defense eliminates the 3-pointer. A big part of the reason why the Magic are allowing an adjusted 102.8 points per 100 possessions, ninth in the league, is because Orlando defends the 3-pointer exceptionally well, allowing a league low 30.7 percent. Coupled with their tendency to cede a high volume of mid-range attempts, 21.5 per game according to Hoopdata, and a low foul rate, Orlando has created a defense that doesn’t make mistakes and raises the opposition’s margin for error. Nary an opportunistic defense, Jacque Vaughn’s unit has been above-average despite being unsuccessful at creating turnovers.
X-Factor: To compensate for the departure of Dwight Howard, the Magic have placed the ball in J.J. Redick’s hands more often this season. His usage rate, an estimate of the possessions he uses while on the floor, has climbed to a career high level. Similarly, with more time spent handling the ball, Reddick is averaging a career-high 5.8 assists per 36 minutes, up from 3.3 last season. While he hasn’t made 3-pointers at his career rate (36.5 percent), Redick has improved his volume and efficiency from 16-23 feet, a positive sign for someone that can’t merely stand on the perimeter anymore.