As the Orlando Magic go into their last preseason match at Amway Center versus the Miami Heat Thursday night, head coach Steve Clifford has few hopes.
The team began really well, more so in the first game of the preseason during which they literally thrashed San Antonio on the road, but since then the squad has been hit with a loss of form. Clifford was frank about his expectations to be looking at some progress against the rival Heat.
“I just informed the guys, ‘I want us to appear more like the Magic,’ ” Clifford said Thursday morning after the team’s shoot-around at Amway.
“I want us to be seen pike, you know … spirit, with a sense of purpose, energetic lads, which we haven’t here for the last few games and a lot of the game in Atlanta.”
The Magic began the preseason emerging victorious in their first three games, but have after being on the losing side of a pair of lopsided games to Boston and Philadelphia.
Some of the team’s major drawbacks during the last stretch of preseason matches have been injuries and Orlando is still has a few players suffering from niggles.
Earlier, Magic swingman Evan Fournier revealed he is keen to work on his back issues.
Clifford claimed leading scorer and rebounder Nikola Vucevic (ankle) should be having considerable minutes under their belt tonight, and even shooting guard Terrence Ross (ankle).
The Magic offense averages merely just 41.7 percent shots in the preseason, which is fifth-lowest in the league and has an offensive score of 97.5, third least in the league.
Again, it’s not so much the preseason figures are a matter of worry but the actual displays should be more than a bit of a concern.
The Magic offense, which has been struggling without a few key components due to injuries as mentioned above, were largely static when playing without proper ball movement. Orlando takes on a Heat defense that in three games has managed to restrict an opponent to less than 100 points.