Magic Show transition defense, rolling issues vs. Grizzlies

Ahead of the Magic’s 109-97 preseason opener loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, coach Jamahl Mosley made it clear what Orlando focused on during training camp.

Transition defense. Protect the paint. Move the ball while taking care of it.

After allowing 50 points in the paint, 30 quick break points and finishing with 25 turnovers that led to 33 points on Monday, it’s clear more work is needed.

“It was a big challenge for our guys,” Mosley said. “It was an opportunity for them to understand the level of growth and the things that we’re going to have to keep doing to get to where we’re trying to go.”

For most of the game, the Magic looked like a team that had missed two days of training camp due to Hurricane Ian and were still trying to figure each other out.

But Orlando’s struggles with gifts weren’t exclusive to Monday.

The Magic were one of the most turnover-prone teams in the league last season. They often have the right pass in mind but attempt it a second or two too late. Or don’t force the defense to collapse enough on the drives and try to cross the congested lanes.

A handful of Orlando’s gifts are easily correctable: going out of bounds, traveling and offensive fouls.

Other errors – telegraphing passes, forcing passes into tight or closed windows, adjusting to different lineups – will take longer.

Magic, at least, now has a game movie to fall back on.

“A lot of us have to get used to playing with each other,” said Paolo Banchero, who finished with 8 points (2 for 9), 2 rebounds, 2 steals and 4 turnovers in his debut. “I feel like our process was a bit different from most teams with the way we had to deal with training camp and cancellations. The coach told us before the game to deal with the pre-game. season like an extended training camp, to get used to the game and to each other.

The loss was a wake-up call, but the Magic maintained their perspective. It was only the first of five pre-season exhibitions.

Many of the areas in which the Grizzlies, who had the league’s second-best record at 56-26, outplayed Orlando — especially points on turnovers and in the paint — are where they thrived this season. last.

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The Magic’s performance wasn’t that bad either.

They moved the ball well when they weren’t giving it away, finishing with 23 assists on 35 field goals. Their half-court defense was strong. They created open looks beyond the arc (18 for 54 of 3) but they didn’t do enough (33.3%), also a struggle for last year’s team.

“These are great learning opportunities for each of these young men and our staff to be able to teach the things we will need to continue to grow,” Mosley said. “When and where we pass, transition defense, how we come back. [This] is going to be a great teaching tape for us.

Watching the game movie will be imperative to understand how to eliminate these errors. But what the magic struggled with is clear.

“You can never learn anything from movies,” said Cole Anthony, who led Orlando with 17 points (6-for-10, 4-8-3) and 5 rebounds. “I don’t even have to watch the movie to tell you that we have to reduce turnover. We had 25 for 33 points for them. We’ve cut that in half and are looking at a different ball game.

“It’s early. There will be a lot of mistakes, but I think we can get that stuff out of the way as soon as possible, so by the time the regular season rolls around, we’ll do something, move in the right direction and let’s win a few games.

This article first appeared on Email Khobi Prize to or follow him on Twitter at @khobi_price.

Brian L. Hartfield