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Game Preview: Phoenix Suns continue east coast swing against the Orlando Magic

They are looking to push their road trip record to 2-1.

Phoenix Suns v Orlando Magic Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

What: Phoenix Suns (8-3) @ Orlando Magic (3-9)

When: 5:00 p.m. AZ Time

Where: Amway Arena, Orlando, Florida

Watch: Bally Sports AZ

Listen: 98.7 FM

DraftKings Betting Lines: Suns -7.5, O/U 216, Suns Moneyline -305

The Suns return to the city in which, no pun intended, the magic happened. Just over two years ago, while playing in the 2020 Orlando Bubble, the Suns strung together eight consecutive wins, running their slate of games, despite being a team that many thought shouldn’t be there. Since that time they’ve acquired Chris Paul, made an NBA Finals appearance, and set a franchise record with a 64-win season. And it all began in Orlando.

They arrive amidst a hurricane, and not metaphorically. Hurricane Nicole, a category one storm, made its way across the state of Florida this week.

Navigating the hurricane was one thing. Navigating the Magic will be another.

The Magic are a spunky 3-9 team led in scoring by their number one overall pick from the University of Duke Paulo Banchero. We will see if he actually plays – he is currently day today with a left ankle sprain and has their last games – but I will tell you this, the kid is exciting. His size and fluidity have translated well to the NBA and early on he appears to be a shoo-in for Rookie of the Year.

Orlando enters 22nd in both offensive rating (109.6) and defensive rating (113.2). They are middle-of-the pack at 99.6 possessions-per-48 minutes (a.k.a. Pace of play) at 16th.

The Suns at 8-3 looked fantastic in their game against the Timberwolves, despite being without the services of Chris Paul. They find themselves in third in the Western conference, trailing the surprising 10-3 Utah Jazz and the 9-3 Portland Trail Blazers.

Starting Lineups


For the Suns, the only new entry is Landry Shamet (concussion) who rivals Cam Johnson in the frequency of times he follows up a good game with an injury...


  • Landry Shamet (concussion-like symptoms) is OUT
  • Chris Paul (right heel soreness) is QUESTIONABLE
  • Cameron Johnson (knee) is OUT
  • Ish Wainright (personal) is OUT
  • Jae Crowder (typing in CAPS somewhere) is NOT WITH TEAM


  • Paolo Banchero (left ankle sprain) is QUESTIONABLE
  • Cole Anthony (oblique) is OUT
  • Markelle Fultz (toe) is OUT
  • Gary Harris (knee) is OUT
  • Jonathan Issac (knee) is OUT
  • Mortiz Wagner (ankle) is OUT
  • Kevon Harris (rib) is DAY TO DAY

Uniform Matchup

Statement Edition versus Association Edition in this one.

What to Watch For

The first question is whether or not Chris Paul will be playing tonight. He suffered an injury against the Philadelphia 76ers and watched the game against the Wolves from the sidelines. Cameron Payne did more than enough to fill his shoes, scoring 23 points, dishing out 8 assists, and racking up a grand total of zero turnovers. Our hope is that the Suns hold Paul out for another game, give him some rest, and allow us to see whether or not Cameron Payne can continue this beautiful run of basketball he’s been on.

Paolo Banchero is the other. And I would love to see him play. We don’t get to see the teams in the east very often, playing them only twice a year. Paolo is one of those special players that you just want to watch. He’s what makes the sport fun.

When you look at the way that the Magic play, knowing that they just came off of the game in which they beat the Dallas Mavericks, holding them to only 87 points, this is a team that has a bright future ahead of it. The Jalen Suggs/Franz Wagner backcourt can be potent, and if they get better at defending, this could be a destination for winning in the future.

What will hurt the Magic in this game is their depth. They have numerous players who will be in street clothes.

Fun Fact

Keys to a Suns Win

For me, it always comes down to Deandre Ayton.

We didn’t see much from him in the game against the Timberwolves, scoring only 9 points and grabbing only 6 rebounds. That being said he was going against Rudy Gobert. We’ll let that one slide considering it was a 12-point win.

In this matchup, he gets Wendell Carter, Jr., a fellow member of the 2018 NBA Draft class. The former Chicago Bull, who came over in the Nikolas Vucevic trade, can be a handful. He’s active around the rim and hustles his ass off.

Side-by-side statistics for the two centers:

  • Wendall Carter, Jr.: 15.7 points on 50.8% shooting, 9.4 rebounds, 3.6 personal fouls
  • Deandre Ayton: 14.6 points on 55.3% shooting, 7.6 rebounds, 3.6 personal fouls

Don’t show that comparison on Suns Twitter. The Ayton Stans will tell you that you have an agenda. Oh hell, I’ll do it anyway. Let’s see what that comment section looks like.


East Coast games are weird, are they? 5:00pm starts on a Friday are something we’re just not used to. But we’ll take it!

The Suns experience will trump the youthful exuberance of the Magic, as will the depth. This game may be pesky, and Orlando will put some runs on the Suns. But the stabilizing force that is Devin Booker will ultimately win out.

You can put it on the board, we will get a 40 point game from Devin Booker tonight with 7 assists.

Suns 119, Magic 110

When the game is over, join the Suns JAM Session Podcast as we discuss the game live on YouTube:

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