Season opener: Orlando Magic defeats Houston Rockets

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The Houston Rockets will travel to play the Orlando Magic to begin their 2023–2024 season. The game will tip off at Amway Centre on October 25 at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Last year, both of these clubs had trouble scoring. With a lacklustre 111.4 points per game on average, the Magic were placed 26th overall. With 110.7 points per game, the Rockets were placed 28th.

The Magic ended 34–48, just shy of.500, in the previous season; this year, they will be looking to improve. In a similar vein, the Rockets' final record was a miserable 22-60.

The experts predict that the Magic will win by a margin of four points in their game on Wednesday, making them the favourite. They had a 45-34 record against the spread at the end of the previous campaign.

It made perfect sense for the Orlando Magic and Houston Rockets to play on opening night. Both clubs have been rebuilding for the past few years in an effort to advance one or more steps in their individual development. 

Obviously, no matter when the game is played or where it is held, one game cannot be used to draw any conclusions, but seeing these two teams face one another looked like a solid way to gauge both of them.


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If that is true, the Magic have a lot to be happy about after winning 116-86 on Wednesday. They played with the ideal level of effort and looked great on defence. The 30-point victory represents the biggest winning margin in a team's history for an opening-night contest. 

Regarding his team's effort, forward Jonathan Isaac stated, "I would say extremely (proud)." "The only thing on our minds is how are we going forward? Can we maintain that level of focus and intensity for the full 48 minutes?" 

Orlando limited Houston, which was eliminated in the summer and signed a number of free agents, including as Dillon Brooks and Fred VanVleet, to just 32 points in the paint. The Rockets were outrebounded 56–31 as well. Considering that Houston finished fifth in points in the paint and fourth in rebounds the previous season, both statistics are noteworthy. 

The Magic's bench was even better, outscoring the Rockets' backups 59-27. As Isaac scored 11 points in his first regular season game since last February, he was stifling defensively. With his game-high 20 points, Cole Anthony, who signed a contract extension on Tuesday, excelled. 

With the exception of the first few minutes of the third quarter, when Houston closed the gap after trailing by 17 points in the first half, Orlando maintained momentum for the most of the game. But the Magic would quickly take the lead again, defeating the Rockets 24-7 to end the half. 

How the Magic could be a top 10 defensive team this season was a topic of much discussion during the summer and even more so during training camp. Even if it's only one game, if Wednesday's performance in front of an electrifying sold-out crowd was any indication of what's to come, then it is definitely doable. 

Now, the question is whether all of this effort and vigour will translate. Starting in Portland on Friday, the Magic will embark on a four-game road trip along the West Coast

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