The Orlando Magic are hoping the return of their beginning huge man will result in higher defensive performances.
Wendell Carter Jr. was again within the lineup Saturday vs. the Miami Heat after lacking the earlier three video games — losses to the Portland Trail Blazers, Milwaukee Bucks and Utah Jazz — due to hip ache.
“He does so many little things,” coach Jamahl Mosley stated pregame. “Like his means to when to roll and the place to roll in pick-and-rolls. It’s why he and Franz [Wagner] have such a fantastic connection within the pick-and-roll.
“Defensively, that early talk, that early help with the guards; helping them navigate through screens and being in the right position if something breaks down — those are the things that you don’t really pick up on because he’s covering it so fast.”
The Magic’s defensive effectivity tanked with out Carter within the earlier three video games.
They recorded a mixed defensive score (factors allowed per 100 possessions) of 125.8 within the aforementioned losses. Orlando had a defensive score of 119.6 or worse in every of these video games — equal to the San Antonio Spurs’ league-worst protection.
“I think we’re 11th at preventing shots at the rim,” Mosley stated. “He does a great job of communicating early. That’s what we’ve continued to talk to our guys about: it’s the early help, it’s the early communication that stops teams from wanting to get there more than anything.”
Carter provides worth offensively, too, even with issues that don’t seem within the field rating.
“Screening is the big thing,” Wagner stated of what Carter does offensively which will go unnoticed. “Getting guys open and creating the advantage for us that way. Offensive rebounds, creating extra shots for us. Wendell’s just a smart player [who’s] easy to play off of and easy to plug in.”
Heat guard Kyle Lowry was again within the Heat’s lineup after lacking the earlier 15 video games due to left knee soreness.
Miami was taking part in on the second night time of a back-to-back after beating the Cleveland Cavaliers at Miami-Dade Arena Friday.
“That veteran leadership and toughness,” Mosley stated of what Lowry, a 17-year veteran and six-time All-Star, brings to the Heat. “Obviously, defensively he crawls into the ball. His ability to make big-time plays and big-time shots.”
Saturday closed out a four-game homestand, with the Magic kicking off a four-game western journey Tuesday in San Antonio.
This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Khobi Price at [email protected] or comply with him on Twitter at @khobi_price.