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Steve Clifford says Magic ‘have to be able to score the ball better’

Steve Clifford, Magic

Head coach Steve Clifford says the Orlando Magic “have to be able to score the ball better” moving forward if they want to be an elite team in the NBA.

Orlando averaged 107.3 points per game last season, which was just 24th in the NBA.

The Magic were a good defensive unit in 2018-19, though, giving up only 106.6 points per night. Clifford believes if Orlando can get out in transition more after getting stops, they can be a juggernaut on offense.

“As good as our defense was late in the year, we have to be able to score the ball better,” Clifford told John Denton of Magic.com. “We have to do similar things in terms of protecting the rim, not fouling unnecessarily, not giving up fastbreak points and being a good defensive rebounding team. By the numbers, we forced teams to take the shots that we wanted them to take last season, but we didn’t create much offense with our defense.

“We talked about this a lot last season, but when we were good offensively, the ball hit the paint. And when we weren’t (good offensively) – like in the playoffs – it didn’t. So, we need to improve our pace offensively because we were better when we played quicker and the ball has to get going toward the basket more consistently.”

The Magic will go as far as All-Star big man Nikola Vucevic can lead them. Last season for Orlando, Vucevic averaged 20.8 points, 12.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists while shooting 51.8 percent from the field.

Orlando re-signed Vucevic to a four-year, $100 million contract this summer.