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The Magic Are Back Home In Orlando

  • The Magic are back home in Orlando for the visit of Atlanta and we owe the Hawks this one after the “home” loss in Mexico earlier in the schedule.

Regular Season Game 36 – Atlanta Hawks vs Orlando Magic

  • Venue – Kia Center, Orlando, Florida 
  • U.K. tip time is 11pm, which is 6pm in in Orlando.
  • To watch here in the U.K. you will again need an active NBA League Pass subscription.

Orlando Magic 

  • Regular Season Record: 20-15
  • Run: won 1, holding a 4-6 record n the last 10 played.
  • Home Record 12-4 (12-3 in the Kia Center; the Atlanta “home court” loss was in Mexico City)
  • Road Record 8-11
  • Standing: 6th in the East (tied 5th through 8th with Miami, Indiana and Cleveland)
  • Points Per GameFor 113.8 (19th) Against 112 (11th)
  • RatingOffensive 22nd Defensive 4th
  • Following recent results Orlando are again part of the group battling for an automatic playoff berth. Seedings 4-through-8 are separated by a single win. All are desperately trying to pull clear of the play-in positions.
  • Unfortunately for Orlando the injury crisis the team have been going through has come at one of the most difficult moments in the schedule.
  • That being said the Magic are still trying to play a physical and defence first brand of basketball. The losses have not been met with excuses, simply an attitude of needing to do better.
  • As the Magic are back home in Orlando for two games there is opportunity to get a result and hopefully see some guys return to the rotation.

Last Time Out – vs Denver Nuggets

  • The Magic started the road trip on New Years Eve with a hard fought loss in Phoenix to the Suns by 107-112. That loss was unfortunately followed by two further defeats on what was a challenging back-to-back. The first came at the hands of the Golden State Warriors by 115-121, the second a heartbreaking double-OT reversal to the Sacramento Kings by 135-138.
  • The trip closed out with an incredible 122-120 winning effort over the defending champions, the Denver Nuggets. With only 9 players available the Magic were severely hampered, being made worse only 4 minutes in when an already ill Anthony Black withdrew.
  • The Magic had 8 players remaining. Cole Anthony was clearly in genuine pain with a quad contusion on every impact and Trevelin Queen was working with a stitched and swollen eye.
  • An incredible third quarter recovery after trailing by as many as 18 gave the Magic the platform and momentum to take the game.
  • Paolo Banchero got his first career triple-double with 32 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists. He also had three steals. He became one of only seven players all time in NBA history with a 30-10-10 game before turning 22 years old. He joins Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, Steph Curry and Luka Doncic in this category.
  • Jalen Suggs, hit a career-best seven threes as part of a career-high 27 points. Cole Anthony, despite not being 100 percent scored 23 points. Moe Wagner posted 19 points and 11 rebounds on a night where he had next to no backup at the centre.
  • The starting unit was Anthony Black, Jalen Suggs, Chuma Okeke, Paolo Banchero and Moritz Wagner.
  • From the bench came, Cole Anthony, Caleb Houstan, Admiral Schofield and Trevelin Queen.

Tonight

  • Franz Wagner is out, missing a second game through the ankle injury sustained in Sacramento.
  • Goga Bitadze and Anthony Black are both day-to-day and questionable with an illness that saw them both miss the Denver game.
  • Wendell Carter Jr is day-to-day and questionable with a knee injury.
  • Markelle Fultz (left knee tendinitis) is shown as day-to-day and questionable. He remains a game time decision after having missed the last 27 fixtures.
  • Gary Harris (calf) is out.
  • Jonathan Isaac (right hamstring soreness) is listed as out.
  • Joe Ingles (left ankle sprain) is again confirmed as out without any timetable for return having last played in Boston on December 15th
  • As I wrote this there was no news on Jett Howard. He was on a G League assignment but is is hard to imagine anything but a recall to the squad.
  • Finally, Kevon Harris is simply listed as out, being a Coach’s decision.

The Atlanta Hawks

Season Stats

  • Regular Season Record: 14-20 Run: Lost 1 and are at 4-6 in the last 10 played.
  • Standing: 11th in the East
  • Points Per GameFor 122.6 (3rd) Against 123.9 (28th)
  • RatingOffensive 5th Defensive 29th
  • On the road the Hawks are at a 9-11 record.
  • No team shoots the ball more per game than the Hawks do. On average they take 94 shots, with 39 of those coming from three-point-range. They make 44 of those shots, with 14 being on the three.
  • They lead the league in offensive rebounds and shoot the third most free throws per game.
  • However the Atlanta defence has been relatively ineffective all season.
  • You can not ignore the season that Trae Young is putting together. He is top 10 in so many categories, including 7th with 27.7 points per game, second with 11.1 assists per game, 9th with 1.5 steals per game.
  • Scoring comes from the many in Atlanta. Aside from Trae Young there is Dejounte Murray (20.9), Bogdan Bogdanovich (17.7), Jalen Johnson (15.1), De’Andre Hunter (14.9), Saddiq Bey (12.7) and Clint Capella (11.9)
  • Besides the double digit scoring Clint Capella is again a dominant shot blocker and rebounder. He leads the league in offensive rebound categories.

Last Time Out For Atlanta

  • Atlanta took a beating in their last outing, a 116-150 road loss to the Indiana Pacers.
  • Dejounte Murray led the team with 30 points, whilst Trae Young had an off night with 13 points on 4-18 shooting (1-11 from range).
  • The starting 5 was Trae Young, Dejounte Murray, Saddiq Bey, Jalen Johnson, Clint Capella
  • From the bench came Bogdan Bogdanovich, Onyeka Okongwu, Garrison Matthews, Trent Forrest, Bruno Fernando, AJ Griffin and Seth Lundy.
  • Patty Mills and Wesley Matthews were available but did not play. 
  • Kobe Bufkin, Mouhamed Gueye, De’Andre Hunter and Vit Krejci were unavailable.

Tonight

  • De’Andre Hunter and Mouhamed Gueye (GAY) are out.
  • Expect the Hawks to go with their same starting 5 as against Indiana, with Bey again coming in for Hunter. 

Head-To-Head With The Hawks 

  • In 132 regular season games played the score stands at 62-70 to Atlanta.
  • Over the last two seasons the series has been taken 3-1 by the Atlanta Hawks. 
  • The Magic have only won 2 of the last 12 encounters.
  • The last time Orlando won a series was season 2018-19 (taking it 4-0).
  • This is the second meeting of 4 this season. As part of the NBA’s Global Games the Magic travelled to Mexico City for a home fixture against the Atlanta Hawks. In a tight, hard fought game Orlando came away defeated by 120-119.

A Final Thought As The Magic Are Back Home In Orlando

  • Orlando will certainly need another all-star level performance from Paolo Banchero. Across the four game road trip he averaged 32.5 points, 8.8 rebounds and 7.3 assists. In every game he scored at least 27 points. The trip included a career high 43 points in Sacramento and his first career triple-double against the defending champions in Denver.
  • Whilst Orlando will again be undermanned it will not alter the game plan that Coach Mosely adopts. Nor will it dampen the spirit and unity of the squad.
  • Atlanta are in the bottom 4 of the league for giving up points in the paint and second chance opportunities. For Orlando these are key areas to try and exploit on the offensive side, being areas of strength for the Magic.

The Let’s Talk Magic Game Preview

GO MAGIC!