The Atlanta Hawks swoop in to Orlando tonight for Game Day 36 in the Amway. Atlanta have not found the form many expected from them this year. However it will a challenge for the Magic to take a win tonight.
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The tip time is shown on the NBA app and Orlando Magic website as being a 1:00am here in the UK (8:00pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
THE MATCHUP AS THE ATLANTA HAWKS SWOOP IN
The Atlanta Hawks are on the second night of a back-to-back having played last night in Miami. The Hawks beat the Heat 94-80. All five Atlanta starters made double figure scoring, no one from the bench did. Trae Young led the team with a double-double on 18 points and 10 assists. Clint Capella also made a double-double with 10 points and 17 rebounds.
The Magic took another loss in the Amway to the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night in a high scoring game by 130-124. The team was again led by Nikola Vucevic, hitting a total of 29 points,15 rebounds and 8 assists. This was a better offensive performance for long periods. The rest of the scoring was carried by Evan Fournier (26 points), Terrence Ross (18 points) and Michael Carter-Williams (18 points).
The Hawks have won 7 of 18 games on the road this season. Orlando have won 8 of 19 games at home in the Amway. Season records see Orlando at 13-22, whilst Atlanta are 15-20. Across the last 10 games that each team has played both have a 4-6 record. Orlando have now lost their last four games, whilst Atlanta’s win last night broke a 2 games losing sequence.
Atlanta are holding the 11th position in the Eastern Conference, Orlando are now 14th.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE ATLANTA HAWKS
The Hawks come into the game as the NBA’s 9th ranked offensive team, scoring 112.5 points per game. A defensive rating at 23rd sees them conceding an average of 112.2 points per game.
Offensively they are happy to play at pace or to be patient and use all of the shot clock. Scoring wise 48.4% comes from inside the paint. 33% of their points per game come from beyond the arc. They shoot 45.4% from the field and 35.8% with the 3 ball. Assists per game are greater than that of the Magic at 24.3 per game, Orlando average 22.7.
Defensively they block 4.7 times per game, whilst for steals have a low league rating of 24th with 6.9 per game. They turn the ball over at a rate of 14.4 times per game. On average they foul a lot at 19.7 times per game. Orlando by contrast foul only 16.9 times per game, the best record in the NBA. They dominate the glass, rebounding well on both ends of the court, but particularly on offence.
THE ATLANTA HAWKS SQUAD
Atlanta fired Coach Lloyd Pierce this week. Interim head coach Nate McMillan took charge for the first time against Miami. He used a starting line-up of Trae Young (26.2 PPG), Kevin Huerter (12.1 PPG), Clint Capella (14.7 PPG), Tony Snell (4.8 PPG) and John Collins (18.1 PPG). That is a solid team.
From the bench came Danilo Gallinari (11.2 PPG), Soloman Hill (4.2 PPG), Bogdan Bogdanovic (9.4 PPG), Rajon Rondo (3.7 PPG) and Onyeka Okongwu (3.4 PPG).
According to their injury report Kris Dunn (0 PPG) is out with a knee injury. De’Andre Hunter (17.2 PPG) is also out with a knee injury. Cam Reddish (11.2 PPG) missed the win last night in Miami with an Achilles injury but there is no update on his status for tonight.
THE HEAD-TO-HEAD: THE ATLANTA HAWKS
Of the 120 regular season games played with Atlanta the record is level at 60-60
This will be the first meeting this season. The teams met twice in pre-season, taking a win each in Atlanta.
Last season saw the series split 2-2, each team winning one road and home game. Orlando won the last two meetings. Over recent seasons that has regularly been the trend. However Season 2018-19 saw Orlando sweep the Hawks 4-0.
The teams have met in the playoffs on 3 occasions. Orlando lead by 2-1 on series and 10-5 on games. Orlando won the Eastern Conference Semi-final 4-1 in 1996. Again in 2010 Eatern Conference Semi-final Orlando swept the series 4-0. Atlanta took the series in the 2011 First Round 4-2.
THE MAGIC INJURY AND ABSENCE REPORT
The injury report is worsening.
According to ESPN:
Evan Fournier (18.5 PPG) is questionable for tonight after suffering a left groin strain in the Dallas defeat.
James Ennis III (7.3 PPG) is out with a calf injury.
Cole Anthony (11 PPG) is out until after All Star with a non-displaced rib fracture.
Aaron Gordon (13.8 PPG) was set to miss 4 to 6 weeks from February 1st with a severe left ankle sprain.
Markelle Fultz (12.9 PPG) has a torn left knee ACL, a season finishing injury. He is now in the lengthy process of rehab following successful surgery.
Jonathan Isaac is out indefinitely recovering from knee surgery.
Karim Mane (1.2 PPG) is absent to be with the Lakeland Magic. The NBA G-League season began on February 10th in a “bubble” at Walt Disney World.
THE MAGIC LINE-UP AS THE ATLANTA HAWKS SWOOP IN
The starting unit against Dallas was again Michael Carter-Williams (8.3 PPG), Al-Farouq Aminu (4.1 PPG), Evan Fournier (18.5 PPG), Dwayne Bacon (10.2 PPG) and Nikola Vucevic (24.5 PPG).
From the bench came Terrence Ross (15.2 PPG), Chasson Randle (5.6 PPG), , Chuma Okeke (4.5 PPG), Khem Birch (5.9 PPG) and Gary Clark (3.3 PPG). Mo Bamba (4.9 PPG) was available but did not feature.
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 14th
SEASON RECORD – 13-22
HOME RECORD – 8-11
ROAD RECORD – 5-11
NBA OFFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 26TH OF 30 (106)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 20TH OF 30 (112.7)
POINTS PER GAME – 28TH OF 30 (105.4)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 15TH OF 30 (112.1)
RECORDS WHEN LEADING AND SCORING
RECORD LEADING AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER – 6-4
WHEN LEADING AT HALF TIME – 11-2
AND WHEN LEADING GOING INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER – 9-1
RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – 1-13
WHEN SCORING 100 TO 109 POINTS – 4-6
WHEN SCORING 110 TO 119 POINTS OR MORE – 3-2
AND WHEN SCORING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 5-1
RECORDS FOR CONCEDING THIS SEASON
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 100 POINTS OR LESS – 5-1
WHEN CONCEDING 100 TO 109 POINTS – 3-4
AND WHEN CONCEDING 110 TO 119 POINTS – 3-6
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 2-10
LEAST AND LARGEST ON THE SEASON
LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY – 20 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
LARGEST MARGIN OF DEFEAT – 42 – GAME DAY 9 HOUSTON ROCKETS
HIGHEST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 130 – GAME DAY 2 VS WASHINGTON WIZARDS
LEAST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 84 – GAME DAY 14 NEW YORK KNICKS
MOST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 132 – GAME DAY 9 HOUSTON ROCKETS
LEAST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 83 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
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KEYS TO THE GAMES AS THE ATLANTA HAWKS SWOOP IN
As the Atlanta Hawks swoop in to Orlando tonight Coach Clifford will be wanting a morale boosting win to go into the All-Star break. A winning 3 game run has been replaced by 4 consecutive losses and Orlando are dropping down the standings. With a universally accepted tough schedule to the second half of the season awaiting Orlando must find form soon.
Orlando’s injuries are still impacting, with potentially four starters, a solid role player and the back-up point guard all absent.
For Orlando scoring is again a key. Statistics show that if we hit less than 100 points then we almost certainly lose. Orlando need to find effective and accurate ball movement. Some of the role players have to get a better percentage of shooting accuracy, especially true if Fournier is absent. The team can not afford to get into foul trouble and must limit live ball turnovers.
Coach Clifford will be planning for the multiple threats possessed by Atlanta. The most obvious is Trae Young, capable of scoring from anywhere on the court. He gets to the free throw line a lot, third in the league with 317 attempts, making 278 of them. He possesses great court vision, recording 313 assists this season, second in the NBA. Clint Capella leads the league in offensive rebounds and rebounds per game and is second for total rebounds. Capella is third in the league for blocks per game.
Young is far from the only threat with Collins, Huerter, Capella, Gallinari and Bogdanovic all capable of scoring in different ways.
Defence will essential for Orlando to a victory in this game. The most recent wins came from that focus. This is a tight matchup and could be a close affair.