Game Day 58 sees the Magic face the soaring Hawks in Atlanta. Orlando continue to give youth experience as they continue the rebuild journey.
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The tip time is shown on the NBA app and Orlando Magic website as being 12:30amt here in the UK (7:30pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
THE MATCHUP AS THE MAGIC FACE THE SOARING HAWKS
Atlanta played last on Sunday night, a 117-129 home win over the Indiana Pacers. Trae Young led the Hawks with 34 points and 11 rebounds for yet another double-double. Clint Capella also made a double-double as he dominated the boards with 24 rebounds and making 25 points. Kevin Huerter and Bogdan Bogdanovic also hit 23 points each.
The Magic went down to a defeat at the hands of the Houston Rockets on Sunday night, by 114-110 at home in the Amway Centre. Orlando held a lead for good periods of the game but yet again a disastrous third quarter saw them fall away. Again the difference in three point scoring sealed our fate as Houston bettered Orlando by 15 points in this area. Orlando saw balanced scoring as all five starters made double figure scoring being joined by Mo Bamba from the bench. Scoring was led for Orlando by Dwayne Bacon with 22 points. Wendell Carter Jr with 11 points and 10 rebounds hit a double-double. Gary Harris had a strong defensive game again but added 16 points. Cole Anthony had a strong game as the starting point guard with 16 points, 4 rebounds and 9 assists on some excellent passing.
The Hawks have won 15 of 26 games at home this season. Orlando have won 8 of 27 games on the road. Season records see Orlando at 18-39, whilst Atlanta are 31-26. Across the last 10 games that each team has played Atlanta have a 8-2 record, whilst Orlando have dropped to 2-8. Atlanta are on a single game win run, Orlando lost the last 2.
Results see the Hawks 4th in the Eastern Conference and Orlando are still sat at 14th just.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE ATLANTA HAWKS
The Hawks come into the game as the NBA’s 8th ranked offensive team, scoring 113.5 points per game.
Offensively they are a patient team and use the shot clock. They make only 9.7 fast break points per game. Scoring sees 49% come from inside the paint, with 33.5% from beyond the arc. They shoot 46.5% from the field and 37.5% with the 3 ball. Assists per game are greater than that of the Magic at 24.2 per game, Orlando average 22.5. This is another team hoisting up shots in a game but not hitting a large percentage. Atlanta draw a lot of fouls, attempting 24.4 free throws per game, making 19.8, an efficiency rate of 81.1%.
A defensive rating at 23rd sees them conceding an average of 111.4 points per game.
Defensively they block 4.8 times per game, whilst for steals have a low league rating of 25th with 6.9 per game. They turn the ball over at a rate of 13.4 times per game but concede relatively few fast break points. This suggests their turnovers are not live ball ones. On average they foul a lot at 19.5 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
Head coach Nate McMillan took charge of the team mid season and has now been in charge for 23 games. In that time he has achieved a 17-6 record.
Against Indiana he used a starting line-up of Trae Young (25.4 PPG), Kevin Huerter (12 PPG), Clint Capella (15.6 PPG), Bogdan Bogdanovic (14.4 PPG) and John Collins (18 PPG). That is a solid team.
From the bench came Soloman Hill (4.7 PPG), Lou Williams (11.9 PPG) Brendon Goodwin (4.6 PPG) and Onyeka Okongwu (4 PPG).
The squad also has Bruno Fernando (1.4 PPG) , Nathan Knight (3.7 PPG) and Skylar Mays (3.2 PPG).
As I write according to ESPN their injury report has some important names on it. Kris Dunn (0 PPG) is out with an ankle injury and has not played this season. De’Andre Hunter (16 PPG) is out with a knee injury. Cam Reddish (11.2 PPG) is still recovering from an Achilles injury. Tony Snell (5.5 PPG) is out with an ankle injury. Danilo Gallinari (13.4 PPG) is out with a foot issue.
THE HEAD-TO-HEAD: THE ATLANTA HAWKS
Of the 121 regular season games played with our Division rivals Atlanta have a lead at 61-60
This will be the second meeting this season. On Game Day 36 the Hawks swooped into Orlando for a 115-112 win
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 Eastern Conference Semi-final Orlando swept the series 4-0. Atlanta took the series in the 2011 First Round by 4-2.
THE ORLANDO INJURY REPORT AS THE MAGIC FACE THE SOARING HAWKS
As I write the injury report on ESPN reads:
Terrence Ross (15.6 PPG) is listed as day-to-day and will not play tonight with a back issue.
James Ennis III (8.6 PPG) is listed as day-to-day and will not play tonight with a calf injury
Otto Porter Jr (9.7 PPG) is out with a foot injury.
Michael Carter-Williams (8.8 PPG) is expected to miss multiple games with an ankle injury but is listed as day-to-day.
Markelle Fultz (12.9 PPG) is out indefinitely recovering from knee surgery for a torn ACL.
Jonathan Isaac is out indefinitely recovering from knee surgery for a torn ACL.
THE ORLANDO LINE-UP AS THE MAGIC FACE THE SOARING HAWKS
The Magic starting unit against Houston was the 28th of the season used by Coach Clifford.
The line up was Cole Anthony (11.4 PPG), Chuma Okeke (7.3 PPG), Dwayne Bacon (10.4 PPG), Gary Harris (10 PPG), Wendell Carter Jr (11.8 PPG). It is expected to remain the same
From the bench came Mo Bamba (6.8 PPG), RJ Hampton (4.7 PPG), Chasson Randle (5.3 PPG), Robert Franks (4.3 PPG) and Devin Cannady (2.8 PPG)
Donte Hall (4 PPG) was available but did not play.
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 14th
SEASON RECORD – 18-39
HOME RECORD – 10-20
ROAD RECORD – 8-19
NBA OFFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 28TH OF 30 (105.8)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 24TH OF 30 (113.5)
POINTS PER GAME – 29TH OF 30 (104.4)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 17TH OF 30 (112)
RECORDS WHEN LEADING AND SCORING
RECORD LEADING AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER – 9-10
WHEN LEADING AT HALF TIME – 14-6
AND WHEN LEADING GOING INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER – 11-3
RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – 1-22
WHEN SCORING 100 TO 109 POINTS – 5-11
WHEN SCORING 110 TO 119 POINTS OR MORE – 6-5
AND WHEN SCORING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 6-1
RECORDS FOR CONCEDING THIS SEASON
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 100 POINTS OR LESS – 6-3
WHEN CONCEDING 100 TO 109 POINTS – 4-6
AND WHEN CONCEDING 110 TO 119 POINTS – 6-15
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 2-14
LEAST AND LARGEST ON THE SEASON
LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY – 20 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
LARGEST MARGIN OF DEFEAT – 46 – GAME DAY 49 UTAH JAZZ
HIGHEST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 130 – GAME DAY 2 WASHINGTON WIZARDS
LEAST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 77 – GAME DAY 38 SAN ANTONIO SPURS
MOST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 137 – GAME DAY 49 UTAH JAZZ
LEAST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 83 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
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KEYS TO THE GAME AS THE MAGIC FACE THE SOARING HAWKS
As the Magic face the soaring Hawks it is perhaps difficult to see any other result than a win for our South Eastern Division rivals. Orlando remain on the rebuilding path and giving youth experience. The Magic still have key injury absences.
Atlanta will play on offence with balance as they attack the paint and deploy the three.
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 has scored 1320 this season (15th in the NBA) He gets to the free throw line a lot, third in the league with 459 attempts, making a league leading 400 of them. He possesses great court vision, recording 495 assists this season (3rd in the NBA).
Young is far from the only threat with Collins, Huerter, Capella, Williams and Bogdanovic all capable of scoring in different ways.
Clint Capella leads the league in rebounds per game, is second for offensive rebounds and total rebounds. Capella is third in the league for total blocks and blocks per game.
Against both Toronto and Houston in the first half Orlando continued the good play from against Chicago. The team can not afford to drop away in the 3rd quarter as the Magic have done.
Atlanta do not concede points in the way they have done previously. Orlando have to find consistent scoring to keep pace with a team that is sweeping opponents aside.
Therefore Orlando must find a way to get stops on the defensive end. Chuma Okeke, Wendell Carter Jr and Gary Harris have been encouraging. Improved defensive rebounding is needed, since the trade deadline this has been an issue. It may not be easy against such a dominant rebounder as Capella.
Limiting turnovers is a must. Avoiding foul trouble will not be easy, particularly against Young. If they can be disciplined it will assist Orlando in removing a valuable source of scoring from Atlanta.
KEY DATES IN THE NBA
Orlando has seen results around them beneficial for the lottery position. The Magic remain with the 4th worst record in the NBA. This means Orlando have a 12.5% chance of landing the number 1 draft pick when the lottery comes. Orlando are 5 games back of Chicago in 10th.
The dates to look for as the season progresses are:
The regular season ends May 16th.
The Play-In tournament is May 18th and 21st.
From May 22nd to July 22nd the NBA Playoffs are scheduled to run.
The date for the Draft Lottery as June 22nd.
The 2021 NBA Draft is set for July 29th.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has indicated the 2021-22 season is hoped to start back at its more normal time of late October.