It is Game Day 70 and the Magic play in Atlanta as they take on the Hawks. Atlanta are battling the Heat and Knicks to be the fourth seed in the East come the close of the regular season on Sunday night.
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The tip time is shown on the NBA app and Orlando Magic website as being a 12:30am here in the UK (7:30pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
THE MATCHUP AS THE MAGIC PLAY IN ATLANTA
The Hawks played last night on the first night of a back-to-back, taking a hard fought home win over the Washington Wizards by 116-120. The high scoring game saw the Hawks concede led by Trae Young with a near triple double of 33 points, 9 assists and 8 rebounds. Bogdan Bogdanovic contributed 20 points and 3 steals. Clint Capella registered another double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Finally John Collins with18 points and Onyeka Okongwu with 11 rounded out those scoring double figures for Atlanta, as the team shot 51% from the field.
On Tuesday night the Magic lost a close scoring and hard fought road game with the Milwaukee Bucks by 102-114. Orlando had improved shooting as they went toe-to-toe with the Bucks. Cole Anthony led the team in scoring with 18 points.. RJ Hampton had another double figure scoring game with 11 points and he led the team in assists with 5. It was fascinating to watch the pair attack a packed Milwaukee paint defence. Mo Wagner recorded a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Gary Harris and Chasson Randle also both scored in double figures.
The Hawks have won 23 of 34 games at home this season. Orlando have won 10 of 33 games on the road. Season records see Orlando at 21-48, whilst Atlanta are 39-31. Across the last 10 games that each team has played Atlanta hold a 6-4 record and Orlando are at 3-7. The Hawks have won their last 2 games and Orlando have lost the last 4.
Results see Atlanta 4th and Orlando 14th in the Eastern Conference.
The Hawks come into the game as the NBA’s 8th ranked offensive team, scoring on average 113 points per game. Orlando are 29th with an average of 104.1 points per game, only Cleveland rate below the Magic.
Atlanta have a defensive rating at 22nd and sees them conceding 111.9 points per game. Orlando are 25th and concede 112.9 points per game.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE ATLANTA HAWKS
Atlanta fired Coach Lloyd Pierce just prior to our last meeting, having a then 14-20 record for the season. Head coach Nate McMillan took charge for the first time against Miami and since has a 25-11 record with the team.
They are happy to play at pace but over all they tend to be a patient team and use the shot clock. They get less than 10 fast break points per game. Scoring wise of their 113 points per game 47.6 points comes from inside the paint. 33% of their points per game come from beyond the arc. They shoot 46.7% from the field and 37.3% with the 3 ball. Assists per game are greater than that of the Magic at 24.1 per game, Orlando average 21.8.
They get to the line a lot, particularly Trae Young. Atlanta shoot 24.2 free throws per game and make 19.7 of them. This 81.3% efficiency sees a league leading 17.3% of their points per game come from the line.
They block 4.7 times per game, whilst for steals have a low league rating of 26th with 6.9 per game. They turn the ball over at a low rate of 13.3 times per game. The low turnover rate results in only 11.8 fast break points per game conceded. On average they foul a lot at 19.4 times per game but that results in only 21.2 free throws faced. Atlanta are susceptible to opponents scoring in the paint, almost 50% of points conceded is from here.
They dominate the glass, rebounding well on both ends of the court. They are 8th in total rebounds and on offence 7th.
THE ATLANTA HAWKS SQUAD
Coach McMillan used a starting line-up last night of Trae Young (25.7 PPG), Kevin Huerter (11.9 PPG), Clint Capella (15.2 PPG), Bogdan Bogdanovic (16.1 PPG) and John Collins (17.8 PPG). That is a solid team.
From the bench came Tony Snell (5.2 PPG), Danilo Gallinari (13.3 PPG), Soloman Hill (4.5 PPG), Lou Williams (11.4 PPG) and Onyeka Okongwu (4.3 PPG).
The squad also features Kris Dunn (1.3 PPG), De’Andre Hunter (15.5 PPG), Bruno Fernando (1.3 PPG), Brandon Goodwin (4.8 PPG), Nathan Knight (3.5 PPG), Skylar Mays (3.4 PPG) and Cam Reddish (11.2 PPG).
According to ESPN their are day-to-day concerns with Bogdan Bogdanovic and Trae Young, making both questionable. Cam Reddish is out for a few more weeks after an achilles injury. De’Andre Hunter missed last nights game but is no longer on the injury list as I write.
THE HEAD-TO-HEAD: THE ATLANTA HAWKS
Of the 122 regular season games played with Atlanta the Magic trail at 62-60
This will be the third meeting this season. The teams met in Atlanta on March 3rd, Atlanta winning 112-115. The last meeting was in Orlando and saw the hawks win by 112-96.
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 4-2.
THE ORLANDO INJURY REPORT AS THE MAGIC PLAY IN ATLANTA
As I write the injury report on ESPN reads:
Mo Bamba (7.9 PPG) is listed as day-to-day but questionable with an illness.
Chuma Okeke (7.8 PPG) is out after turning his ankle against Cleveland. He may not play again this season.
Terrence Ross (15.6 PPG) is out with back spasms. He has no timetable to return and may not play again this season.
James Ennis III (8.4 PPG) is out with a calf injury and may not play again this season.
Otto Porter Jr (9.7 PPG) is out with a foot injury. He has no timetable to return and may not play again this season.
Michael Carter-Williams (8.8 PPG) is out with an ankle injury and may not play again this season.
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 PLAY IN ATLANTA
Orlando have used 32 starting units this season, the most in the team’s history. With 28 players having featured on the squad in the season that is another franchise record.
The Magic starting unit used by Coach Clifford against Milwaukee was Dwayne Bacon (11.2 PPG), Moritz Wagner (6.8 PPG), Cole Anthony (12.4 PPG), Gary Harris (10.2 PPG) and Wendell Carter Jr (11.4 PPG).
From the bench came RJ Hampton (6.6 PPG), Ignas Brazdeikis (5.2 PPG), Sindarius Thornwell (1.4 PPG), Donta Hall (4.1 PPG) and Chasson Randle (6.2 PPG).
RECORD FOR 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 – 75 – GAME DAY 63 MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
MOST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 137 – GAME DAY 49 UTAH JAZZ
LEAST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 83 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
KEYS TO THE GAMES AS THE MAGIC PLAY IN ATLANTA
As the Magic play in Atlanta tonight Coach Clifford will be aiming to win regardless that many Magic fans see this as a must lose game. Including tonight Orlando have 3 games remaining, all on the road. The players will not be approaching the game with any negativity as they attempt to win.
Orlando can not afford to get into foul trouble. The most obvious threat here 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 538 attempts, but the league leader in making 477 of them. He possesses great court vision, recording 578 assists this season.
Young is far from the only threat with Collins, Huerter, Capella, Gallinari and Bogdanovic all capable of scoring in different ways.
Clint Capella leads the league in offensive rebounds and rebounds per game and is second for total rebounds. Capella is fourth in the league for blocks per game.
The battles could be intriguing to watch. Cole Anthony and RJ Hampton going against Trae Young (assuming he plays) will be another strong test. Wendell Carter Jr and Mo Wagner facing Capella has the makings of a strong competition.
THE LOTTERY RACE
As the Magic play in Atlanta defeat is not a disaster. Teams are packed together as the lottery draws closer.
The table reads:
23rd – Chicago – 29-40
24th – Toronto – 27-42
25th – Minnesota – 22-47
26th – Cleveland – 21-48
27th – Orlando – 22-48
28th – OKC – 21-49
29th – Detroit – 20-50
30th – Houston – 16-54
The odds are explained here on Tankathon.
In the lottery race Orlando are in 4th position for the lottery first round, meaning a 12.5% chance of the number 1 pick. The pick is also guaranteed to be a top 8 pick. Picks 1 through 4 are assigned by the drawing of ping pong balls, 5 through 14 are by record. Tied teams split their ping pong balls evenly.
The pick owed by Chicago from the Vucevic trade currently sits at 8th. This is a top 4 protected pick meaning Chicago keep the pick if it is drawn at 1 through 4. Odds see it likely to be at 8 or 9 in the draft.
Finishing with the worst record does not guarantee the best pick. The lottery has numerous examples of teams outside the top odds moving up the draft order. Fancy a go on a lottery simulation to see how it works? Then just click on the link and hit the SIM LOTTERY button.