The Magic tonight face a team on the second night of a back-to-back as our Division and Conference rivals the Atlanta Hawks land in Orlando. This will be the final time the teams face each other this season and is Orlando’s last game before the All-Star Weekend. The Magic are aiming to break a 3 game losing streak by clipping the Hawks wings in the Amway Center.
The tip time from Florida is shown on the Orlando Magic website as being midnight here in the UK (7pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando). To watch the game live or on demand in the UK you will need an active NBA League Pass 2021/22 subscription.
The Orlando Magic
Last time out on Monday saw Orlando lose on the road in Denver by 111-121. Trailing by as many as 22 points Orlando repeatedly fought back but balanced team scoring by Denver, who were led by reigning MVP Nikola Jokic ultimately had too much for the Magic.
Wendell Carter Jr battled Jokic all night to finish with 25 points and 12 rebounds. He has 24 double-doubles on the season so far. Franz Wagner with 26 points led the team in scoring. Aside from leading the comebacks Franz added 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals as he got it done on both ends of the floor. Jalen Suggs contributed 16 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and a block. That does not show his defensive deflections and willingness to put his body into harms way. Gary Harris added 15 points, 6 assists, 4 steals and 3 rebounds as he continued strong contributions for the team. Chuma Okeke put in an all round performance. He scored 9 points and dished out 4 assists to go with a strong defensive effort, that produced 4 steals and a block.
Orlando has a record of 13 wins and 46 losses, remaining 14th in the Eastern Conference. Over the last 10 games played the Magic have won 4, losing the last 3 straight. The home record stands at 5 wins of 25 games played, whilst on the road it is 8 wins in 34 played. In points per game the Magic are scoring 103.2 whilst conceding 111.6. The efficiency rating for Orlando remains 28th on offence and 22nd defensively.
Orlando now have 23 games remaining this season, of which 16 are at home.
The Atlanta Hawks
Last season’s beaten Eastern Conference finalist remain struggling this time around. The Atlanta Hawks are 10th in the Eastern Conference with a 27-30 record. Of the last 10 games played the Hawks have won 5. Their home record is a winning one at 17 of 30 played, however it is the road where they have struggled, winning 10 of 27 played. Atlanta score an average of 111.9 points per game and concede 111.8, putting them 2nd offensively and 29th on defence.
The Hawks are on the second night of a back-to-back having beaten the Cleveland Cavaliers by 116-124 in Atlanta last night.
Trae Young led the Hawks with a 41 points and 9 assists. Strong scoring support came from Danilo Gallinari (25 points), De’Andre Hunter (18) and Kevin Huerter (13). The bench produced little being led by Bogdan Bogdanovic with 10 points.
Head-To-Head: The Atlanta Hawks
Of the 126 regular season games played with Atlanta the Magic trail at 65-61. The Hawks were on a 5 game winning streak until the last meeting.
This will be the fourth and final meeting of this season. On Game Day 14 the Magic had no answer to Young, Collins or Capella, Orlando losing in Atlanta by 111-129. The teams then met on Game Day 29 on December 15th, a game Orlando lost by 111-99. Again Trae Young and John Collins did much of the damage. The teams met again in Atlanta on December 22nd with Orlando winning 104-98 by simple offence and ball movement. Franz Wagner and Gary Harris did the scoring damage.
Last season (2020-21) saw the series swept by Atlanta. The 2019-20 season was split 2-2, each team winning one road and home game. 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 in games. Orlando won the Eastern Conference Semi-final 4-1 in 1996. Again in the 2010 Eastern Conference Semi-final Orlando swept the series 4-0. Atlanta took the series in the 2011 First Round by 4-2.
Our Opponents – The Atlanta Hawks
As the Atlanta Hawks land in Orlando Coach McMillan will have decisions to make around team rotations being on a back-to-back. He may be boosted by the return of two players from injury.
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Gorgui Dieng were absent through injury but no longer appear on the injury report so will be available.
John Collins is out until after All-Star. Bogdan Bogdanovic is questionable with an ankle injury.
Last Starting Line-up – Trae Young (PG), Kevin Huerter (SG), De’Andre Hunter (SF), Danilo Gallinari (PF), Clint Capella (C)
Bench Unit – Bogdan Bogdanovic, Lou Williams, Onyeka Okongwu, Delon Wright, Sharife Cooper, Kevin Knox II (DNP), Jalen Johnson (DNP), Skylar Mays (DNP)
The Orlando Magic Injury Report
There is no change to the Magic injury list on ESPN.
Moe Wagner is again updated as being out with a left rib contusion.
RJ Hampton remains out with a left knee injury.
Markelle Fultz is out indefinitely with no public timeline for his return. There are multiple fan tweets that he mouthed last night he’d be back soon.
Jonathan Isaac continues to be out as he rehabilitates the repaired left knee. There remains no public timeline for his return to the court.
Bol Bol, was acquired at the trade deadline but is likely out for the season having surgery to a foot injury.
The Magic Lineup As The Atlanta Hawks Land In Orlando
It is unlikely that Coach Jamahl Mosely makes any change to his core unit.
Magic Starting Lineup – Cole Anthony (PG), Jalen Suggs (SG), Franz Wagner (SF), Wendell Carter Jr (PF), Mo Bamba (C)
Magic Bench Unit – Gary Harris, Chuma Okeke, Terrence Ross, Admiral Schofield, Robin Lopez, Ignas Brazdeikis (DNP)
Final Thoughts As The Atlanta Hawks Land In Orlando
Whenever a team play Atlanta they have to find a way of slowing Trae Young. Averaging 27.9 points per game his shooting from any distance is highly reliable. He is a master at drawing fouls and also dishes out almost 10 assists per game.
For Orlando Franz Wagner has started all 59 of his rookie season NBA games, scoring double figures in 49 of them and 20 or more points on 14 occasions. He will again carry the burden of the Magic offence on his young shoulders.
Wendell Carter Jr seems to relish the challenge of going against the NBA’s best big men and will face one again tonight. Clint Capella is 5th in both total and offensive rebounds. The battle of these big men will be pivotal to the outcome.
Jalen Suggs has been playing at pace. He sets out to push the opposition defence, not allowing it to set after a made basket. This has seen Orlando become the 10th fastest paced team.
Encouragingly Orlando set a team season high in steals against Denver, with 16. Challenging on the offensive board was also better than of late. That helped the Magic get 18 second chance points and 50 points in the paint. This will be needed again tonight, especially as Atlanta are vulnerable defensively.
Opportunities will be present from deep as Atlanta have conceded on the three-ball all season long. Cole Anthony and Terrence Ross have an opportunity to get some much needed scores. Gary Harris has another chance to add to his contribution in Denver.
Whichever team decides to play defence effectively first can take the win.
Let’s Go Magic!