The Orlando Magic are back in Atlanta tonight to face the Hawks. Both teams had their previous game postponed due to COVID. Hopefully Magic Game Day 33 will go ahead (yes; technically it is game 32 of the season but we are going as per the schedule).
The tip time is shown on the Orlando Magic website as being 12:30am here in the UK (7:30pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
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The Game Day 33 Match Up
Each team had their last game postponed due to COVID. Game Day 32 on Monday in Toronto for Orlando is still to be rescheduled. Atlanta would have faced Cleveland on Sunday, but the Cavaliers had 6 players unavailable through the restrictions.
Therefore the previous games were:
Saturday 18th December – Orlando Magic 100 – 93 Brooklyn Nets
Magic Top Performances – Chuma Okeke was influential for the team getting 2 blocks and 2 steals as he worked solidly on defence. He finished with 15 points, that included 3 made shots from beyond the arc on 6 attempts. Franz Wagner struggled offensively but as Orlando’s point guard he recorded his career first double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Robin Lopez overwhelmed the Nets inside the paint. He recorded season highs of 20 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double. Gary Harris added 17 points as he combined well with fellow veteran Lopez.
Friday 17th December – Denver Nuggets 133 – 115 Atlanta Hawks
Hawks Top Performances – It was double-double time for Atlanta. Trae Young led the Hawks with 34 points and 10 assists. John Collins had 20 points and 10 rebounds. Clint Capella finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Orlando’s record is 6 wins and 25 losses. The Magic remain 14th in the Eastern Conference, being well behind the Indiana Pacers who are 13th. Of the last 10 games played the Magic have won 2 and the bigger picture is 14 losses in 16 games. The home record stands at 2 wins of 12 games played, whilst on the road it is 4 wins in 19 played. In points per game the Magic score 101.4 whilst conceding 111.3. In offensive rankings Orlando remain at 28th, but defensively have now improved to 27th.
The Atlanta Hawks are 11th in the Eastern Conference with a 14-15 record. Of the last 10 games played the Hawks have won 4. Their home record is a winning one at 8 of 15 played. Atlanta score an average of 111.5 points per game (4th most in the NBA), whilst conceding 110.
Head-To-Head: The Atlanta Hawks
Of the 125 regular season games played with Atlanta the Magic trail at 65-60. The Hawks are now on a 5 game winning streak.
This will be the third meeting of four this season. As beaten Eastern Conference finalists last season the Hawks have surprisingly struggled 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 last 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.
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
Coach McMillan will have game time decisions on lineups to make. He can not use their last unit or his starters of choice.
Their injury report on ESPN shows a worsening situation. Trae Young, Clint Capella and Danilo Gallinari are all out through NBA COVID protocols. De’Andre Hunter and Soloman Hill are out following surgery. Bogdan Bogdanovic is listed as out but questionable with an ankle injury. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot is day-to-day.
Last starting line-up – Trae Young (PG), Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (SG), Kevin Huerter (SF), John Collins (PF) and Clint Capella (C).
From the bench came Danilo Gallinari, Lou Williams, Cam Reddish, Delon Wright, Gorgui Dieng, Onyeka Okongwu and Sharife Cooper.
The Orlando Magic Injury Report
ESPN as I write shows no changes to the Magic injury status.
Cole Anthony is questionable for tonight with a sprained right ankle.
Wendell Carter Jr is questionable with a lower leg injury.
Mo Bamba has entered NBA protocols for COVID-19 and is out for the game. He also sprained his right ankle in LA and missed the Atlanta game.
Terrence Ross has entered NBA protocols for COVID-19 and is out for the game.
RJ Hampton has entered NBA protocols for COVID-19 and is out for the game.
Moe Wagner has entered NBA protocols for COVID-19 and is out for the game.
Ignas Brazdeikis has entered NBA protocols for COVID-19 and is out for the game.
Markelle Fultz is still out. On Friday 10th December he went through his first full practice since the ACL injury in the left knee.
Jalen Suggs is out with a fractured right thumb. He will be out for “an extended period of time” and is to be reevaluated in the next week.
E’Twaun Moore remains out with a sprained left knee.
Michael Carter-Williams is out after surgery to remove a bone fragment and repair his left ankle ligament.
Jonathan Isaac continues to be out as he rehabilitates from a left knee ACL injury that saw him miss all of last season. He is said to be making great and steady progress, but is not yet cleared for contact.
The Orlando Lineup
Barring the return of Cole Anthony and Wendell Carter Jr it will pretty much be as you were in Brooklyn for Coach Mosely. He does however have the addition of free agent guard Tim Frazier and free agent forward Freddie Gillespie. Both were signed to 10-day contracts yesterday (December 21st).
Projected Magic Starting Lineup – Franz Wagner (PG) Mychal Mulder (SG), Gary Harris (SF), Chuma Okeke (PF), Robin Lopez (C)
Bench Unit – Aleem Ford, Hassani Gravett, BJ Johnson, Admiral Schofield, Tim Frazier, Freddie Gillespie
Check Out Other Orlando Magic U.K. Content
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Final Thoughts On Game Day 33 As The Orlando Magic Are Back In Atlanta
As in Brooklyn this game will come down to which team can adapt quickest to the disruption.
Both teams have experienced a few days away from the court, so tiredness should not be an issue.
As the Orlando Magic are back in Atlanta the team will be aiming to grow on the play in Brooklyn. The advantage of being able to draw players from their G-League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic. The game showed the benefit of both teams playing similar styles. Aleem Ford, Hassani Gravett, BJ Johnson and Admiral Schofield all fitted easily into the rotation in their second game of this 10-day contract. Gravett was part of the finishing 5 through his impact.
For Atlanta the loss of Trae Young and Clint Capella is huge. The Hawks offensive play is all run through Young. Capella is responsible for creating many second chance opportunities through his dominant rebounding. With Gallinari being an influential member of the bench the combined points per game of those three is 48.4 points.
Let’s Go Magic!