The NBA is set up with a solid night of action on Wednesday night. Nine games are up on the board throughout the night of February 26. One of these games will be a matchup between the Orlando Magic and the Atlanta Hawks. The Magic are in a playoff spot right now, while the Hawks are near the bottom of the standings. This game will tip off at around 7:30 PM Eastern time.
The Magic have earned a record of 25-32 to this point in the season, which has them sitting in eighth place of the East. Orlando has a four and a half game lead on the Washington Wizards, who are in ninth place. The Magic are a game and a half back from the seventh seed as well. Orlando is coming off a win in their last game and have won three of their last four.
Atlanta is currently tied for fifteenth place of the Eastern Conference with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Hawks have put up a record of 17-42 to this point in the season. The Hawks are nine games out of the final playoff spot, which is still possible if they get rolling soon. Atlanta is coming off a loss, but had won two in a row before that loss. The Hawks will look to win one at home in this one.
Orlando has had the much better season so far, but the Hawks still have a chance if they can get their team rolling. I expect these two teams to still come out quickly on Wednesday night to try and earn a big win. Both teams have had some minor success in their recent games and will look to build upon this on February 25.
These two teams have met three times this season. The first matchup was in Atlanta on October 26. Evan Fournier dropped 23 points for the Magic, but it was not enough. Trae Young dropped 39 points, while Kevin Huerter and Jabari Parker had 10 points off the bench. This helped lead the Hawks to a nice 103-99 win at home.
The second game of the season series shifted to Orlando on December 30. Nikola Vucevic finished with 27 points, while Evan Fournier put up 22 points. This still was not enough to help lead the Magic to a win. Brandon Goodwin finished with 21 points, while Alex Len had 18 points and 12 rebounds off the bench. Atlanta was able to win this one 101-93.
The Magic hosted the third and most recent game of the season series on February 10. Trae Young had 29 points and 9 assists and John Collins earned 22 points for the Hawks. Aaron Gordan, Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross all put up more than 20 points to help knock off the Hawks. Orlando finished with the 135-126 win at home.
The Magic swept the season series last season, but lost the first two games of this season’s series. Both teams are in similar positions this season as they were in last season. Orlando was able to earn a big win at home in the third game of the season series and I think they will build upon that game in this matchup.
Field Goal Shooting
Orlando has not had the best season shooting this year. The Magic have been able to make around 43.4 percent of their shots from the field, which is second to the last in the NBA. Orlando is shooting at around 33.5 percent from behind the arc, which is third worst. The Magic have made 48.9 percent of their shots inside the arc, which is second last in the league.
The Hawks have been a little bit better shooting from the field this season. Atlanta has drained around 44.7 percent of their shots from the field. The Hawks have the worst three point shooting in the NBA this season, only making 32.7 of their shots from deep. Atlanta is tenth in the NBA from inside the arc, with a shooting percentage of 52.6 percent.
These two teams have been off to poor starts when it comes to shooting this season. The Hawks have an edge in this game though when it comes to shooting. Orlando has struggled profusely when it comes to shooting, but the Magic have had a strong defense. If Orlando can shut down Atlanta as well, it could give them a good chance to earn the win.
Nikola Vucevic has had a strong showing this season, earning an average of 19 points and 11 rebounds per game throughout this season. Evan Fournier is averaging 19 points per game this season. Aaron Gordan has averaged 14.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game this season, while Terrence Ross is averaging 13.5 points. Markelle Fultz and D.J. Augustin have averaged over 10 points per game as well.
The Hawks have seen a great season from Trae Young. He is averaging 30 points and 9 assists per game so far this season. John Collins has averaged 21 points and 10.5 rebounds per game this season. Jabari Parker is averaging 15 points per game this season, while De’Andre Hunter has averaged 12.5 points per game.
Both teams have seen a solid amount of production in their lineup. Jonathan Isaac is out for the Magic, which hurts their lineup. Orlando will look to slow down Young because he is someone that can really take over a game. If the Magic can hold Young to a quieter night, it should help them pull off the win on the road.
The Hawks are coming into this final matchup of the season series, with a 2-1 series lead over Orlando. I expect the Magic to look for their defense to control the game early to let them take over. The Magic will also look to get hot from the field early. If Orlando can keep some of the Hawks top players to a slow night, I think they will be able to earn a big win.
BetOnline has the Magic listed as a -2 against the spread in this matchup. This gives a slight edge to Orlando on Wednesday night. The Magic are in the road in this game, but I think that they can knock off the Hawks. I believe that Orlando will be able to cover this spread, even if it comes down to free throws late in the game.