Magic Weekly Preview (Week 4)



MAGIC AT HAWKS



Game Time Info:
Date: Monday, Nov. 19
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Philips Arena (Atlanta, GA)
Television: FS Florida

Last Season’s Results: Atlanta’s confidence after winning a playoff series against Orlando a season prior was evident as the Hawks won all three meetings vs. the Magic last year

Feb. 10: The Magic stormed back in the fourth quarter to force overtime, but the Hawks had a bit more energy in the extra session to prevail.

Feb. 23: Both teams were somewhat sluggish considering All-Star Weekend had already begun, but Atlanta found a way to win on its home court.

April 13: A collection of injuries proved critical to the Magic as they couldn’t overcome the Hawks in the season finale.

Key Matchup: Glen Davis vs. Al Horford

This season vs. last is polar opposites for both Davis and Horford. Big Baby, first off, is now a full-time starter and one of Orlando’s primary offensive weapons this season after a year backing up Ryan Anderson. Horford, on the other hand, missed nearly all of last season with a shoulder injury but has returned to his familiar All-Star form.

Davis and Horford are also similar in their style of play. Each can effectively hit a 15-foot jumper but also bully their opponents down low.

Instant Analysis: The Magic would love to complete their three-game road trip with a win to significantly boost their confidence before returning home. The Hawks finished a West-coast trip on Friday and have had two days to rest and prepare for Orlando’s arrival.

Despite trading Joe Johnson over the summer, the Hawks remain a formidable team behind Josh Smith, Horford and an assemblage of talented backcourt players like Jeff Teague and Lou Williams. It seems every time the Magic and Hawks play, it’s a competitive back-and-forth game. It should be no different this time around.

Other Notables: The Magic and Hawks played each other in the playoffs in two consecutive seasons. Orlando swept Atlanta in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 2010, while the Hawks earned some revenge a season later by eliminating the Magic in six games in the First Round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs.

MAGIC VS. PISTONS



Game Time Info:
Date: Wednesday, Nov. 21
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Amway Center (Orlando, FL)
Television: FS Florida

Recent Results: The Magic won a thriller in the first of four meetings this season against the Pistons.

Nov. 16: J.J. Redick buried a go-ahead 3-pointer in the final minute and Glen Davis sealed Orlando’s win with a hook shot in the closing seconds.

Key Matchup: Jameer Nelson vs. Brandon Knight

Since it was his first game back after a six-game absence as he recovered from a hamstring and groin injury, it was hard to predict how Nelson would play in Detroit on Friday.

But his terrific second-half play combined with a motivational speech during a timeout catapulted the Magic past the Pistons. Detroit’s Knight has plenty of potential and his play generally dictates whether the Pistons have success or not. If Nelson can outperform his counterpart again on Wednesday, Orlando will be in a good position to win again over its familiar foes.

Instant Analysis: Wednesday’s game will be the first time the Magic play at home against an inferior Eastern Conference opponent. Up until now, Orlando has hosted two teams from the West, Denver and Phoenix (both victories), and two East powerhouses in Brooklyn and New York.

It’s imperative for the Magic to rack up as many wins as possible at Amway Center against weaker competition. Especially with several top-tier opponents coming to town like the Celtics, Spurs and Nets, it would be a huge boost for Orlando to secure wins against teams like the Pistons at home.

Other Notables: Pistons Assistant Coach Charles Klask previously spent 10 years with the Magic as a video coordinator, advance scout and scouting information manager.

MAGIC VS. CAVALIERS



Game Time Info:
Date: Friday, Nov. 23
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Amway Center (Orlando, FL)
Television: FS Florida
(All Stats as of Sunday)

Last Season’s Results: The Magic swept their three-game series with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Feb. 3, 2012: Hedo Turkoglu had 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists in the Magic’s home win.

March 23, 2012: All five starters scored in double figures as Orlando rolled past Cleveland for a 93-80 home win.

Apr. 15, 2012: Jameer Nelson scored a game-high 21 points as the Magic clinched a playoff berth with a 100-84 road victory over the Cavaliers.

Key Matchup: Jameer Nelson vs. Kyrie Irving

2012 NBA Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving is proving that his inaugural season was no fluke.

The Cavs floor general is currently averaging a team-best 24.4 points and 5.4 assists per contest.

The Magic’s Nelson has also been dangerous, notching 9.5 assists per game since returning from a groin injury.

Instant Analysis: Although the Cavaliers have struggled to earn wins this season, they still obtain some top-notch young talent.

Their young backcourt of Dion Waiters, the fourth overall selection in the 2012 NBA Draft, and Irving will surely be a challenge on Friday night and for years to come.

Other Notables: Anderson Varejao was originally selected in the second round (30th overall) of the 2004 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic.

MAGIC VS. CELTICS


Game Time Info:
Date: Sunday, Nov. 25
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Amway Center (Orlando, FL)
Television: FS Florida
(All Stats as of Sunday)

Last Season’s Results: The Magic were unable to find the key to beating the Celtics last season, going 0-3 against Boston.

Jan. 23, 2012: Glen Davis grabbed 11 rebounds off the bench against his former squad, but the Magic were out-of-sync offensively in this road loss.

Jan 26, 2012: All five starters scored in double figures, but it wasn’t enough to hold off a late Boston run.

Apr. 18, 2012: Davis had a sensational 27-point night, while going a scorching 12-for-16 from the field.

Key Matchup: Glen Davis vs. Brandon Bass

The same trade that made Davis a member of the Magic sent Bass away to the Celtics.

While both teams have benefited from the deal, it’s Orlando’s Big Baby that’s currently having a better season.

Davis is averaging 15.6 points and 8.3 rebounds per contest, compared to Bass’ 9.5 points and 5.4 boards per game.

The two power forwards will look to have impressive performances against the former squads.

Instant Analysis: Few teams in the NBA possess as much balanced talent as the Celtics.

They’ve got a premier floor general in Rajon Rondo, who’s averaging 13.3 points and 13.4 assists per game. In addition, they have a lethal go-to scorer in Paul Pierce, who’s averaging a team-high 19.9 ppg. And they also possess a dominant big man in Kevin Garnett, who’s averaging 15.1 ppg. to go along with 7.7 rebounds per contest.

The Magic will have to be on top of their game if they want to slow down the Celtics on Sunday.

Other Notables: The Celtics have three former Magic members on their squad, Darko Milicic, Courtney Lee and Bass.