050621_magic_preview

Hornets Look to Regroup Against Magic in Back-to-Back Finale

  • Charlotte Hornets (32-34) vs. Orlando Magic (21-45)
  • Friday, May 7, 2021 at 8 PM EST (Spectrum Center)
  • Bally Sports and WFNZ 610 AM or 102.5 FM
  • Last time out: Magic won, 117-108 on Jan. 25, 2021 in Orlando, FL 

Hornets’ 3-PT Shooting Not Enough in Loss to Bulls 

Struggling to get anything to drop around the basket, Charlotte hung with Chicago midway into the third quarter last night thanks to a 16-of-35 clip from three. Unfortunately, the solid showing from deep against one of the NBA’s premier three-point defenses was all for naught as the Hornets opened their five-game homestand with a 120-99 blowout loss. The hosts went an ice-cold 7-of-18 from the line, got outrebounded by 11 boards and allowed the Bulls to score 19 second-chance points, all areas that need to be addressed in tonight’s contest.

Magic Rolling with Youth, Development Since Trade Deadline 

Orlando’s lineup will look far different than the one the Hornets saw back in January following a flurry of deals that sent out All-Star Nikola Vučević, Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier, and brought in Wendell Carter Jr., RJ Hampton, Gary Harris and Mo Wagner. The Magic have managed to go 6-16 since the trade deadline despite posting the NBA’s second-worst net rating (-12.1) and bottom-four rankings in both offensive (103.7) and defensive rating (115.8) during this stretch. Newcomers Hampton, Harris and Wagner should get plenty of run in this one, in addition to Magic mainstays Cole Anthony, Mo Bamba and Dwayne Bacon.

Orlando Turnovers Continue to be Few and Far Between

One area that the Magic have continued to shine in since overhauling the roster in March is ball security, something that has become expected of Steve Clifford-coached teams throughout the years. Orlando currently sits third in turnover percentage (12.0%) since March 26, while allowing the eighth-fewest points off giveaways (14.9). The Hornets scored 32 total points off turnovers and 30 on the fast-break across their first two meetings with the Magic and should continue to push the pace in transition with whatever takeaways they can muster.   

Preview Quote

“Size and physicality. I think some of that was [Chicago] being bigger than us. They were probably some opportunities where we could have been better on the board. We just didn’t have enough down there in the interior to get it done. We’ve battled against bigger teams before. For whatever reason, they came up with multiple offensive rebounds tonight – big ones, too. We have to clean that up for tomorrow night.” – Hornets Head Coach James Borrego

Final Thoughts  

The homestand opener certainly didn’t go as planned for the Hornets as their smaller lineups were constantly outmuscled and pushed around by a big, physical Bulls rotation. With just six regular season games to go, Charlotte needs to put yesterday’s tough loss in the rearview mirror as quickly as possible and focus on a youthful Magic squad that still has plenty to prove tonight at Spectrum Center. 

Additional Notes

C Wendell Carter Jr. (left eye abrasion), G Michael Carter-Williams (left ankle sprain), F James Ennis III (right calf soreness), F Chuma Okeke (left ankle sprain), F Otto Porter Jr. (left foot pain) and G Terrence Ross (back spasms) were all out for tonight’s game… G Devonte’ Graham (right knee discomfort) has missed the Hornets’ last two outings… Charlotte has gone 1-5 against the Magic after winning 13 straight head-to-head meetings from Jan. 22, 2016 – Dec. 31, 2018… The Hornets have also dropped three straight home games to Orlando. 

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