Scouting Report: Orlando Magic
The Hawks don’t have much time to recover after playing their fourth overtime period in three games Saturday night, as they’re in Orlando Sunday for an early evening tip against the Magic.
This is the third time these teams have played already, so they’re very familiar with one another. The glaring difference, obviously, is that Al Horford is not available to try to bang with touted Magic big man Nikola Vucevic, who had 12 points and 15 rebounds in a 109-92 Magic win at Philips Arena last month. Vucevic is an absolute monster on the glass, so whoever starts in Horford’s place tonight will have to get a body on him when shots go up. On defense, making him catch the ball as far away from the basket as possible is the best way to contain him. He doesn’t stretch a defense that much, but he does have the ability to hit a 15-footer every now and then. Still, forcing him into contested jump shots is better than allowing him to back you down.
Arron Afflalo is the team’s leading scorer, and a big reason for his improvement this season is an improved three-point jump shot. He has become a guy that you are now forced to chase off screens, which opens up the lane for him. Without DeMarre Carroll, the Hawks are going to have to play good defense against him and run him off that three point line. He made 4 of his 7 attempts in Orlando’s win Nov. 26.
The magic have four other players averaging double figures as well. Starters Glen Davis, Tobias Harris and Jameer Nelson join rookie sixth man Victor Oladipo as scorers the Hawks will have to look out for. With the exception of Nelson at times, none of them are huge three-point threats, but all of them are active offensively.
Orlando is much improved from last year, and the Hawks will have their hands full with another young, hungry team.
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