Scouting Report: Orlando Magic
One of the many scheduling quirks for the Hawks has the Orlando Magic making both annual visits to Philips Arena within a span of 17 days.
The Magic return to Atlanta after losing 104-94 on Nov. 9 in a game in which all five Hawks starters finished in double figures. The Hawks will look to move to 2-0 against Orlando, with two more coming in central Florida later this season.
Orlando has struggled, losing four straight, and they are the only Eastern Conference team without a road win this season (0-5). They’ll look to turn that around behind sharpshooting guard Arron Afflalo, who scored 21 against Atlanta in the first meeting. That’s also what he’s averaging this year thanks to 50 percent shooting from behind the three-point line, so the Hawks will have to chase him off screens and make him put the ball on the floor.
Atlanta did a nice job on big man Nikola Vucevic in game one, holding him to seven points and six rebounds (well below his season average of 15 and 10). Do that again, and they’ll win, but they’ll have to work hard to do so. He’s a big body who loves to be physical down low, so the Hawks will have to match that like they did Nov. 9.
The Magic were within striking distance late in the fourth quarter, and they have the ability to stay in games when their shooters get hot. Atlanta’s transition defense and closeouts will be key against a team averaging 101 points per game.
Orlando is giving up a lot of points away from home, so hopefully the Hawks can take advantage and get back to putting up 100+ points like they did in eight of their first nine games.
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