Who: Charlotte Hornets at Orlando Magic
When: 7:00 p.m.
Where: Amway Center
TV: Fox Sports Southeast, Fox Sports Florida
The Hornets can never make it easy can they? Following a stunning loss to the Brooklyn Nets, they’ll be heading down south to take on a much better Magic team. The Hornets are still one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference right now, but their inability to put together a consistent string of wins is concerning. The Hornets had a great chance to separate themselves from the mid-tier of the east to pull themselves up with Toronto and Cleveland. One four game losing streak later and that didn’t happen, but everything started to look promising before a random loss in Brooklyn. Nothing worth panicking about, because this stuff happens during a long season, but it’s definitely signs of a team that isn’t quite playing up to their potential.
Tonight, the Hornets will have that potential put to the test against Orlando. Earlier this month Charlotte was able to run the Magic out of Charlotte by merely outscoring them. It used to be that was all it took to beat Orlando, but as the season has gone on the Magic have merely gotten peskier with every game. Aaron Gordon in particular is beginning to breakout into the player many believe he can be. He’s scored 30 points twice in December, and is shooting 38 percent from 3-point range for the month.
That said, the Hornets are still the better team with consistency on their side. The Magic’s big problem is they’re a different team every night. Some nights they grind it out in an ugly battle with a low score while others they come alive from the field with scoring, but can’t defend anything. The Magic know who they want to be, but they’re not sure how to become that. The Hornets know who they are, have a system they trust, and consistently play to that system every night. That alone gives the Hornets an advantage.
The Brooklyn loss was most likely one of those random results that take place in December. Charlotte has still won three of their last four and there’s no reason they can’t win their fourth tonight.