What: Charlotte Hornets (22-33) vs. Orlando Magic (18-38)
When: 7:00 p.m. EST
Where: Amway Center; Orlando, FLA.
How to watch: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
There are many words to describe the Charlotte Hornets 123-103 loss to the Toronto Raptors; let’s just say the were completely obliterated. The Hornets opened the game on a 10-0 run, but after that it was all Toronto, leading to a chorus of boos throughout the afternoon. The loss moves the Hornets even further back in the race for the NBA playoffs. Speaking of which, that brings me to the Hornets game tonight: a road tilt against the struggling Orlando Magic.
Charlotte comes in having won the first two games against Orlando, both at the Spectrum Center. The Magic haven’t made the playoffs since Dwight Howard’s final season with the team. Tonight will be a homecoming of sorts for Howard, as he has performed well against his former teams this season.
Kemba Walker continues to play at an All-Star level, averaging just under 23 points per game. The aforementioned Howard has chipped in all season doing what he’s been expected to do and Jeremy Lamb has been consistent off the bench. The glaring issues have been with the play of Nicolas Batum and the rest of the Hornets bench sans Lamb and Treveon Graham.
The Magic come into this game with one of the worst records in the NBA. They made a move at the trade deadline, trading Elfrid Payton to the Suns for a future second round pick. In addition to that, they’ve been hit hard by the injury bug as their top pick from the last NBA Johnathan Issac, along with Terrence Ross and Nikola Vucevic, have all missed a lot of action. Most recently, Aaron Gordon sustained a hip injury and he is without a timetable for return.
The Hornets have to get this game before the break. It could be a confidence booster going forward. However, if they can’t win then the very slim hope for the playoffs drop to about zero. Another thing to look for is the potential Hornets debut of new acquisition Willy Hernangomez. He was acquired from the Knicks in a deal that sent Johnny O’Bryant to New York. We will see if the Hornets can right the ship starting tonight.