The Orlando Magic are making a playoff push in the Eastern Conference, and they will look to stay hot against the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday night. Orlando has won six of their last seven games and look to be a surprise contender in the East. Charlotte currently leads the Southeast Division, but the Magic are right on their tails.
The Magic have improved their record to 26-32 on the season, and trail the Hornets by just two games in the division. Orlando needs to play better at home, winning just 15 of their first 30 games at home. Charlotte comes into this game with a record of 27-29, and are clinging to a 1.5 game lead over the Miami Heat in the division. The Hornets have gone just 8-20 on the road so far this season. Orlando is -3.0 over Charlotte in this game.
All-Star Vucevic Leading Magic
The Orlando Magic knew that they had a star player in Nikola Vucevic, but he has been much better than expected this season. Vucevic is leading the Magic with 20.6 points and 12.1 rebounds per game this season and has been awarded with a trip to the All-Star Game. The Hornets don’t have a true center, and the Magic big man should have a field day in this game.
Despite the efforts of Vucevic, the Magic have really struggled to score points for much of the season. Orlando is averaging just 105.4 points per game, which is one of the worst scoring averages in the entire league. Aaron Gordon has poured in close to 16 points per game, but the Magic are still hoping to get more scoring from him. If Orlando can find a way to get more production in the second half of the season, the Magic could end up in the playoffs.
Hornets Need to Help Kemba Walker
The Hornets are in the same boat as the Magic in terms of needing more offense from their entire roster. Charlotte is scoring better than 111 points per game this season, but they are also a one-man show. Kemba Walker is averaging 25.2 points per game and will be the Hornets representative in the All-Star Game to be played in Charlotte.
The Hornets do have some very intriguing pieces on their roster, but they are still waiting for them to take the next step. Shooting guards Jeremy Lamb and Malik Monk have the ability to score points in bunches but have combined to score just over 25 points per game this season. Michael Jordan has assembled a talented and capable roster in Charlotte, but at some point, they are going to have to start winning games.
Magic Stay Hot in Win
The Magic seemed destined for the draft lottery a few weeks ago but now look like a playoff team. Vucevic keeps getting better with every game played, and they have been solid at home. They still have plenty of work to do after the All-Star Break, but they will stay hot in this game. The Hornets have been horrible on the road all season, and that trend will continue. Bet the Orlando Magic -3.0 over the Charlotte Hornets.