Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#501 Orlando Magic vs.
#502 Charlotte Hornets
Friday, January 14, 2022 at 7:10pm EST
Spectrum Center, Charlotte
Written by Chris King

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A pair of teams from the Southeast Division take the floor in search of a victory down in Buzz City. The Orlando Magic are on the road as they make the trip to face the Charlotte Hornets Friday night. Orlando comes in off a 112-106 road loss to Washington Wednesday night in their most recent game. Charlotte stayed hot by dropping Philadelphia 109-98 on the road Wednesday night in their previous contest. In the all-time regular-season series between the teams, the Hornets own a narrow 57-55 advantage and have taken the last three meetings. That includes a 106-99 road victory in the most recent matchup on November 24, 2021.

Orlando Magic Hoping to Earn Road Divisional Victory

Orlando battled in the nation’s capital but fell short against a Wizards team playing without Bradley Beal for their 10th straight defeat. The Magic entered Friday last in the Southeast Division, 19.5 games behind the Heat for the division lead. In the Eastern Conference playoff picture, the team was 15th, 17 games behind the Cavaliers for the final guaranteed playoff spot and 14 games behind the Celtics for the final spot in the play-in tournament field. Against Washington, Orlando gave up the game’s first nine points and never recovered as they couldn’t get closer than five after that. The Magic shot 41.4% from the field, including 11 of 35 from three-point range, and allowed Washington to shoot 52.4% in the contest. Cole Anthony led Orlando with 19 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in the loss.

The Magic enter this game 28th in the league in scoring offense as they average 101.8 points per game on the season. Orlando is 21st in the league in rebounding with 44 rebounds per contest while they are 26th in assists by dishing 22.1 dimes a night. The Magic are 22nd in the league in scoring defense by allowing 110.9 points per contest. Mo Bamba is seventh on the team with 10.1 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per contest. Franz Wagner adds 15.6 points plus 4.7 boards a night, Terrence Ross chips in 12.9 points a game, Jalen Suggs adds 12.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists a night this season. Wendell Carter Jr. (13.1 points, 10.3 rebounds) and Cole Anthony (19.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.9 assists) are important scoring options. R.J. Hampton, Gary Harris (11.7 points), Moritz Wagner, Robin Lopez and Ignas Brazdeikis all have to contribute for the Magic. Currently, the team is without Jonathan Isaac (knee), Michael Carter-Williams (ankle), E’Twaun Moore (knee) and Markelle Fultz (knee), taking a big chunk of depth out of their rotation. Orlando is 28th in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 42.4% from the field on the year. The Magic is 19th in the league in threes per game as they hit 11.8 triples a night while they are 27th in three-point shooting by hitting 32.4% from beyond the arc. Suggs broke his thumb against the 76ers on November 29 and will be reevaluated every two weeks. Bamba (toe) and Carter Jr. (hamstring) missed Wednesday’s game so keep an eye out for an update on their status for this one.

Charlotte Hornets Looking to Stay Hot

Charlotte won for the seventh time in their last nine games and snapped a 16-game slide to the 76ers by prevailing on the road Wednesday night. The Hornets improved to 23-19 on the season and are second in the Southeast Division, 3.5 games behind the Heat for the top spot. In the Eastern Conference playoff picture, the team stood seventh, one game behind Cleveland for the final guaranteed playoff spot and two games clear of 11th-place New York to remain in the playoff field. After trailing by one after the opening quarter against Philadelphia, the Hornets outscored the 76ers 30-15 in the second quarter to take a 14-point edge at the half. Charlotte didn’t let Philadelphia closer than six in the second half en route to the win. The Hornets shot 51.7% from the field, including 10 of 34 from three-point range, and held a 42-33 edge on the glass in the contest. Gordon Hayward finished with 30 points, seven assists and three steals to lead Charlotte in the victory.

On the season, the Hornets are second in the league in scoring offense with 115 points per game. Charlotte is 23rd in the league in rebounding as they collect 43.9 boards per contest and third in assists with 27.1 dimes per contest. The Hornets are 29th in scoring defense as they allow an average of 115.5 points per game. LaMelo Ball is second on the team with 19.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 7.6 assists a night this season. Gordon Hayward chips in 17.3 points plus 4.8 boards per contest while Miles Bridges contributes 19.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per contest. Kelly Oubre Jr. adds 16.6 points while Terry Rozier chips in 18.2 points per contest. Ish Smith, Mason Plumlee, P.J. Washington (10.3 points), Cody Martin and Jalen McDaniels are looked at to provide rotational depth for the Hornets. Charlotte is 10th in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 46.4% from the field as a team. The Hornets are 4th in threes per game with 14.2 per contest and 3rd in three-point field goal percentage by shooting 37.5% from beyond the arc. Oubre Jr. was placed in the protocols Monday and likely is out here.

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We’re looking at two teams heading in drastically different directions right now. Orlando has dropped 10 in a row and are the league’s worst team entering Friday’s action. Meanwhile, Charlotte has won four straight and seven of nine as they try to chase down the Heat in the Southeast Division race. The Hornets are an explosive offensive team and they showed that they can at least play reasonable defense when they feel like it in the win over Philadelphia. Factor in that the 76ers are better offensively than the Magic could hope to be at this stage and you have to think that the Hornets should cruise to the win here at home.

Prediction: Charlotte Hornets -11

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Orlando is in the bottom five when it comes to weak offensive attacks in the league this season, which is a major reason why the team has struggled. The Magic have actually seen the total go over the number in 21 of their 42 games this season despite their offensive issues, which shows that the defense has had issues as well. Orlando is 16th in the league in tempo with 98.2 possessions per game this season. This is the Magic’s third game in four nights and it’s going to be tough to slow down Charlotte’s attack. Charlotte comes into this game having seen the over post a 22-19-1 mark this season, which is the tied for the sixth-highest over percentage of the season. That’s not that surprising when you see that the team is second in scoring offense and last in scoring defense this season. The Hornets are third in the league in tempo with an average of 100.7 possessions per game as they like to run and gun against opponents. Look for the Hornets to rack up a solid point total to help push this one over the number.

Prediction: Over 224.5
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Written By Chris King , "Chris King"

Chris King has been immersed in the world of professional and collegiate sports for more than three decades. Whether it's playing pickup games or being involved in organized sports to being a fan, he's checked all the boxes. From the NFL to arena football, the NHL to the KHL, the NBA to the WNBA to college hoops, and even MLB to the KBO.  If it's out there, he's covered it and bet on it as well, as Chris has been an expert bettor in his career.  Before joining Winners and Whiners back in 2015, his work appeared around the internet and in print. He's written books for Ruckus Books about college basketball, the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, golf, and the World Cup. If you're looking for the inside track on hitting a winner, do yourself a favor and read what Chris has to say.