Radio: 580 WDBO
Orlando Magic (5-2) PG Jameer Nelson SG JJ Redick SF Matt Barnes PF Brandon Bass C Dwight Howard
Top story: No help yet for the Orlando Magic, as Vince Carter is still out with an ankle injury. The Magic are coming off a blowout loss to the Thunder, and the team would desperately like a victory before hosting LeBron James and the Cavaliers tomorrow night. The team is “one of the worst defensive teams in the league,” according to Stan Van Gundy, and that will surely be the point of emphasis moving forward.
Who you’re watching: Dwight Howard is the team’s superstar, but Jameer Nelson is supposed to be the floor general – it’s all on Jameer’s shoulders to take this team and turn it around. Nelson is known for his feathery jumper, but the Magic really need his leadership on the defensive end; especially if Howard gets in foul trouble again.
Why they’ll win: If the Magic can get back to playing lockdown defense – the attribute that defined them as a team last season – they can keep the Bobcats from scoring anywhere near enough points to keep up with them.
Charlotte Bobcats (3-3) PG Raymond Felton SG Raja Bell SF Gerald Wallace PF Boris Diaw C Tyson Chandler
Top story: The Bobcats are ranked last in points per game (85.3) and offensive efficiency (93.2), and second-to-last in pace. In the Larry Brown mold – and adapting to the personnel the Bobcats have – they look to play a slow, grind-it-out game where neither team sniffs 100 points. Adversely, the Bobcats are one of the better defensive teams in the league, led by Gerald Wallace and Raja Bell, two players known for their effort on that end of the floor.
Who you’re watching: Wallace leads the Bobcats in scoring with 14.3 points per game, and the Bobcats will need his scoring to keep up with Orlando. Boris Diaw is Charlotte’s most efficient offensive player, averaging 12.3 points on 45.6 percent shooting from the field. Wallace, comparatively, is shooting just 32.1 percent.
Why they’ll win: The Bobcats are horrible offensively, but they’re a great rebounding team that plays hard on defense. If the Bobcats come out with more energy than the Magic, a team coming off a disheartening road loss, they can run the Magic out of town just like the Thunder did.