Orlando Magic vs. Charlotte Hornets (Jan. 24, 2021): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

Orlando Magic rookie Cole Anthony has improved throughout the preseason into his regular season debut. (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images)
Orlando Magic rookie Cole Anthony has improved throughout the preseason into his regular season debut. (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images) /

The Orlando Magic return home from their season-long road trip hoping to get back to .500 with a pair of games against a division foe seeking to make their mark.

Charlotte Hornets (6-9) vs. Orlando Magic (7-9)


7 p.m./FOX Sports Florida




$15-$402 on StubHub

2020 Season Series:

Magic 106, Hornets 83

in Charlotte on Jan. 20;

Magic 112, Hornets 100

in Charlotte on Feb. 3

2021 Season Series:

Tonight in Orlando; Jan. 25 in Orlando

PaceOff. Rtg.Def. Rtg.eFG%O.Reb.%TO%FTR

OMD Prediction

The Orlando Magic return home after a mostly frustrating 1-4 road trip. The season feels very much on the edge with the games at the Amway Center in the next few weeks likely determining which way it goes. These pair of games against the Charlotte Hornets are not “must-win” games in terms of urgency and stakes.

But they will both go a long way in determining whether the Magic have righted the ship and can make a playoff push or whether this team’s descent down the standings will begin. Orlando said it wants to protect its homecourt better. This is becoming a requirement.

The Hornets are seemingly better at every statistical category that matters so far. But the Orlando Magic seemed to have turned something of a corner while the Charlotte Hornets are still getting their footing while on a four-game losing streak and just returning from a five-day layoff waiting for the Washington Wizards to get their house in order.

Orlando should struggle some with Charlotte’s dynamic offense. But if the team can stay disciplined and take advantage of turnovers, Orlando should have the advantage overall.

105. 170. 110. 38. Prediction

3 Keys To Watch

The Turnover Game

The Orlando Magic greatly regretted their turnovers in the loss to the Indiana Pacers. They committed just 14 but they went for 25 points. Points of turnovers is what the Pacers do. The Magic had that at the top of their board and yet it was the biggest thing that led to their loss — the missed opportunities they left on there.

The Charlotte Hornets are also a team that attacks off turnovers. The Hornets score 20.3 points off turnovers per game this year, third in the league. Orlando has to get back to being a low-turnover team again, because Charlotte will score off those mistakes with the dynamic guards they have. They will try to use their length and athleticism on the wings to force them.

But Charlotte struggles on the other side of that coin too. The Hornets give up 18.8 points off turnovers, 25th in the league. So the Magic need to play strong disciplined defense and that will force the Hornets into some mistakes or even quick shots they can get out and run on.

Play with the Pass

One of the more alarming trends for the Orlando Magic this year has been how much down the team’s assists are. The Magic are averaging 21.6 assists per game this year, the second-worst mark in the league. That is to be expected considering the team is struggling so much offensively. But according to Second Spectrum, the Magic are averaging 44.6 potential assists per game. Last year, the team was averaging 47.9 potential assists per game, the fifth-most in the league.

Somehow, the Magic have gone from one of the best passing teams in the league to one of the worst. And considering the fact that even with all those passes the Magic were still pretty offensively challenged, the Magic’s offense is in a deep hole because their passing simply has not been effective enough.

The Charlotte Hornets are an energetic defense. They will try to get into passing lanes and use energy to disrupt offenses, much in the same way as the Indiana Pacers, although with less discipline about it. Orlando will have to be on point with its passing.

3-Point Problems

The biggest storyline of the season so far has been how absolutely dreadful the Orlando Magic have been shooting from beyond the arc. Even Terrence Ross is going through a major cold streak right now. And against a team like the Charlotte Hornets, the Orlando Magic will need to be able to hit from the outside.

One of the turning points for the Orlando Magic’s loss to the Indiana Pacers — and to some extent the win over the Minnesota Timberwolves — was the team’s 3-point shooting. Orlando hit 17 of 37 3-pointers in Friday’s game. That is an unusual amount and percentage for the team. Orlando is not likely to copy that again.

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The Hornets are a good 3-point shooting team too. Charlotte hits on 35.8-percent of its 3-pointers. That is right in the middle of the NBA. But the team has several threats from the outside and it is not afraid to let them fly. Winning the 3-point battle will be key.