Orlando Magic vs. Charlotte Hornets (Jan. 25, 2021): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

The Orlando Magic's defense struggled mightily as they tried to catch up to the Charlotte Hornets in a loss Thursday. (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images)
The Orlando Magic's defense struggled mightily as they tried to catch up to the Charlotte Hornets in a loss Thursday. (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images) /

The Orlando Magic get right back on the horse after their fourth-quarter collapse Sunday as they get a rematch with the Charlotte Hornets at the Amway Center.

Charlotte Hornets (7-9) vs. Orlando Magic (7-10)


7 p.m./FOX Sports Florida




$8-$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:

Hornets 107, Magic 104

in Orlando on Jan. 24; Jan. 25 in Orlando

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

OMD Prediction

For three quarters, the Orlando Magic dominated the Charlotte Hornets as Evan Fournier said after the game. They moved the ball, got open shots and generally put the screws on the Hornets. Yes, the Hornets stayed in contact down by at most 14 points, but the Magic were cruising to a victory. Until the fourth quarter of course.

The fourth quarter proved to be a disaster. The Magic let go of the rope completely and struggled to defend and corral the Hornets defensively. They fouled a ton and could not hit shots. They got tight and pressed again.

So the question facing the Magic this game is how determined are they to return to the playoffs. How committed are they to the team’s way of playing? This is a gut-check game for the Magic. A chance against the same team that embarrassed them in the fourth quarter, this is a chance to respond. Gary Clark said the team is encouraged by its play of late. But they need to win.

Prediction. 112. 170. 104. 38

3 Keys To Watch

Repeat Performance From Deep

The biggest question facing the Orlando Magic now is whether their offense has finally found its footing (relatively). The Magic have made 17 3-pointers in each of the last two games and shot around 45-percent from deep in both those games. That is the most 3-pointers the Magic have made in a game to this point in the season.

For a team that is shooting 33.6-percent from deep (25th in the league now!), that is a huge boost to the offense. It is no surprise then the Magic have posted above-average offensive ratings the last two games — only the third time the Magic have posted an offensive rating better than the season average of 104.8 in the last nine games.

Does this stronger shooting from deep lead to an over-reliance on 3-pointers? Does the team stop moving the ball as effectively thinking the 3-pointer will save them? Either way, the Magic need this kind of consistent shooting to be competitive offensively. And it is still uncertain if this is something they can sustain.

Guarding for the Guards

The Orlando Magic could hang their hat on one thing defensively on Sunday. They essentially shut down Terry Rozier and Devonte’ Graham. At least in Graham’s case, for most of the game. The two guards combined for 22 points on 7-for-24 shooting. If the Magic play that kind of defense again, they will be in a position to win just as they were Sunday night.

Of course, it was Graham who got loose in the fourth quarter. He scored 11 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter. He made four of his seven shots in the quarter, including three 3-pointers. That shows how potent the Hornets’ offense can be. Graham woke up in the fourth quarter and suddenly the Hornets were back in the game.

It is hard to think the Magic will be able to repeat this performance against two of the best guards in the league. Rozier is averaging 18.5 points per game on a 56.6-percent effective field goal percentage. Rozier especially should be due for a bounceback game Monday night.

Bench Battle

The Orlando Magic are obviously a team that is depleted with injury at the moment. The team has been stretched thin. Aaron Gordon’s absence Sunday put Jordan Bone into the lineup (and he played really well with eight points on 3-for-5 shooting, including two 3-pointers). And those lineups and groups have not played together a ton. The Magic are still putting things together.

Undoubtedly, the Hornets won the game or got back into the game because of strong play from their bench. LaMelo Ball had his group to start the fourth quarter organized and playing effectively with Devonte’ Graham then waking up to give them offensive punch until Gordon Hayward returned.

Next. Orlando Magic must protect Amway Center. dark

The Magic scored 25 points off the bench, with Terrence Ross shooting only eight shots for the game. Since Markelle Fultz’s injury, though, the Magic are averaging just 29.8 points per game from their bench, 26th in the league. The Hornets got 35 points off the bench, with 18 coming from Miles Bridges. For a team searching for stability, the inconsistency of the second unit has been a big issue.