Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks (April 20, 2021): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

Cole Anthony certainly had his footing more in his second game despite the Orlando Magic's loss. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Cole Anthony certainly had his footing more in his second game despite the Orlando Magic's loss. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic hit the road again hoping to slow down the red-hot Atlanta Hawks and contain sharpshooter Trae Young and their 3-point weapons.

Orlando Magic (18-39) vs. Atlanta Hawks (31-26)

Time/TV: 7:30 p.m./Bally Sports Florida
Line: Hawks by 12
Tickets: No Tickets Available on StubHub
2021 Season Series: Hawks 115, Magic 112 in Orlando on March 3; Tonight in Atlanta; May 13 in Atlanta

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OMD Prediction

The Atlanta Hawks will likely look back at their historic come-from-behind victory over the Orlando Magic in early March as a turning point in their season. They were already percolating at that point after the coaching change to Nate McMillan and that win seems to have given them complete buy-in. A 15-point comeback in the final five minutes will do that. It was also a loss that probably put the final nail in the Magic’s coffin, tipping them toward a complete rebuild.

The Hawks have continued to flourish. They were on the outskirts of the playoff race that night in Orlando and now find themselves in position to keep homecourt advantage in the first round. They have done this with a beautifully composed offense that relies a lot on Trae Young but has plenty of scorers to go around. And one big man in Clint Capela to clean up all the mess. The Hawks defense has its weaknesses, but this is a team that puts a lot of stress on defenses and has become a tough out.

104. 38. 118. 125. Prediction

3 Keys To Watch

3-point defense

This was our first point before Sunday’s game against the Houston Rockets. That was coming off the heels of Paul Watson’s 20-point explosion in the Toronto Raptors’ win on Friday. Then Armani Brooks hit five 3-pointers for the Houston Rockets to help them race past the Orlando Magic in the third quarter for the win. So who is next? The Atlanta Hawks.

This team is not a great 3-point shooting team. They are 11th in the league in 3-point field goal percentage and only 16th in 3-point field goal makes per game. But still, they have Trae Young and plenty of shooters to space the floor and put pressure on defenses. Since the trade deadline, the Magic are the second-worst team in the league in 3-point field goal defense (41.3-percent allowed) and fourth-worst in makes allowed per game (14.9 per game). To say the least, this is a big weak spot in the Magic’s generally weak defense.

Battle on the boards

The Orlando Magic’s rebounding has been inconsistent, to say the least, since the trade deadline. Wendell Carter has done well to man the paint, but he has often struggled with his ability to rebound consistently. The Magic will go through stretches where they give up a ton of offensive rebounds. And this is probably the biggest weakness for Carter and the biggest area he has to improve.

The Hawks have been leaning heavily on Clint Capela to man the glass for them. And John Collins’ return will give the Hawks more size on the interior. Capela has been a machine this year averaging a league-leading 14.8 rebounds per game with 4.8 offensive rebounds per game. The Hawks as a team post a 28.8-percent offensive rebound rate, fourth in the league. Orlando is going to have to be good on the glass to have a chance here.

Chuma’s slowdown

The Orlando Magic probably expected their rookies to be inconsistent. They expected players to go through some wild swings. That is what young players do. Consistency is the goal, but it can be quite tough. The Magic just are not going to win if their rookies are not playing well. Right now, it looks like Chuma Okeke is going through a bit of a rookie wall.

Orlando Magic's offense still comes down to pace. dark. Next

Okeke has averaged 9.7 points per game and shot 22.7-percent from deep in his last six games. He has back-to-back 14-point games, but he shot a combined 11 for 27 in those games, including 4 for 10 from beyond the arc. Perhaps this is a sign Okeke is starting to come out of this lull. But the Magic need Okeke to be successful and have a chance to win.