5 Orlando Magic games for Christmas Day 2024
vs. Atlanta Hawks
Just like with the matchup with the Miami Heat, regional rivalries have lost a lot of their luster around the league. They just do not feel as important in the big picture of things. But there has still been plenty of animosity with teams iwthin the Magic's Southeast Division and teams within close proximity.
The Orlando Magic and Atlanta Hawks are teams of polar opposites.
The Hawks are seemingly all offense with the star power and magnetism of Trae Young. Even the best defensive teams cannot seem to lock him down.
The Magic are all about their defense. And they have frustrated Young throughout his career. But the Hawks' offense has given the Magic problems -- including in the Hawks' come-from-behind victory in Mexico City earlier this year. Orlando's only loss to a team with a sub-.500 record is to Atlanta this year.
The Magic know the Hawks are going to be a team that is dangerous if they fall back to the Play-In Tournament or get them in a playoff series.
This matchup is just generally fun. Orlando had a 50-point quarter against Atlanta last year and lost a close game in a late comeback in Atlanta last year. And the three remaining matchups -- including two in the coming weeks -- should be entertaining too because of this contrast in styles.
And that does not get into the allegedly buried beef between Seattle natives Dejounte Murray and Paolo Banchero -- rumors that Murray might be available on the trade market could further bury that hatchet if the Magic wanted to make a splash.
The Atlanta Hawks have lost some of their national luster since Young's incredible 2021 Playoff battles with the New York Knicks. But this is still a fun team for a national audience and a team that carries a little cache on the national stage.