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NBA Game Preview: Charlotte Hornets at Orlando Magic – 11/24

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Game: Charlotte Hornets @ Orlando Magic 

Time: 7:00 p.m. ET 

Odds: Hornets -7.5, Magic +7.5 

Total: 218.5 

The Charlotte Hornets are on a roll having won six of their last seven games. There are wins over the Knicks, Wizards, and Warriors among those six victories. Tonight, the Hornets get Orlando, a team coming off of a 31-point loss to Milwaukee. The Magic were so bad in that game that they trailed by as many as 51 at one point. If not for a 36-point fourth quarter against Milwaukee’s bench, the Magic would have failed to score 90 points. 

It wouldn’t have been the first time the Magic failed to score at least 90. The Magic rank 26th in the NBA in scoring averaging 100.9 points per game. Orlando is a mess offensively ranking 28th in field goal percentage and near the bottom of the league in most statistical categories. They are 27th in offensive efficiency and making matters worse tonight is the absence of leading scorer Cole Anthony. 

Anthony scores 19.6 points a game to lead Orlando. He will miss tonight’s game with an ankle injury. Anthony has missed two games previously this season and in those games the Magic struggled to create much scoring. In those two games, no Orlando player had more than four assists. Anthony leads the team in assists with 5.9 per game. Without him, Orlando will have a hard time making the offense work. 

On the other end, getting the offense going will not be a problem. The Hornets rank third in the NBA in scoring averaging 112.2 points per game. They are also second in the league in three-point shooting percentage (36.9). Just once in their last ten games have the Hornets scored fewer than 104 points and that was in a 97-87 win over Washington. 

Reigning NBA Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball makes the Hornets offense go. Ball averages 7.7 assists per game and is the team’s second-leading scorer (19.8 ppg). Surprisingly, Ball is Charlotte’s leading rebounder with 8.1 per game. Miles Bridges leads the Hornets in scoring averaging 20.4 points a game. Gordon Hayward (17.6), Terry Rozier (15.9), and Kelly Oubre Jr. (13.3) are the other double-figure scorers for the Hornets. 

Charlotte is 6-1 ATS in their last seven games. In the Hornets last 20 games against Orlando, Charlotte has won 15 of them. The Hornets are 13-7 ATS in those 20 games. The Magic are not a strong team to back against the spread. In their last 20 games, Orlando is just 7-13 ATS.  

Despite the Hornets scoring capabilities, the total in the last seven Charlotte games has gone Under. The Hornets have held four of their last six opponents to 103 points or less. Orlando has failed to score more than 92 points in five of its last ten games. The Magic are last in the league in fast-break points, points off turnovers, and points in the paint. Without Anthony in the lineup, they will be challenged to break 100. It’s interesting to note that the total has gone Over in four of the last five Hornets-Magic games.