Fixture: Charlotte Hornets vs Orlando Magic - NBA Preseason Game
Date & Time: Sunday, December 20th, 2020 - 7 PM ET (Saturday, December 19th, 5:30 AM IST)
Venue: Amway Center, Orlando, Florida
Their first game had resulted in a comfortable 8 point victory for the Charlotte Hornets and both teams will be looking to end their preseason on a high.
Orlando Magic Preview
The Orlando Magic has had a stop-gap NBA preseason 2020-21, and have won two of their three games in the build-up to this matchup. Orlando Magic had an injury-ravaged 2019-20 NBA season which ended in a first round playoff exit for the second consecutive year.
This time around, the Orlando Magic will be looking to make a deeper run into the playoffs, something which is not past them considering their talented roster.
Montenegrin Center Nikola Vucevic is supported by a few good young prospects such as Markelle Fultz, Jonathan Isaac, and Mo Bamba. The quality on the roster means that the Orlando Magic has enough firepower, assuming other key players such as Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon can stay healthy this season.
Key player: Nikola Vucevic
Following up his 2019 All-Star season, Nikola Vucevic registered strong numbers with 19.6 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. Considering the uncertainty the Orlando Magic had with respect to certain positions and some crucial injuries that came at the worst possible time, the franchise had a decent season.
This time around, head coach Steve Clifford will be looking at Vucevic to lead his team to a deeper run in the playoffs. Vucevic has improved his shooting from beyond the 3-point arc, and his range of passing gives the Orlando Magic a solid platform to build on.
Orlando Magic Predicted Lineup
G Markelle Fultz, G Eric Fournier, F Dwayne Bacon, F Aaron Gordon, C Nikola Vucevic
Charlotte Hornets Preview
This season might be the first time in many years that fans expect the Charlotte Hornets to make a serious run for the playoffs. The Hornets have failed to make the playoffs for the last four seasons but have had a decent offseason with the acquisitions of LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward.
Add to that some decent young stars such as Terry Rozier and Devonte’ Graham, and the Charlotte Hornets will be cautiously optimistic in the upcoming season. Gordon Hayward, in particular, adds some much-needed playoff experience to an otherwise unseasoned roster.
Key player: Gordon Hayward
Despite having trouble with his ankles multiple times over the past few seasons, Gordon Hayward had a successful season last time around for the Boston Celtics. He averaged 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and was shooting 50 percent from the field.
Gordon Hayward is a playoff veteran that the young Charlotte Hornets roster will be expected to learn from. The franchise will be looking at Hayward to settle in quickly so that the team can mount a serious push for the playoffs. However, this has become a tad more difficult with his recent metacarpal fracture.
Charlotte Hornets Predicted Lineup
G LaMello Ball, G Devonte’ Graham, F Gordon Hayward, F PJ Washington, C Cody Zeller
Hornets vs Magic Match prediction
Until now, both teams have had a mixed preseason, with players missing because of injuries. Moreover, considering this is the final preseason game, both sides will be looking to ease their players into the regular season.
Considering the Hornets’ victory in the previous game and the fact that it came without Gordon Hayword, the Hornets may end up registering another win.
Still, the Orlando Magic are capable of putting up a decent performance, especially if Nikola Vucevic can deliver. Regardless, both teams will be looking to ensure their players are fit and healthy for the upcoming NBA season.
Where to watch Charlotte Hornets vs Orlando Magic?
As usual, fans can watch the teams’ final preseason game via the NBA League Pass. The game will also be telecasted live on the Fox Sports Southeast – Charlotte network.Published 19 Dec 2020, 03:55 IST