Game On: Hornets @ Magic

Published: December 25, 2008

The house is full of presents and family, my kids are on almost continuous sugar highs, and the Hornets play Orlando as the opening act of the NBA’s giant Christmas Basketball Extravaganza.  Hopefully the kids won’t take too long  unwrapping their presents so I can wander off to watch the game.

Since this is the Holidays, and we’re all busy, I’ll keep this game preview short and sweet and combine it with the Gameday thread:

The Orlando Magic are an impressive 22-6 and continue to be the forgotten team out east.  Some will point to an easy early schedule, but regardless of schedule, being on a five game winning streak with that overall record is something to respect.

Night in and Night out, Dwight Howard will give Orlando a double double and some pretty tough interior defense.  His range doesn’t extend far outside Tyson Chandler’s, but his strength and agility allows him to get right to the basket more often, resulting in about 20 points a game.  He’s a monster.  Jameer Nelson, the magic point guard, is on a hot streak, averaging 24 points per game on 60% shooting from the field over the last five.  He can be stopped, but Paul will need to be tracking him tightly and not roving for steals or he’ll put a hurting on the Hornets.

To round out the Magic offensive weapons are their pair of athletic forwards.  Turkoglu is the more skilled of the pair, being a good shooter, skilled driver, and able passer.  Lewis is probably more athletic, but has less ball handling skills and is more of a spot up shooter.

Behind them are mostly defensive specialists who can shoot some like Mickael Pietrus and Keith Bogans.

To take this game, Chandler will have to make Howard work for position, Butler is going to need to stick like glue to Turkoglu, and Paul is going to have to focus on Nelson – something he usually doesn’t have to do since most of the league’s point guards aren’t offensive juggernauts.  His ability to slow Nelson will be key to the game.

The Magic think this game is a big one – they are handing out Dwight Howard Superman shirts to every player.  Here’s a Photo of the arena posted over at Third Quarter Collapse.

Enjoy your X-mas basketball, Happy Holidays to you all, and thanks to all of you for coming around and helping make this blog what it is.

Tip off is 11:00 AM Central time.

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