Game On: Magic @ Hornets

Published: January 12, 2011

Matchup: Magic (25-12) @ Hornets (22-16)

Off Efficiency: Magic 105.9 (10th), Hornets 102.6 (19th)
Def Efficiency: Magic 98.9 (4th), Hornets 100.0 (6th)

Pace: Magic 93.9 (18th), Hornets 91.7 (28th)

The Orlando Magic come to New Orleans tonight for a game as important in the stands as it is on the court. With five games remaining in January, the team has to average 14,933 fans per home game in order to trigger a lease extension. Of the remaining games, there are three against fairly big name teams (Orlando, San Antonio, OKC), and each one of them needs to draw big crowds. If you haven’t bought tickets, do it now. This game is going to be a good one.

The Magic have won 10 (edit-9)straight games and quite literally on fire since the trade that brought Hedo Turkoglo and Jason Richardson into town. The two teams split their season series last year with each team winning at home. Also, both teams are defensive minded squads who play at a slow pace. This one might be a very low scoring affair.


Magic: Malik Allen is questionable with a sprained left ankle while Daniel Orton (left knee surgery) and Jason Williams (arthritis in feet) remain out indefinitely.
Hornets: none

Positional Analysis

PG: Chris Paul vs Jameer Nelson
Advantage: Hornets

Jameer Nelson remains one of the most underrated point guards in the league today, mostly because of how good everyone else has been. Don’t be fooled by his exclusion from every single best PG in the game debates, because the guy can play. His numbers aren’t phenomenal, but he gets it done. He shoots 45/41/82, and puts up 14- 6.6- 3 boards- 1 steal in about 30 a game. He’s outperformed his opposition all year long by a PER of about 1.3. He scores .93 points per possession, and gives up only .82 to his mark. Still, he’s not Chris Paul.

SG: Marco Belinelli vs Jason Richardson
Advantage: Magic

Although Marco has been playing well of late (50/56/90 shooting in his last five), Richardson is a much more complete player than Belinelli. He rebounds nearly twice as often, and scores more points at a higher efficiency.

SF: Trevor Ariza vs Hedo Turkoglu
Advantage: As has been documented many times, Ariza is having an awful season, and Hedo has been reborn in Orlando. Perhaps he should be called the Phoenix. He racked up 17 assists the other night, and is just meshing beautifully with the team. He’s a big reason they have won 10 in a row.

PF: David West vs Brandon Bass
Advantage: Hornets

David West takes this one in just about every way, even though Brandon Bass is having his best season ever as a result of increased efficiency, and an all time high in minutes played per game. That said, he’s too small and West needs to take advantage of that all night long. Bass can be coerced into making mistakes, and considering how smart West is, I think he’s going to make Bass pay when he does.

C: Emeka Okafor vs Dwight Howard
Advantage: Magic

There was a time when it wasn’t clear who would be the better player. Emeka is having one of his best years ever, but the debate has long been settled. Typically Dwight dominates Dominates DOMINATES DOMINATES Okafor, so we might be seeing a lot of Aaron Gray (who played very well against Dwight last year).

Bench: Magic: Lots of guys

Hornets: Not many

Advantage: Magic

Even though the Magic are thin up front after sending Rashard Lewis and Marcin Gortat packing, they still dominate Jason Smith and DJ Mbenga/Aaron Gray. At the other three positions, the Magic have the advantage, although I firmly believe that Jarett Jack will make believers out of us soon.

Notes From the Arena

  • Marcus has played only 24 minutes in the past five games. The Hornets are 12-8 when he plays 10 minutes or more.
  • The Hornets have the 8th best home record in the NBA (14-5)
  • Blast from the past- Aaron Gray’s big game.


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