Charlotte Hornets vs Orlando Magic

All-Star Starter Kemba Walker leads his Charlotte Hornets against Aaron Gordon and the Orlando Magic on this Thursday, February 14th at 7:00 PM EST at Amway Center in Orlando, FL. Broadcast is available on Fox Sports Southeast - Charlotte and Fox Sports Florida; radio is available via FM 96.9 The Game.

How to Watch

Where: Amway Center in Orlando, FL

When: Thursday, February 14th at 7:00 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): Fox Sports Southeast - Charlotte and Fox Sports Florida | FM 96.9 The Game

Charlotte Hornets (Away)

Head Coach: James Borrego {All-Time 37-49 | ORL, CHA}

The Charlotte Hornets will be entering this match seventh in the Eastern Conference. It will be their last match before the All-Star break, as they sport a record of 27-29. Sub-.500 is not where the Hornets want to be, but they have plenty of breathing room in front of the Miami Heat in ninth.

The Hornets have struggled against tough competition as of late. They are 5-5 in their last ten with a +0.2 point differential. While they've taken care of lesser teams like the Hawks, Bulls, and Grizzlies, they've failed to defeat tougher competition like the Pacers and Celtics.

As the hosts of the upcoming All-Star Game the Hornets won't get a real break as they finish up their road trip. The Magic are fighting to get into the playoff picture which, being just 2.5 games behind the Hornets, ensures they be hungry to take a win from this series.

Orlando Magic (Home)

Head Coach: Steve Clifford {All-Time 221-246 | CHA, ORL}

When the Magic enter this game they will be ranked tenth in the Eastern Conference and a mere game back of the Miami Heat who occupy ninth place. With a record of 25-31, the Orlando Magic are two games back from a playoff spot and will need a strong run if they want to make the playoffs.

Over their last ten games the Orlando Magic have gone 5-5, despite a three game winning streak. More positively, the Magic responded to a four game losing streak with an impressive 5-1 run which included wins over the Bucks, Pacers, and Nets.

When the Magic face the Charlotte Hornets they will be taking on one of the leagues most prolific three-point shooting teams. The Magic are top ten in running their opponents off the arc, so limiting the Hornets' attack from range will be paramount to their success.

What's At Stake?

The Charlotte Hornets and Orlando Magic are longtime divisional rivals. In the all-time series, the Hornets lead the Magic 53-50.

A win for the Hornets would put them a game up from the Detroit Pistons who are eighth in the East.

The Orlando Magic would stay tenth in the East with a win, gaining half a game on their rivals the Miami Heat.

Questions to answer

Where do the Hornets stand?

Have the Magic hit their stride?

We are going to compare the Charlotte Hornets and the Orlando Magic in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

The Hornets Are in No Man's Land

To the benefit of the Charlotte Hornets they reside in the Eastern Conference. With a record of 27-29 they are sub-.500, but own a playoff spot.

The Hornets are in a precarious position at this point in the season. The Hornets are capable against the fodder of the NBA. They are 20-10 against sub-.500 teams, but 7-19 against teams who own a plus-.500 record.

They are lead by a talented player in Kemba Walker, but their overall roster depth is poor. They do not own a second star and their depth is average at best. With their record they would be in the bottom third of the Western Conference. It is unlikely they will make it far in the Eastern Conference playoffs and without a big trade deadline splash the Hornets seem primed for a short postseason.

The Magic seem to have hit their stride in recent history. They have impressive wins over the Indiana Pacers, Brooklyn Nets, and Milwaukee Bucks. Not only have the competition been impressive, but it has been a total team effort for the Magic in their pursuit for wins.

In the Magic's win over the East leading Milwaukee Bucks, eleven of thirteen players contributed on the scoreboard. They were also able to hold the Bucks to 17% from three-point range.

Holding the Bucks to such a poor shooting night is certainly an anomaly, combined with the Magic's defensive efforts. What's for certain is that the Magic have bought into Steve Clifford's system. With some late-season tinkering, Clifford has been able to find his optimal lineup predicated on versatile defending.

Charlotte Hornets Roster Notes

Devonte' Graham - 11 Feb 2019 - Out (Illness) - Graham was ruled OUT for Monday's (Feb 12) game.

G Tony Parker - 11 Feb 2019 - Out (Back) - Parker was ruled OUT for Monday's (Feb 11) game.

Orlando Magic Roster Notes

C Mohamed Bamba - 5 Feb 2019 - Out (Left Tibia Fracture) - The Magic announced Bamba has been diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left tibia and will be out indefinitely.

G Markelle Fultz - 29 Dec 2018 - Out (Shoulder/Wrist) - Fultz is progressing well in rehab and expects to return this season, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

C Timofey Mozgov - 4 Jan 2019 - Out (Knee) - The Magic announced that Mozgov had surgery on his right knee. There is no timetable for his return.

Head-to-Head: Cody Zeller (CHA) vs Nikola Vucevic (ORL)

Cody Zeller

Center | 7-0, 240lb (213cm, 108kg) | Indiana | Exp. 5 Years

9.5 PPG | 2.1 APG | 6.6 RPG | 0.7 SPG | 0.8 BPG | 1.3 TOV | .561 FG% | .278 3P%

Nikola Vucevic

Center | 7-0, 260lb (213cm, 117kg) | USC | Exp. 7 Years

20.5 PPG | 3.8 APG | 12.0 RPG | 0.9 SPG | 1.2 BPG | 2.0 TOV | .520 FG% | .380 3P%

Nikola Vucevic will be looking to take advantage of the Charlotte Hornets on the inside when they face off. Fifth year forward Cody Zeller will be tasked with slowing down the Montenegrin All-Star.

Cody Zeller is an excellent role player for the Charlotte Hornets. While his offensive game is nothing to get excited about, his defence and cohesion with the Hornets starting five - in particular Kemba Walker - is what makes him so valuable. Zeller is a good screen-and-roll player and has the athleticism to keep up with most players on defence. Vucevic is dangerous inside and from range, so Zeller's capable hands will be full.

Nikola Vucevic has made a name for himself by improving every single year. Averaging a career high in points and rebounds this year, Vucevic has been awarded an All-Star selection for the first time in his seven year career. While he is not the most mobile defensively, Vucevic has been unstoppable on offence. A classic post-up threat that also shoots 38% from three, if the Hornets can't stop Vucevic it'll be a long night.

Charlotte Hornets at Orlando Magic Predictions and Odds

The odds makers have the Orlando Magic favoured over the Charlotte Hornets by 3, with an over/under of 110.

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