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Game #73: Bobcats @ Magic Preview — Navigate the speed-bumps

Who: Orlando Magic vs Charlotte Bobcats

What: NBA Basketball – Magic Home Game

When: 7:00 PM ET

Where: Live at Amway Arena, Orlando, FL

The Matchup:

Record Offensive
Orlando 20-52 99.1 (27) 104.4 (17) 96.2 (16)
Charlotte 35-37 100.8 (23) 101.8 (9) 94.9 (21)


Charlotte: Gary Neal (OUT), Brendan Haywood (OUT), Jeffery Taylor (OUT)

Starting Lineups

Magic Bobcats
PG Jameer Nelson Kemba Walker
SG Victor Oladipo Gerald Henderson
SF Arron Afflalo Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
PF Maurice Harkless Josh McRoberts
C Nikola Vucevic Al Jefferson
6th Man Tobias Harris Gary Neal

Orlando was in full-blown tank mode, losers of nine straight games, until a win against reeling Portland on Tuesday night. Now the Bobcats come calling in what is most certainly a must-win game against a lesser opponent. Road game or not, Charlotte simply can afford to let the games vs. the cellar-dwellers go by the wayside if they want the sixth seed in the east.

  • Again, the Magic have lost nine of their last ten, and one stat that really sticks out for them during that stretch is that they’re getting to the foul line at an alarming low rate – only 17.3 (-3.6) FTA/game in the past ten. More-or-less, this says that Orlando is probably settling for a bevy of jumpers – good news for the Bobcats, who build a wall + stay connected defensively as good as any team in the league. Charlotte opponents only average 19.8 FTA/game on the season.
  • On the flip side of this free-throw discrepancy, the Bobcats haven’t been stellar as of late. Charlotte has only attempted 20.6 (-3.8) FTA/game in the past 15 games. Adding Gary Neal + the emergence of CDR definitely impact this stat, but Hendo, MKG and Kemba can’t follow in the three-trigger footsteps of the guys who are actually efficient at shooting the ball from deep – keep attacking the rim.
  • Matchup Issue: Not sure who’s going to check Tobias Harris (15.0 PPG) coming off the bench – I’d imagine that Harris would get pretty much wherever he wants against Zeller and can simply shoot over the top of CDR. It will be interesting to see how Clifford attack Harris defensively.
  • SIXTH SEED WATCH: Washington hosts Indiana tonight at 7pm, so be on the lookout for that – Charlotte can close the gap to 1/2 game tonight with a win + Wiz loss.
  • This is very likely going to be a tight game, but I like Charlotte to eek out a W tonight in Orlando simply because of the fact that I trust their defense late in games more. 103-100 Bobcats.