The Atlanta Hawks travel down to Orlando, Florida to take on the Orlando Magic at 7:00 p.m. EST in Amway Center. Both teams have had tough stretches since their last meeting a month ago, where the Hawks won 108-98 at home.
The Hawks are coming off a three game losing streak, as well as losing four games out of their last five. Their last three were particularly concerning because in each game, they had blown a double-digit lead to lose the game. The main reason for the Hawks struggles is that they have been relying too much on Trae Young and Dejounte Murray to carry them through every win. When these players struggle as they have lately, you can’t expect to win the game if your depth isn’t there to make up for it.
While the Hawks have struggled of late, the Magic have struggled all season. Starting off the season 1-7 as well as losing their last five games have brought them to an abysmal 5-16 record. A team with young talent that had slightly higher expectations have not seemed to mesh at all. Orlando hasn’t been able to score and definitely cannot score on a consistent basis.
How Atlanta Can Win:
John Collins needs to step up for the Hawks like he has in past years. This has been a year to forget for him, scoring just 12.6 points per game on less than 50% shooting. All of his numbers have been incredibly off from the Collins we used to see, and he needs to help the rest of the starters out.
Besides the starters, the Hawks’ bench depth needs to step up as well. They have the third least amount of bench points in the league and as of right now, the starters have shown that they clearly need help.
How Orlando Can Win:
For the Magic, they finally get Markelle Fultz back for his season debut, as well as Cole Anthony. These are two key pieces that should play huge roles right out of the gate and make their offense more efficient. If both Fultz and Anthony can come out of the gate looking like they were never hurt, then that will definitely help them get the win.
Prediction: Atlanta Hawks 116, Orlando Magic 111
The Magic should start to pick up their offense a bit and this will be a competitive game. However, I don’t think they are ready to make some noise just yet, and the Hawks take this one.