Orlando finally climbed their way to the top 8, after passing Miami Heat, who lost 2 games in a row and with that their spot in the final 16. However, with a 39-40 record, Orlando are far from guaranteed to finish the season in the top 8, as a single defeat could easily result in them falling out of the top 8. In hopes to retain their hard-fought playoff spot, Orlando Magic will host Atlanta Hawks at Amway Center, where the only option is a win.
Orlando Magic are currently sitting at the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference with a 39-40 record, which ties them with Brooklyn Nets, puts them 0.5 game in front of Miami and 0.5 game behind 7th placed Pistons. Looking back at how Orlando Magic performed in their last 5 fixtures, they hold a 3-2 record. Detroit Pistons (115:98) and Toronto Raptors (121:109) were both too strong for Orlando Magic, whereas Orlando managed to defeat Miami Heat (99:104), Indiana Pacers (116:121) and most recently New York Knicks (114:100). Despite 2 defeats in the last 5, Magic still hold an impressive 8-2 record in the last 10, which is promising for their chances to finish in the top 8, however with only 3 more rounds to go Orlando desperately needs to win this one to avoid losing their hard-fought playoffs spot.
Atlanta Hawks enter this match after a 130:122 win over Philadelphia 76ers which surprisingly enough was not the result they were looking for. As a team with 29-50 record, Hawks have no chance of even coming close to the playoffs spot, so the management expects them to tank the games just so they can get into a better draft position. Looking back at the last 5 fixtures, Atlanta Hawks lost to Portland Trail Blazers (98:118) and San Antonio Spurs (117:111), and won against New Orleans Pelicans (120:130), Milwaukee Bucks (136:135)(OT) and most recently Philadelphia 76ers (130:122).
Orlando Magic remain without Mo Bamba and Fultz, with Mozgov listed as doubtful. Atlanta Hawks on the other side won’t be able to count on Dedmon, Poythress and Spellman. Bazemore and Hueter are questionable.
On one side we have got Orlando Magic, who desperately need to win tonight just so they can secure their playoff spot and on the other side, we have Atlanta Hawks, who have been encouraged by the management to tank their game. With nothing to gain this season except a possible better draft position, Atlanta Hawks are not expected to come into this match as a huge threat to Orlando Magic. Furthermore, Orlando Magic defence was just phenomenal recently, which is why we can’t see Hawks getting any easy shots tonight, despite their impressive offensive performance against 76ers. While we talk about good defence, Hawks have improved their interior defence, which should stop Orlando enough to keep this one in under numbers. Expect this one to end in low 220s.
Prediction: Under 225.00 points
Odds: 2.00 Pinnacle