Charlotte Hornets look to close 2018 with a win over the Orlando Magic

Charlotte Hornets Kemba Walker (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Kemba Walker (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images) /

New Year’s Eve is upon us yet again. Can the Charlotte Hornets end the year on a high note with a win over the Orlando Magic?

Well, another year has come and gone. The Charlotte Hornets (17-18) still have work to do, however, and that begins Monday night in the Spectrum Center against the Orlando Magic (16-19). Fans are certainly hoping that when the ball drops at midnight, the Hornets are back in the win column.

These two teams have already faced off against each other once this season, with Charlotte, winning that game back on October 19th. It wasn’t a close one, either, with the final score being 120-88. Of course, holding Orlando to only six three-pointers and 38% shooting overall made it pretty easy.

Charlotte’s last game was a 126-130 road loss to the Washington Wizards. They are tied for 6th in the Eastern Conference. Orlando’s previous contest was a 109-107 win over the Detroit Pistons. They are currently 9th in the East. This is the second of four games against the Magic.

Charlotte Hornets vs Orlando Magic
6:00 p.m. EST, Monday, December 31st, 2018
Spectrum Center
Fox Sports Southeast

Injury Report:




Jonathon Simmons – Ankle (Game-Time Decision)

D.J. Augustin – Ankle (Game-Time Decision)

Timofey Mozgov – Knee (Questionable)

Things to watch for:

Fatigue could be an issue for the Magic as this is the second game of a back-to-back for them. Something interesting to note is that Charlotte has won their last 12 games against Orlando. It’s been over three years since they lost to the Magic, with that game happening on December 16, 2015.

Hopefully, the Hornets can make it 13 straight. Orlando gives up the 4th highest three-point percentage in the league. That showed in their last game against the Hornets, as Charlotte made 45% of their shots from behind the arc. Look for that to be a point of emphasis.

Keys to the game:

Defense. Although the Hornets’ offense played well against Washington, and Kemba Walker scored 47 points, their defense was abysmal, especially in the interior. They allowed the Wizards to shoot 52% from the floor along with giving up 64 points in the paint. That’s unacceptable against a team like the Wizards. If Charlotte gets lackadaisical again, they could be staring at a second straight loss.

Free throws might be at a premium in this game considering both Charlotte and Orlando rank in the top 5 in terms of fouls given up. In fact, only 34 free throws were attempted between the two teams in their last game, with Charlotte winning that battle. Still, it would be wise to attack the basket and try to draw contact.

Next. Charlotte Hornets continue to show interest in Bradley Beal. dark

The Hornets have the Magic’s number over the past few years. If they can avoid playing down to Orlando’s level and ramp up their defense, they can end the year with a crucial win. Will the Hornets begin 2019 back at .500? We’ll find out Monday night in Charlotte.