NBA

Weak Defense Will Prevent Hawks from Stopping Magic

The Orlando Magic continue their surprising playoff push when they host the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night.

Friday, April 5 at 7:00 PM ET

Amway Center

Coverage: NBA League Pass

These teams have met three times this season and the Magic won all the games, including a 101-91 victory in Orlando on March 17, with Nikola Vucevic scoring 17 of his 27 points in the first eight minutes of the game. He also had 20 rebounds and Aaron Gordon added 22 points and eight rebounds. The Magic made just 9 of 37 3-pointers (24.3 percent) and the Hawks were even worse, going 8-for-35 (22.9 percent) and their 18 turnovers proved costly.

The Magic have won two of their last three games and now they lead the Heat by a half-game for the last playoff spot in the East and they're just a half-game behind the Pistons for sixth place. The offense has stepped up, averaging 114.7 points in their last three contests but they're giving up 108.3 points in that span.

The Hawks beat the Joel Embiid-less Sixers 130-122 last Wednesday, behind 33 points and 12 assists from Trae Young and 25 points and eight rebounds from John Collins and they have a potent offense but they have the worst defense in the NBA, giving up 118.8 points per game and the Magic are getting production from all over their roster and they've won their last eight home games. It won't be easy for the Magic because the Hawks can trade baskets with anyone in the league but their depth and the importance of this game will push them to a fast start.

NBA Trends:

The Atlanta Hawks are:

7-19 ATS in their last 26 Friday games

1-4 ATS in the last five meetings

The Orlando Magic are:

5-1 ATS in their last six home games

7-3 ATS in their last 10 games overall

NBA Pick: Magic 1st half at Jazz Sports

Check odds here: http://bit.ly/jazzonaff

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