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Game 39: Hornets vs. Magic

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2010-11 NBA Regular Season

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22-16 vs
25-12
January 12th, 2011
New Orleans Arena
7:00 PM CST
TV: CST, NBALP 
Probable starters:
Chris Paul > Jameer Nelson
Marco Belinelli
< Jason Richardson
Trevor Ariza = Hidayet Turkoglu
David West
> Brandon Bass
Emeka Okafor < Dwight Howar

Your Pregame Moment of Zen

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The Magic Outlook

Since their deals with the Washington Wizards and Phoenix Suns, Orlando has been looking on the up. 

The Magic were playing tremendous defense even before the deal; at this point in the season, they rank as the NBA's 4th best overall defense. They're the only team in the league with a higher defensive rebounding percentage than the Hornets, and that meshes well with their excellent field goal defense. While they don't force too many turnovers, they don't put opponents on the free throw line often either.

The offensive side is where they'll continue to benefit from their recent additions. And when you think about it from simply a personnel standpoint, it makes perfect sense. They replaced one of the league's worst backup point guards, Chris Duhon, with a historically efficient player in Gilbert Arenas (though Gil hasn't exactly lit it up in Orlando so far), and Jason Richardson is an absolutely perfect fit.

Overall, Orlando may very well have thrust itself back into the Eastern Conference title chase, even if their long term flexibility remains questionable.

Subplots

  • Brandon Bass has had some injury issues of late, but he's posting a stellar season otherwise. Bass is actually a mediocre rebounder, but he's a very efficient scorer that doesn't turn the ball over often.
  • Dwight Howard is having his worst offensive season (by ORtg) since 2006-2007, and his career low 57.6% free throw percentage plays a role in that.
  • Orlando shoots more threes per possession than any team in the NBA (but you already knew that). 
  • Go Hornets.