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Charlotte Hornets at Orlando Magic Preview

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The Hornets try to bounce back against a bad, but improved, Orlando Magic squad.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

When: 6:00 PM

Where: Amway Center

TV: Fox Sports South, Fox Sports Network, League Pass

The Charlotte Hornets are coming off a really bad loss, and considering how close the playoff standings are right now, a win tonight against the Orlando Magic is greatly needed. The Magic aren't a very good team, but they have been a lot more competitive ever since the firing of Jacque Vaughn. This is an effect that a lot of bad teams go through when their coach gets fired, but the Magic don't appear to be regressing back to the mean anytime soon.

So how do the Hornets pull off a win against a pesky Magic team? Well, they just have to not play bad and they should win. The Magic aren't good and beating them isn't exactly rocket science. They have one of the worst offenses in the NBA, and that favors the Hornets top 10 ranked defense. However, their defense has been picking it up lately and not playing like the bottom of the barrel NBA team that they've become known for.

Despite all of the Magic's problems, they're a dangerous team that the Hornets should be wary of. They're young and when they're out there giving effort, playing defense, and getting a decent offense going they can hang around with just about anybody.

One story to keep in mind while watching tonight's game is the return of Bismack Biyombo. The Hornets M.O. with injuries this season has been to bring players back slowly and I wouldn't expect that to change with Biyombo. Even so, the 10-15 minutes that he's in the game should shore up a bench unit that has struggled mightily as of late.

The Hornets should win tonight, but as with any game this season it's not a gimme. Charlotte needs to keep the Magic offense from getting anything going, and if they can do that then they should be able to cruise to a win. If not, and they let Orlando's improved defense impact the game then it could end up being a long night.