When: 7:00 pm EDT
Where: Amway Center; Orlando, Fla.
How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
Despite losing their first game of the season against Boston on Monday, the Charlotte Hornets still carry a good bit of momentum into the front end of a two-game Florida road trip.
Orlando comes off of a Monday night loss to Miami, one game after they collected their first win of the season against New York at Madison Square Garden. Former Tar Heel guard Cole Anthony led the way with 29 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists on 5-9 from 3-point land as the Magic outscored the Knicks 36-24 in the fourth to earn the victory.
The Magic are the third-youngest team in the NBA with an average age of 24.7 years — Charlotte is fourth-youngest at 24.8 — and their youth features in their rotation. Rookie Franz Wagner leads the team with 33 minutes per contest so far this season, with Anthony, Mo Bamba, Jalen Suggs and Wendell Carter Jr. rounding out the top-five minutes-getters.
Bamba, a fixture in “what center should the Hornets trade for” discussions, has been really good; 13.5 points, 8 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.8 blocks on 38.9 percent from deep (4.5 3PA per game) are all career-highs.
Michael Carter-Williams (left ankle), Markelle Fultz (knee) and Jonathan Isaac (knee) have yet to play this season and E’Twaun Moore (knee) and Chuma Okeke (hip) will join them on the injury report against the Hornets. Gary Harris participated in his first game of the season in Orlando’s loss to the Heat, going 1-3 from the floor with two assists in 19 minutes.
In their first true rebuilding year, the Magic aren’t expected to compete for a playoff spot. A game against a fellow young squad, albeit one that’s at an earlier stage in development, provides a solid test of mettle for the Hornets. Charlotte may have lost to the Celtics, but it was a back-and-forth game that ended in overtime — hardly a momentum-killer. The Hornets should still be feeling pretty good about themselves heading into the Amway Center.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Terry Rozier (right ankle sprain) is doubtful for the game against the Magic and PJ Washington (right knee sprain) is out. Expect an update from Hornets PR at some point Wednesday afternoon to confirm Rozier’s status.
LaMelo Ball, Miles Bridges, and Gordon Hayward have all had the spotlight at times, and the Hornets are second in the NBA in offensive rating (114.1) so far. They’re second in the league with a 2.17 assist-to-turnover ratio. New additions Kelly Oubre Jr., Mason Plumlee and Ish Smith have given the team quality production. Small sample sizes have to be taken with a grain of salt, but that’s a solid foundation to build off of after the first week of the season.