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Score Predictions for Charlotte Hornets vs Orlando Magic

The All Hornets staff on Sports Illustrated makes picks for tonight's game.

Schuyler Callihan:

Charlotte fell apart in the overtime loss to Boston. They had several opportunities to win the game including at the end of regulation but turnovers and missed free throws were also a big reason why the game remained close in the first place.

After taking their first L of the year, I expect this group to bounce back in a big way. As James Borrego said Monday night, this team is playing with tremendous effort and fight right now. They don't have the look of a team that is going to allow back-to-back losses to happen often. 

Orlando rookie Jalen Suggs is a very defensive-minded guard so that matchup between he and LaMelo Ball will be a fun one to watch. That said, the biggest concern for the Hornets tonight will be defending the paint. Mason Plumlee has been pushed around consistently in the first four games of the season and with P.J. Washington still dealing with a knee injury, Plumlee and Nick Richards will be tasked with slowing down Wendell Carter Jr., Mo Bamba, and Moritz Wagner.

The Magic may have the advantage inside but I just don't see them keeping pace in this one. Orlando is averaging 98.3 points per game and if that's all they muster up tonight, they could get blown out. I'll take the Hornets, 114-102.

Jack Duffy:

The Hornets are coming off of their first loss of the season after they fell to the Boston Celtics 140-129 in overtime Monday. Lamelo Ball showed out again for Charlotte, notching his second game this season with at least seven made three-pointers en route to his 25-point, nine assists, and five rebound outing.

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For their opponent Wednesday, the Orlando Magic, they are entering tonight's game on the heels of a 107-90 loss to the Miami Heat. The Magic sit with a 1-3 on the season. 

Orlando and Charlotte are two of the NBA's youngest team's with the Magic being the league's third-youngest with an average age of 24.7 while the Hornets slightly trail them at 24.8. Despite the similarity in each rosters' age, the two squads look to have two entirely different expectations for the season. The Hornets are pushing for a playoff spot in a competitive Eastern Conference while the Magic are projected to finish near the bottom of the conference. 

In terms of matchups tonight, look for LaMelo Ball battling against the young Magic guard tandem of Jalen Suggs, Cole Anthony, and RJ Hampton. I fully expect Suggs to be the primary defender on Ball which will have all draft nerds and NBA fans everywhere tuning in. 

For the Hornets tonight, the team has already ruled out P.J. Washington (R Knee Sprain) and Terry Rozier is listed as doubtful (R Ankle Sprain). 

Despite the two injuries, the play of Miles Bridges - averaging north of 25 points per game this season - and LaMelo Ball - who has continued to put together nightly highlight reels - makes tonight's game looking like a win for Charlotte. I'm taking the Hornets 116-104.

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