The Orlando Magic appear likely to have all of their guards available to play when they host the Atlanta Hawks tonight.
Arron Afflalo, who rolled his left ankle during Friday’s win over the Detroit Pistons, walked through the Magic’s shootaround this morning at Amway Center.
“He hasn’t been cleared 100 percent, but I think it’s a positive sign that he did walk through shootaround,” coach Jacque Vaughn said a short while ago.
Reserve guard E’Twaun Moore, who missed the Magic’s last three games because of a bruised right thigh, has been cleared to play tonight.
“I’m very happy,” Moore said. “Seeing my team go out there and compete, I definitely missed that and being a part of that. So, it’s fun to get back.”
Afflalo is the Magic’s leading scorer, averaging 22.0 points per game. He’s also the team’s best 3-point shooter; he’s made 48.1 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.
The Magic (9-20) are better-rested than the Hawks (17-13).
On Saturday night, the Hawks beat the Charlotte Bobcats 118-116 in overtime in Atlanta. The Hawks won without two-time All-Star big man Al Horford, who is out indefinitely because of a torn pectoral muscle.
Vaughn watched that game intent on seeing how the Hawks and their coach, Vaughn’s friend and former colleague Mike Budenholzer, would adjust without Horford.
The Hawks went 16 for 39 from 3-point range and scored 101 points in regulation against the Bobcats’ highly regarded defense.
“That’s because they have a system that they were able to play in,” Vaughn said of the Hawks. “They had guys ready to step up and step in.”
On Nov. 26, the Magic beat the Hawks 109-92 at Philips Arena. Orlando’s victory snapped an 11-game, losing streak to Atlanta in the regular season.
One of the reasons for the Magic’s success that night was the defense that rookie Victor Oladipo played against the Hawks’ starting point guard, Jeff Teague.
Vaughn regards Teague as one of the NBA’s most improved players, and Teague will enter tonight’s game averaging 16.9 points and 8.3 assists.
Vaughn didn’t disclose his X’s-and-O’s plans for tonight, but it seems highly likely that Oladipo will match up defensively against Teague for at least part of the game.
Teague is 6-feet-2, and his height, along with his quickness, creates problems for opponents.
“I think you see that overall as a trend in this league: very explosive, taller, more athletic guys running the point position,” Vaughn said. “We always talk about defensively being able to stay in front of guys and guard your position.
“Vic gives us an opportunity because of his size, length and athleticism to guard multiple people. You’re always looking for an advantage over the course of the game, and at times, he gives us that advantage because he has a defensive mindset and a defensive front that he puts up for us.”
Josh Robbins covers the Orlando Magic and the NBA for the Orlando Sentinel. You can reach him via e-mail at email@example.com and connect with him on Facebook at facebook.com/JoshuaBRobbins. Follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun