Brooklyn Nets at Orlando Magic Preview
Tonight’s matchup features the upstart Nets (28-25) travelling to Orlando to take on the Magic (21-31) for the third time in 15 days. The two previous matchups between the teams have both been taken by the Nets, but both games were tightly contested contests. In both cases, the Magic led late before being overtaken in the final minutes, losing the two games by a combined six points. The Magic will be looking for revenge as they play on their home court tonight.
The Nets currently sit in the 6th position in the Eastern Conference, but they have their sights on the 5th seeded Pacers, who are continuing to struggle after losing superstar Victor Oladipo. While the Pacers are faltering, the Nets have gone an impressive 11-4 in 2019 so far, and they look to continue to carry their momentum into the All-Star break. On the other hand, the Magic are currently 11th in the East, four games behind the 8th seeded Heat, and they desperately need a hot streak to reenter the playoff picture.
Time: 7:00pm ET
Arena: Amway Center, Orlando, FL
Channel: YES, FSFL
Brooklyn Nets Starting Lineup
After seasons of struggles, the Nets have looked like a rejuvenated team this year under the leadership of fourth-year point guard D’Angelo Russell. Russell is averaging just shy of 20 points per game this season, and he was recently named to his first all-star team, replacing the injured Victor Oladipo. In his two previous matchups against Orlando, Russell has been an absolute nightmare for the Magic. In the first meeting, Russell dropped 40 points to lead a late comeback, and when the Magic tried to shutdown Russell in the second meeting, Russell simply dished the ball to his teammates, only coming a few rebounds short of a triple-double. If the Magic want a chance tonight, they will need to find a game plan that effectively shuts down the superstar.
While the Nets are led by Russell, they are certainly not a one-man team. Center Jarrett Allen has become an important role player for the team on both sides of the court. Allen is nearly averaging a double-double, and he has been a menace around the rim, blocking the likes of LeBron, Giannis, Harden, and Anthony Davis in the paint this season.
Reserve guard Shabazz Napier has also emerged for the resurgent Nets as Spencer Dinwiddie recovers from a right thumb injury. After only scoring in double digits three times in the entire month of December, Napier has scored at least 15 points in his last four games, including a 24 point outing in a win against the Bulls. Napier will look to continue to impress the Nets coaching staff as Dinwiddie remains out in order to earn more minutes later in the season.
Orlando Magic Starting Lineup
The Magic have officially reached a crossroads. After a strong early season start that gave the team hope of making the playoffs for the first time since 2012, the Magic have recently struggled, and they now find themselves on the outskirts of the playoff discussion.
In their last nine games, their only wins have come against the lowly Hawks and the struggling Pacers, and they have lost close games against fellow playoff hopefuls such as the Wizards and Pistons. With the trade deadline only five days away, the Magic have to decide whether to blow up their roster to acquire future assets, or if they want to keep their current squad together in hopes of ending their playoff drought.
After four straight losses, the Magic were able to take the first step in re-entering the playoff discussion by beating the Pacers on Thursday. They accomplished this by receiving massive contributions from unexpected sources.
Terrence Ross came off the bench for the Magic to lead all scorers in the game with 30 points. Ross had only scored 30 points once in his career before the game, but he used exceptional shooting to rack up big numbers against the Pacers. Ross also added three crucial steals in the fourth quarter in order to solidify the Magic’s win.
Power forward Jonathan Isaac also had a big night against the Pacers. The second-year player out of Florida State was aggressive inside, grabbing 13 rebounds while adding 13 points in the winning effort. This was only Isaac’s second double-double of his career, and he will look to carry his momentum into tonight’s game.
Brooklyn Nets at Orlando Magic Betting Odds
The Magic have opened up as two point favorites for tonight’s matchup in Orlando. However, the Nets have been fantastic ATS recently, going 5-1 ATS in their last five games and 4-0 ATS in their four most recent road games. On the other hand, the Magic have struggled ATS this season, only going 11-14 ATS this season at home. The over under for tonight’s game opened up at 218 points.
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