Brooklyn Nets vs. Orlando Magic Preview
The NBA season resumes after a four-month delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Orlando Magic and Brooklyn Nets meet up in a matchup between two teams fighting for the seventh seed in the East.
The Nets come into Friday’s matchup with a half-a-game lead but Brooklyn will be missing over seven players that were on the roster back in March. Brooklyn lost several key names including Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan, and many others and they will now attempt to remain in the playoffs despite those losses. The Nets are 30-34 on the season.
The Magic sit in the eighth and final playoff spot with a 30-35 record. They lead the ninth-place Washington Wizards by 5.5 games. Unlike the Nets, the Magic enter the Orlando bubble healthy and that should give them a big advantage over both Brooklyn and Washington.
Orlando is 2-0 this season vs Brooklyn and the two teams meet again on August 11.
Time: 2:30 PM ET
Arena: HP Field House, Orlando, FL
Channel: YES, FSFL
Nets: Jamal Crawford (GTD), Donta Hall (GTD), Rodions Kurucs (GTD)
Magic: Aaron Gordon (GTD), Jonathan Issac (GTD), Wes Iwundu (GTD)
Brooklyn Nets Starting Lineup
The Nets are one of the biggest question marks as the NBA season resumes due to the nature of their current roster. The Nets will not have Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan, Taurean Prince, and Wilson Chandler.
Brooklyn has a six-game lead on Washington and with the Wizards missing Bradley Beal that should be enough to make the playoffs and avoid a play-in series.
Before the season was stopped the Nets ranked 8th in the NBA in defensive rating but it’s hard to see them duplicating those numbers with so many newcomers.
Brooklyn will need to rely on Joe Harris, Jarrett Allen, and Caris LeVert to carry the team as they are the only three players on the roster that played over 700 minutes this season. The trio averaged over 42 points per game but the Nets will need much more production from them now.
The Nets will run their offense through LeVert who is averaging 17.7 points per game this season. He did have a 51 point performance earlier this season and with the Nets short-handed look for him to have the green light all game
The new-look Nets will have their hands full with a Magic team that ranked 10th in the NBA in defensive rating. The Nets averaged the third-most shots at the rim during the regular season but the Magic allowed the third-fewest (via Cleaning the Glass). If the Nets want to get a win they will need to shoot better than 34 percent from three which is what they were shooting as a team before the stoppage.
Orlando Magic Starting Lineup
Orlando may enter the season restart as the eighth seed in the East but they are easily the best of the three teams battling for the final two spots.
The Nets are missing several key players and the Wizards will not have Bradley Beal. Orlando has two games against the Nets among their eight seeding games as they trail the Nets by half-a-game.
Before the season stopped the Magic had found a groove as they had won three straight as well as six of their last eight. Given that the eighth seed in the East will likely be playing the Milwaukee Bucks the Magic would much prefer to avoid that first-round matchup.
The Magic have seven players who average over 10 points per game but none of them average more than 19.5. Orlando will need one of their players to step up and help an offense that ranks 24th in offensive rating and 28th in effective field goal percentage.
Orlando averages 109 points per 100 possessions (via Cleaning the Glass) but with the Nets missing key pieces they should be able to score at a higher rate.
The Magic will need a good performance from Nikola Vucevic as he has struggled this season vs Brooklyn shooting a combined 10-27 from the field and scoring 27 points combined in two games.
Nets vs Magic Fantasy Basketball Angle
Picking a player to use for daily fantasy in the Nets and Magic game is tricky. Neither team has a surefire player to go with but the most intriguing option is Brooklyn’s Caris LeVert. He will be the team’s number one option and they will likely run their offense through him. He had an impressive 51 point effort vs Boston this season and has scored over 30 points on two other occasions.
If you would are looking for someone to play from the Magic then consider Nikola Vucevic who averages a double-double with 19.5 points and 11.0 rebounds. He has struggled this season vs Brooklyn but he should have a better performance vs their new-look roster.
Nets vs Magic Betting Odds
Nets Odds: +235
Magic Odds: -290
The Magic come into Friday’s game as seven-point favorites. Given how undermanned the Nets are they should be able to cover that. Orlando is 2-0 this season vs Brooklyn and they won those two games by 2 and 12 points. With over/under being set at 212, it feels like the under is the better bet given that the Nets are likely to struggle with so many new faces. The teams combined for 228 points and 190 in their two previous meetings.
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