Golden State Warriors at Orlando Magic Preview
Tonight, the Golden State Warriors (43-18) travel to Orlando to face the Magic (28-34) in an inter-conference matchup. For the Warriors, this is the third game of a four-game East Coast road trip. In the first game of the trip, the Warriors won in Charlotte, but they suffered a defeat against Miami last night. They will be looking to regain some momentum in tonight’s contest against the Magic, as they remain neck-and-neck with the Nuggets in the race for the top seed in the Western Conference.
The Magic will also look to gain some momentum after suffering a disappointing loss against the Knicks on Tuesday. Unlike the Warriors, the Magic don’t have the luxury of fighting for seeding, but instead, find themselves in a fight to secure the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. The Magic currently sit a half game behind the eighth-seeded Hornets, but Orlando also has to deal with the Heat, who are now tied with Orlando after their win against Golden State last night.
Time: 7:00pm ET
Arena: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MU
Channel: FSWIS, FSD
Golden State Warriors Starting Lineup
Since coming back from the all-star break, the Warriors have been extremely inconsistent. In their last 4 games, Golden State is 2-2, notching wins against Sacramento and Charlotte, but falling in close contests to the Rockets and Heat. Last night’s defeat in Miami was especially heartbreaking, as the Warriors clawed back from a 23 point deficit, only to have Dwayne Wade sink a three off the glass as time expired to give the Heat the win. Coming off of the emotions of last night game, the Warriors will look to regroup for tonight’s contest in Orlando.
Last night in Miami, Golden State’s superstars showed up, but they didn’t receive much help from their supporting cast. Led by a 36 point performance by Klay Thompson, the splash brothers, and Kevin Durant combined for 89 points, while the rest of the Warriors’ squad combined for less than 40 points. The play of the superstars helped the Warriors make the game close, but with Kevin Looney starting at center, they struggled early and eventually let the Heat steal the contest. Fortunately, they should be aided by the return of Demarcus Cousins tonight, as Cousins only missed last night’s game for load management purposes in the team’s first game of a back-to-back.
Cousins, a four-time all-star, made headlines by coming to Golden State this season, but he hasn’t made as big of an impact as expected so far. Sidelined for the first half of the season, Cousins made his first appearance for his new squad in mid-January. Since then, he has been on relatively limited minutes and has failed to put up numbers that match his superstar status. However, maybe his role is more valuable than the numbers suggest, as the Warriors are 10-2 in games where Cousins has played, and 0-2 in games Cousins has missed since he originally came back.
Orlando Magic Starting Lineup
Like the Warriors, the Magic have had a bag full of mixed performances since returning from the all-star break. They recorded an impressive win against the Raptors in Toronto, but that win was sandwiched between two losses to some of the worst teams in the NBA: the Bulls and Knicks. Luckily for Orlando, the Hornets and Heat have been less than spectacular, meaning they continue to be in the thick of the race for the Eastern Conference playoffs. However, they need to start winning games if they hope to pull away from their Southeast division foes.
A big key for the Magic’s success before the all-star break was the emergence of second-year forward Jonathan Isaac. Isaac was a big part of the Magic’s success in early February, where the team won seven of eight games, putting up career numbers on offense and playing tenacious defense. Unfortunately, Isaac struggled in his first game back after the break, only scoring four points in 31 minutes against the Bulls. Isaac has since improved, putting up 16 points in his two most recent games, and he will need to continue to play well if the Magic want to make the playoffs.
One recent problem for the Magic has been their lack of point guards. Already thin at the position, the Magic have also been without backup point guard Isaiah Briscoe after he suffered a concussion three games ago. Briscoe remains doubtful for tonight’s contest, which means DJ Augustin and Jerian Grant will continue to receive heavy minutes. During this recent stretch, Grant’s play has been very inconsistent, but he will need to play well tonight to match the outstanding guard play of the Warriors.
Golden State Warriors at Orlando Magic Betting Odds
The Warriors have opened up as six-point favorites for tonight’s matchup in Orlando. In the only previous matchup between the teams this season, the Warriors won by six points exactly in Oakland. The Magic are 33-28 ATS this season, while the Warriors are only 25-34 ATS, including a record of 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games. The over-under for tonight’s game has opened up at 226 points, also the exact same number the team’s combined for in their first matchup this season.