Orlando Magic at New Orleans Pelicans Preview
Tonight, the Orlando Magic (25-32) travel to New Orleans to face the Pelicans (25-32) in an inter-conference matchup. Although the teams have the exact same record, they find themselves in complete different scenarios.
The Magic, led by a core group of young talent, are currently coming off of five wins in their last six games, and they have reignited their playoff hopes after a rough midseason stretch. Led by all-star Nikola Vucevic and collection of young players, the Magic are currently only two games out of the final Eastern Conference playoff position, and they are desperate to make it back to the playoffs for the first time since 2012.
On the other hand, the Pelicans sit in 13th place in a loaded Western Conference, a distant six games out of the final playoff position. However, most of the recent news about the Pelicans has dealt with off-the-court drama instead of their on-court play. With superstar Anthony Davis back on the court, the Pelicans will look to get back on track against the Magic after going 3-7 in their last 10 games.
Time: 8:00pm ET
Arena: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA
Channel: FSFL, FSNO
Orlando Magic Starting Lineup
At the end of January, the Magic looked like a team that was destined for another lottery pick. After a loss to the Thunder on January 29th, Orlando sat at 20-31 after losing seven of their previous eight games. They were well outside of the playoff race, and they looked destined for another year of struggles. However, they have now won five of their last six games, and they now sit squarely in the playoff discussion.
A big reason for the team’s recent success has been second-year forward Jonathan Isaac. After struggling with injuries during his rookie year, Isaac has become an integral part of the Magic’s starting lineup this season. While Isaac’s career high in points is only 18, he has come close to eclipsing that number in both of the Magic’s previous games. Against the Bucks, Isaac led all Magic players with 17 points, then matched that same total against the Hawks in the next game. After a season and a half of struggles, the lanky Isaac finally seems to be finding his place in the Magic offense, and he will try to continue his success as the season continues.
Another Magic player who has been crucial to the team’s success during their recent winning stretch is Terrence Ross. Before the trade deadline, many sources believed the Magic were thinking about trading the veteran marksman to Philadelphia for guard Markelle Fultz. However, the Magic decided that Ross was an important asset to the team, and wound up trading Jonathan Simmons for Fultz instead. Ross has recently proved his worth, coming off the bench and averaging over 22 points in his last four games, and he currently has one of the hottest hands on the Magic roster.
New Orleans Pelicans Starting Lineup
The Pelicans may have 15 guys on their roster, but all the recent news has only been about one: Anthony Davis. Davis, a six time NBA all-star, has made it clear he doesn’t want to be a Pelican, but after the trade deadline passed, he is now assured of being in New Orleans for the rest of the season. While trade talks with the Lakers were happening, Davis sat out, missing nine games throughout late January and early February. However, once the trade deadline passed, the NBA reportedly threatened to fine the Pelicans if Davis continued to sit, and as a result he has been back on the court for the team’s last two games.
In Davis’s first game back, he showed his value to potential suitors by going off for 32 points against the Timberwolves. Even more impressive was the fact that Davis only took 15 shots all night, shooting an efficient 73% from the field. On the other hand, Davis had a less stellar night in the Pelicans’ most recent game against the Grizzlies. In the loss, the center played over 34 minutes, but could only manage 14 points while collecting four fouls. It will be interesting to see how Davis continues to play for his team throughout the rest of the season after he has made it clear he doesn’t want to be there.
In Davis’s absence, players such as Jrue Holiday, Julius Randle, and Jahlil Okafor have stepped up to fill his place. In particular, Okafor has relished in earning more minutes at the center position. After missing the last two games due to an ankle injury, Okafor has been removed from the injury report, and will look to continue to prove his worth against the Magic tonight.
Orlando Magic at New Orleans Pelicans Betting Odds
The Pelicans have opened up as 4.5 point favorites for tonight’s matchup in New Orleans. This season the Pelicans are 27-29 ATS, including a 13-13 record ATS when playing at home. On the other hand, the Magic are 30-26 ATS overall this season, while sporting a 15-12 record ATS on the road. The over-under for tonight’s game is currently set at 225 points. This is the first meeting between the two teams this season.
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