Orlando Magic at Brooklyn Nets -8 (Total: 191)
The Magic were one of the first week surprises in the NBA, racing off to a 2-0 start and sharing the ball so deftly it made some Magic fans begin to wonder if maybe things wouldn’t be so bad after all… Um, they are going to be that bad. And maybe worse. My pick for one of the three worst teams in the NBA (it should be a fierce battle with Detroit and Charlotte), has crashed back to earth and has lost their last three games by a combined total of 70 points, including their most recent outing, a 106-67 thrashing by these very same Brooklyn Nets.
So why would anyone think tonight would be markedly different?? Apparently Vegas, who are never prisoners of the moment, like the average fan is, are willing to look past the 39-point pasting and believe the Magic will conjure up a better effort tonight on the road.
I don’t see it happening.
The Magic brass and fans might not have been wild about having Brooke Lopez in the stead of Dwight Howard (agreed, not a fair head-to-head trade), but you can bet they wish they had him tonight. Lopez had his way in the last matchup Friday, combining with Andre Blatche to torch the Magic interior defenders for 29 points and 19 rebounds. I expect them to control the inside again today and push the Nets to a pretty comfortable victory.
Here is a good recipe for disaster: The Magic allow a league high 48% from the floor, while scoring a league-low 90.8 points per game. That’s a good way to go 22-60 in an 82 game season. The possible return of point guard Jameer Nelson could help a bit, but it still not certain he will return today. Even if his does, his replacement, E’Twaun Moore, has not been the problem. In fact, Moore has been one of the lone bright spots, averaging 15 ppg and making 10 of 16 three point attempts.
The Magic will also still be without Hedo Turkoglu and Al Harrington, depleting an already less-than-stellar roster. The Nets will likely be missing power forward Gerald Wallace tonight, but they have a much deeper offense to rely on in his absence.
To me, here is the simplest way to look at tonight’s game: The Magic lost by 39 two days ago… at HOME. Now they go back to the Barclays Center where the starting backcourt matchup is E’Twaun Morre and JJ Reddick versus Deron Williams and Joe Johnson.
Give me the Nets laying the eight.
Free Pick: Brooklyn Nets -8