Orlando Magic (13-31) at Cleveland Cavaliers (26-17)
We dropped last night’s game when the Washington Wizards completely no-showed against the Charlotte Hornets. Charlotte pounded the Wizards to the tune of a 133-109 final score, and we are left scratching our heads.
This Wizards team is just too talented to completely lay an egg like this against a bad team. If Washington wants to be considered seriously at all for a deep playoff run, they need to get their act together, asap. Losing on the road happens, but getting embarrassed by a downright awful team like Charlotte is just unacceptable for a team with playoff aspirations.
And hey, good on the Hornets, they probably just cost themselves a little bit better of a chance of winning the lottery by winning this one. Today we will look at two teams that can’t figure out how to win games lately as the Orlando Magic take on the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Orlando Magic take their NBA worst 13-31 record on the road tonight, as they travel to Cleveland to play a Cavaliers team that is in freefall. The Magic won in their last game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, just their second win in their last eighteen games.
The Cavs are struggling through the Isaiah Thomas experiment and have lost five out of their last six games. The Cavaliers are big -10.5-point home favorites tonight. The game total over-under is set at 227.5 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:00 PM PST from Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
To say the Isaiah Thomas era in Cleveland is off to a bad start would be quite the understatement. The Cavs bided their time waiting for the star point guard to return from injury and now that he is finally here, they might be wishing he stayed hurt. It would appear the Isaiah Thomas hasn’t figured out he is playing with the best player in the world in Lebron James just yet.
Thomas is jacking up terrible shots and couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn at this point. In their last game against their arch-rivals, the Golden State Warriors, Thomas decided to jack up 21 shots! 21! Lebron scored 32 points on very efficient 12-18 shooting, while Thomas was bad with the ball all night long and shot 8-21, including an abysmal 1-7 from three-point range. The game before for Thomas? He shot 2-15 and 0-6 from the land of the three.
Clearly, Thomas is rusty after taking months off from the game, but he needs to figure out quickly that if he shoots the ball this many times, they can’t win. This is Lebron’s team, and he needs to take a back seat and quickly.
The Miami Heat couldn’t win a title until D-Wade and Bosh took a back seat to the King. The Cavs couldn’t win with Kyrie and Love until they both let Lebron run the show. That’s how it works when you have the best player in the world on your team, you give him the damn ball. Until the Cavs figure out a way for Thomas and Lebron to coexist, I will look for as many spots as I can to fade them, even against an awful Orlando Magic team tonight.
The Orlando Magic stink. There really is no debating that. They have the worst record in the NBA and are in the midst of a multi-year rebuilding project. And while they are struggling to win games right now, they have remained competitive. So far in the New Year they are just 1-6 outright, but they are 4-2 against the spread, as they have managed to keep most of those games close.
The public absolutely loathes betting on bad teams. Double-digit spread against a terrible team like Orlando? They eat it up and back the favorites all day long. But that is what makes the public, the public. The fact of the matter is that Orlando is pretty decent at keeping games close, and the Cavs are not blowing out anyone at the moment.
The in-fighting is starting to hit a fevered pitch right now in Cleveland. Lebron James is telling the media how much harder this season is than previous years. Isiah Thomas is calling out the Cavs for not practicing at all and blaming a lack of reps for his recent struggles.
They are even floating rumors about trying to acquire Kemba Walker from the Hornets to replace Thomas. The entire roster is whispering to the media that this team isn’t good enough to win a title. When the players start fighting with themselves, you know the implosion is near. Let’s profit from it.
I have little doubt that Cleveland will win tonight. Even with as bad as they are playing and as much as they are fighting, they are just way too good of a team to lose to the Orlando Magic. But getting 10.5 points, the Magic won’t have to win, they will barely even have to keep it close to cover. They can lose by double digits, and we can still cash our tickets.
As the public usually does they will likely back Cleveland in this one. It wouldn’t surprise me to see this line move to as high as 12 points. If you like the Magic, I think you should wait this line out and see if you can sneak out an extra point or two. There isn’t much of a risk of it dropping back the other way as nobody likes backing bad teams, so you may as well wait it out.
Give me the Orlando Magic on the road getting a handful of points against an increasingly difunctional Cleveland Cavaliers team tonight.