The NBA is set up with an action packed night of basketball on Friday night. Ten games are up on the board throughout January 8. One of these games will be between the Orlando Magic and the Houston Rockets. These two teams have had opposite starts to the season and will look for a win in this one. This game will tip off at around 8:00 PM Eastern time on Friday.
The Magic have earned a record of 6-2 to open up the new season, which has them tied for second place of the Eastern Conference. Orlando won back to back games coming into this one and will look to keep it going on Friday night. If the Magic can continue to come out strong in this one, they should be able to knock off a struggling Rockets team.
Houston has put up a record of 2-4 early in this season, which has them in thirteenth place of the Western Conference. The Rockets have lost two in a row coming into this game and will try to turn it around. Houston is coming off an interesting offseason and will look to try and turn it around early in this season. I expect the Rockets to try and set the pace early in this one.
These two teams will both look to earn a big win on Friday night. The Magic have had a strong start to this season, while Houston has struggled out of the gate. The Rockets will look to turn it around in this one as they play Orlando. If Houston can come out much stronger in this game, I think they will have a chance to put away the Magic.
The Magic and the Rockets met up twice throughout last season. Orlando hosted the first game on December 13. Evan Fournier finished with 27 points, while Aaron Gordon dropped 21 points. It was not enough for the Magic though. James Harden scored 54 points for Houston. Russell Westbrook added 23 points to help the Rockets win 130-107.
The second game of the season series shifted to Houston on March 8. Russell Westbrook scored 24 points and James Harden added 23 points, but it was not enough this time. D.J. Augustin scored 24 points off the bench. Aaron Gordon finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds to help lead the Magic to a 126-106 win on the night.
These two teams split the season series last season with each team winning on the road. The Rockets needed Harden to score 54 points in their win and will need more players to step up in this one. Houston is coming off a loss to Indiana Pacers in their last game, while the Magic knocked off Cleveland Cavaliers in their last performance.
Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross have helped lead this Magic team early in the season. Vucevic has averaged 21 points and 10.5 points per game. Ross is averaging 20.5 points off the bench. Evan Fournier has averaged 15 points per game. Aaron Gordon is averaging 14 points and 7 rebounds per game to help round out this lineup.
James Harden and Christian Wood have helped lead this Rockets team this season. Harden is averaging 29.5 points and 11 assists per game. Wood has averaged 23.5 points and 10 rebounds per game. John Wall is averaging 23 points, 5 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game in his first season. Eric Gordon has averaged 19.5 points per game, while David Nwaba is averaging 10 points per game.
These two teams have been led by their stars coming into this one. Houston could be without Christian Wood in this one as he is listed as questionable. The Magic are without Markelle Fultz for the rest of the season as he tore his ACL. Both teams will need players to step up if those two are out. Orlando will look for someone to step up at the Point Guard for the rest of the season.
Field Goal Shooting
Orlando has not been great at shooting from the field so far this season. The Magic have been able to make around 44.4 percent of their shots from the field, which is 22nd in the league. Orlando is shooting 34.5 percent from behind the arc, which is 21st in the NBA. The Magic are shooting 49.1 percent in close, which is 26th in the league.
The Rockets have been shooting solidly so far this season. Houston has been able to make around 47 percent of their shots from the field, which is 11th in the NBA. The Rockets have not shot well from deep, making 32.6 percent of their shots, which is 27th in the league. Houston is shooting 58.5 percent inside the arc, which is 1st in the NBA.
Houston has been stronger from the field this season, especially inside the arc. The Magic have done a good job defending the perimeter, holding opposing teams to 32.3 percent from deep, which is 3rd in the NBA. Houston has allowed their opponents to shoot 50.7 percent from inside the arc, which is 11th in the league. I expect both teams to try and shoot well early to force their will on defense.
These two teams are coming into this one trending in opposite directions. I expect the Rockets to come out much better in this one though as they look to get back in the win column. Orlando has won back to back games against the Cavaliers and will look to keep it going. I think Houston can shoot better in this one, which should help them secure the win.
BetOnline has the Rockets listed as a -5 against the spread in this one. This gives a solid edge to Houston at home in this one. I agree with this line as the Rockets are going to come out hot in this one. If Wood can play in this one, it should help Houston spread the floor against Orlando. If the Rockets can push the pace against the Magic, I think they will take them down at home.