The Oklahoma City Thunder will look to respond on Saturday night in Orlando after an ugly display on New Year’s Eve against the New Orleans Pelicans. The Thunder had no interest in playing basketball on New Year’s Eve and paid for it with a 113-80 loss. They head into Saturday with a record of 1-3.
OKC were 109-107 winners over the Charlotte Hornets to open the season. That was an impressive effort by the Thunder, all things considered. The Hornets are supposed to be a team trending up, while the Thunder trend way down. That’s going to be the case when your star player, in this case Paul George, is traded to sacrifice the moment for the future.
The Thunder are piling up future draft picks. Along with the George trade to the Clippers, the Thunder added another first-round pick in 2025 by taking on Al Horford’s contract from the 76ers. It’s all about the future for the Thunder, and it is looking bright in Oklahoma City. If the Thunder aren’t competing for a championship in ten or less years then something seriously went wrong with the front office.
They don’t think they’re going to have to wait on a franchise player, though. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander looks the part, but he will have to continue to improve if he wants to be the centerpiece of the organization for a long time. Gilgeous-Alexander had a breakout season of sorts as a sophomore in 2019. He scored an average of 19 points per game 3.3 assists per game. Gilgeous-Alexander has netted 19.5 points and 6.8 assists through four games.
The Magic are coming off a bad loss of their own on New Year’s Eve. With a chance to show they’re for real, the 76ers stomped them by a score of 116-92. In any event, it was their first loss of the season, and first time we’ve seen the offense out of sorts in the 2020-21 season. Prior to that loss, they won four in a row, including an impressive 113-107 win against the Heat to open the year. Head below for our free Thunder vs. Magic pick for January 2, 2021.
Oklahoma Thunder vs. Orlando Magic NBA Betting Odds:
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Orlando Magic Prediction:
The Magic have already defeated the Thunder once this season. They won by a score of 118-107 on December 29 behind a big performance from Nikola Vucevic. He scored 28 points and had 10 boards to dominate the Thunder in that outing. The Thunder don’t have much interior defense at the moment and it showed in that game. Vucevic did whatever he wanted against the weak Thunder defense. The 118-107 win was the third straight game that the Magic scored at least 118 points. They scored 130 and 120 on the Washington Wizards in back-to-back games.
Their offense ran out of gas versus the 76ers, though. They couldn’t get anything to fall, but didn’t seem to care to be playing on New Year’s Eve. I suspect that we’re going to see a much better shooting performance from the Magic on Saturday night. After nothing was working for them against the 76ers, expect the offense to click against a much weaker Thunder defense. They don’t have the personnel right now to fix what the Magic exposed the other night in their latest meeting. OKC is 17th in the league with an average of 112 points against per game.
The Thunder are coming off a poor shooting night, too. They connected for just 80 points in a 113-80 loss. It ended a streak of 100+ points scored in their first three games of the 2020-21 campaign. The Thunder netted 109 points twice and 107 in their first three outings. OKC does not have all of their pieces in place right now, they’re a raw team, but are much better than we saw against the Pelicans in their recent loss. Expect both offenses to bounce back with better efforts tonight. This game should get into the 220’s, so a look at the OVER is advised.