There are only six games on the docket in the NBA on Saturday. Even if there were more games, the majority of NBA fans would be paying attention to what’s happening in Brooklyn on Saturday night. The Orlando Magic are in town for a meeting against James Harden and the Nets.
Well, I should put an asterisk next to Harden’s name, because it is not a sure thing that he is going to play on Saturday. He is currently going through a physical, and if he passes, Steve Nash has indicated that Harden will be in the lineup. If Harden is available, he will play according to the head coach. What we do know is that the Nets will be without Kyrie Irving.
Irving has been fined $50,000 for breaking health and safety protocols, and will forfeit his salary for any missed games during the quarantine period. Early indications suggested that Irving was going to be available for Saturday, but he is officially out against the Magic after the NBA ordered he quarantines.
Irving was ready to go, but the NBA put the brakes on that idea. While the Nets have all of the talent in the world with Durant, Irving, and Harden, it means nothing if the team doesn’t work as one cohesive unit. Games are not won on paper, and chemistry plays a big role in having success.
The Nets are coming off a 116-109 win over the New York Knicks on the road Wednesday. It was their second straight win, which included an impressive 122-116 win over the Denver Nuggets at home in Brooklyn. Kevin Durant poured it on in the second-half to lead the Nets from behind. Durant scored 34 points, with 9 rebounds and 13 assists in the 122-116 victory.
If Irving and Harden work together, then the Nets are the clear team to beat in the Eastern Conference. In a conference that has been said to lack a lot of star power, suddenly the Nets are a team that people want to watch. It’s either going to work really well or be a train wreck in Brooklyn. Boom or bust.
The Magics are in Brooklyn looking to end a four-game skid following a 124-97 loss versus the Boston Celtics last night. They have fallen to 6-6 on the season after a nice start to the 2020-21 campaign. I think the Magic were playing above their heads, though. Get our free Magic vs. Nets pick on January 16, 2021 below.
Orlando Magic vs. Brooklyn Nets NBA Betting Odds:
Magic vs. Nets Prediction:
The Magic showed no interest in being in Boston on Friday night. It was part the Magic aren’t very talented going up against a talented squad in the Celtics, but the effort also wasn’t there. When you put all three things together, that’s how the Magic received a 124-97 loss. Prior to that loss, the Magic were blown out by the Rockets, 132-90, Mavericks, 112-98, Bucks, 121-99.
I should say that the effort has been poor for the Magic in their last four outings. If James Harden plays on Friday night, then the Magic just can’t catch a break. The offense has not been in good form, having netted 105.3 points per game for 28th in the NBA. In this era of the NBA, 105 points a game isn’t going to result in too many wins.
Even if Harden doesn’t get the call tonight, Durant should be able to navigate through a weak Orlando team. Opponents are shooting 48.2% from the field against the Nets in 2020-21. Durant has been excellent off his Achilles injury for the Nets. He has scored 29.4 points, 7.2 assists, and 5.8 assists per game. Along with Durant putting up terrific numbers, he’s making everyone around him better. Bruce Brown Jr. and Joe Harris certainly appreciate playing with Durant.
The Nets are 3rd in the league with 118.6 points scored per game. At home in Brooklyn, they’ve poured it on offensively for over 120 points scored a game. This is without Durant, Irving, and Harden on the floor together. Like I said, if this trio wants to play together, they’re going to run all over defenses. Expect a better effort from the Magic tonight after showing nothing in Boston last night, but it likely won’t keep this game within double digits. I’m on the Nets to win and cover.