The Orlando Magic will look to respond in Colorado after a discouraging performance against the Utah Jazz on Saturday night. After getting pummeled by the Jazz, 137-91, the Magic will have little time to think about that loss. They’re back out on the court 24 hours later for a tough matchup against the surging Denver Nuggets. There were no positives to take from their loss against the Jazz last night.
The Jazz jumped out to a whopping 78-40 lead at halftime. They lost the second-half as well, so there wasn’t much urgency in making the final score at least respectable enough. An over 40-point loss is not respectable in the least. This was after the Magic had impressive wins over the Clippers, 103-96 OT, and Pelicans, 115-110 OT.
The Magic won as 11-point underdogs and then as 5-point underdogs before getting embarrassed in Utah last night. Were the Magic supposed to beat the Clippers and Pelicans? This is a team fully intending on tanking to give themselves a better chance in the lottery. If trading away their three best players is any indicator, that is.
Aaron Gordan, Evan Fournier, and Nikola Vucevic were all dealt at the trade deadline. Beating the Clippers and Pelicans isn’t supposed to happen. Paul George didn’t play for the Clippers, but Kawhi Leonard was active with 28 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. Going by what the Magic did last night, they seem more than content with beating the Clippers and Pelicans. There wasn’t much interest in three straight wins.
The Nuggets are coming off a 101-94 win over the Clippers on Thursday night at the Staples Center. This is a well-rested Nuggets team that is hot as well. The Nuggets are on a four-game winning streak, and have wins in five of their last six outings. Now is the point in the season where the Nuggets should get going. They head into Sunday night with a record of 30-18 and fifth in the West.
They are a half game behind the Lakers for fourth in the conference. With Lebron James and Anthony Davis on the mend, the Nuggets should be able to pass the Lakers. Then there’s the Clippers who don’t know if they’re coming or going. The Nuggets are behind the Clippers by a game, so sliding up to the third seed is more than doable. Head below for our free Magic vs. Nuggets pick on April 4, 2021.
Orlando Magic vs. Denver Nuggets NBA Betting Odds:
Magic vs. Nuggets Prediction:
Aaron Gordon will play his former team for the first time this season. He is coming off an efficient game against the Clippers, as Gordon shot 6-for-13 from the field with 14 points and 6 assists. Gordon was added to a Nuggets’ offense that was already playing solid basketball. The idea is that Gordon will put them over the top and propel them to a deep run in the playoffs. The media had this conference as a two-team race going into the season, but it’s more wide open than anyone believed it would be.
The Jazz and Suns flipped the script, while a team like the Nuggets certainly has a chance of coming out of the West as well. The Nuggets are equipped on both ends of the floor. They’re a well-rounded squad that emphasizes playing smart basketball defensively and offensively. The Nuggets are fully capable of winning low-scoring or high-scoring games. That is what makes them the most dangerous. If an opponent tries to set the pace against the Nuggets, they’re fine with playing either kind of game.
The Nuggets are third in the league with a field goal percentage of 48.8%. They’re also converting for 115.2 points per game for fourth in the NBA. It hasn’t been the offense that has been most impressive during their recent stretch, though. Their defense has been stepping up in fine fashion, with only 106.8 points allowed per game. Despite having the weapons they do on their roster, the Nuggets are confused for just an offensive team. That isn’t the case, as they are ninth in the league with 110 points against.
This is where another game could get ugly for the Magic. They stripped their starting lineup of offensive talent at the deadline, and the Magic are dealing with several injuries or illnesses. The Magic were without Michael Carter-Willians, Otto Porter Jr., Khem Birch, and Karim Mane last night. They have eight players listed on the injury report on a team that shipped out Gordon, Fournier, and Vucevic.
The Magic are 29th in the league with just 104.2 points scored per game, points mainly scored when they were in much better shape personnel wise. Through their last five outings, they’ve netted barely more than 100 points. How much do the Nuggets care tonight? If they care, the Nuggets name the score. With a couple nights rest, and the Magic on a back-to-back going into Sunday, the Nuggets should be able to run away with this game from the opening tip. A 121-103 win for the Nuggets seems reasonable.