Not the greatest doubleheader on TNT this Thursday night: New York Knicks at Memphis Grizzlies and Orlando Magic at Golden State Warriors. But at least I can preview a TNT game that doesn’t involve the Lakers for the first time (they will be back in next Thursday’s preview against the Heat).
This is one of those tough TNT Thursdays where at least one team in each game plays on Wednesday night, which could potentially mean a lot of uncertainty for Thursday night with potential injury, etc. So I essentially flipped a coin and it came up tails – so Magic-Warriors it is.
Magic at Warriors How the Teams Enter
I will be honest with you: I have no idea what to make of the Warriors. They had no right beating the Miami Heat on Tuesday night. The Heat, who got back Dwyane Wade after he had missed three games, led by 17 at one point. But Miami finished with 22 turnovers, missed 14 free throws and shot 2-of-17 from the field in the final period – LeBron James disappeared in that quarter and OT.
It’s not like the Warriors played well, either, finishing with 20 turnovers -- nine by Monta Ellis -- and shooting 40 percent from the field, including 21.7 percent in the third quarter. Dorell Wright, the former Heat first-round pick, blew up with 20 points (six three-pointers after having just five all season) and 10 rebounds.
The Magic, who are in Portland on Wednesday night, are in the midst of a four-game road trip.
They kicked it off with a win in Sacramento on Sunday, 104-87. The Magic did so despite relatively nothing from Dwight Howard. The all-star center, who entered the game averaging 20.3 points and 15.9 rebounds, had five points and four rebounds in 20 minutes and spent most of the first three quarters in foul trouble. He didn't get his first rebound until four minutes into the fourth and was scoreless until there was 6:35 remaining.
Magic at Warriors Betting Story Lines
Perhaps other NBA teams are regretting not having signed diminutive Warriors guard Nate Robinson, who was waived by the Thunder a few weeks ago. He had several key shots on Tuesday and finished with a team-high 24 points, including 17 in the fourth and overtime combined.
Robinson is getting a ton of playing time because Warriors star guard Stephen Curry is out with a chronic ankle problem and he probably misses at least another week. Curry sprained that right ankle last week in San Antonio -- his third sprain in a 16-day span and at least the seventh he's had in the ankle in the last 15 months.
The good news is he apparently won’t need surgery after having it during the offseason to repair ligament damage in the ankle.
Curry obviously won’t play in this game and the Warriors could be severely shorthanded. Center Kwame Brown left Tuesday’s game midway through the fourth quarter with a possibly dislocated right shoulder. His status becomes vital because starting center Andris Biedrins (sprained right ankle/toe) was absent from the Warriors' lineup for a third consecutive game.
Thus, Ekpe Udoh could be the starting center for Golden State until the other two are healthy. Udoh had zero points against Miami, but he did have three blocks in 21 minutes. Obviously not having center depth will be an issue against the Magic’s Howard. By the way, don’t rule out the Warriors attempting to trade for Howard even though they aren’t on his approved “list.”
This will be the only meeting of the season between these teams. Last season they split, with each winning at home. Orlando won, 110-90, last January behind 22 points and 17 boards from Howard. The Warriors won in March, 123-120, in overtime behind 39 points from Ellis. Golden State had a franchise-record 21 3-pointers in that one and rallied from a 21-point deficit. Curry had 22 points and 12 assists for Golden State.
Magic at Warriors Betting Odds and Key Trends
The Magic opened as 5.5-point favorites with the total at 187 on NBA odds. The Magic are 5-4 ATS this season and 2-2 ATS on road (all Orlando trends entering Wednesday’s game). The Warriors are 5-4 ATS overall as well and 3-3 ATS at home. ‘Over/under’ records: ORL 2-7, GS 3-6.
Orlando is 4-1 ATS in past five with no days’ rest. The Warriors are 0-4 ATS in past four Thursday games. But they are 5-2 ATS in past seven vs. East overall. The under is 4-0 in the Magic’s past four in second of a back-to-back. The under is 4-0 in the Warriors’ past four on Thursday.
The home team has covered the past five in this series.
NBA Picks for TNT Thursday: Magic at Warriors Betting Predictions
Entering Wednesday, all six of Orlando’s wins have come against teams that have losing records. Golden State is a giant killer at home: The Warriors’ three wins have come against East powers Miami, Chicago and New York. So guess that equals each other out?
Needless to say, always hold off betting on a game like this until after the previous night’s game is concluded to see if a key injury pops up. Whichever team dictates the style of play should win. Orlando is one of the worst fast-break teams in the league while the Warriors will want to get in a track meet to make up for their lack of size inside.
I think the Magic will be worn out by the Blazers on Wednesday night and am a tad surprised they are 5.5-point favorites (I would have guessed maybe 2.5). Take Golden State and the under.
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