Thursday TNT NBA Picks: Orlando Magic at Portland Trail Blazers Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 12/9/2010
Not a great doubleheader on TNT on Thursday night with two Eastern Conference powers – Boston and Orlando – facing two below-.500 teams in the Philadelphia 76ers and the Portland Trail Blazers, respectively. The Celtics-Sixers matchup looks like a blowout, so we’ll focus on the Magic-Blazers game.
How the Teams Enter
Orlando (15-6) has followed a season-high six-game winning streak with what on the surface looks like two bad losses in Milwaukee and home to an Atlanta team the Magic have dominated of late. But look closer and you will see the Magic were severely weakened by a flu bug that was going around the team in those losses. Since the Hawks loss was back on Monday, Orlando should be back at full strength now.
Portland (10-11) has been one of the West’s disappointments so far this season, but the Blazers are on the polar opposite track of the Magic right now. Portland has followed a season-high six-game losing streak with home wins over the Clippers and Suns. After tonight the Blazers go out on a tough four-game trip.
This is the first meeting of the season between these two teams. They split last year.
Magic at Trail Blazers Story Lines
A trip to the West Coast is never easy for an East Coast team, but in Coach Stan Van Gundy's first three seasons as the team's head coach, the Magic have a 15-10 road record against West Coast teams. Orlando is 5-1 in games decided by five points or less and has won three times this season on game-winners with less than 34 seconds remaining. The Magic, who are allowing the fewest points in the league, have held opponents to fewer than 100 points 16 times and to fewer than 90 points 11 times. They are 11-0 when allowing opponents to score fewer than 90 points. Magic star center Dwight Howard has struggled in Portland over his career, averaging 12.7 points -- his lowest mark against any opponent on the road.
Portland guard Brandon Roy doesn’t have cartilage in either knee and feels pain in both constantly. And how Roy goes is pretty much how the Blazers go. He leads Portland at 18.2 points per game but has been more aggressive of late. He shot only 8-for-28 in the wins over the Clippers and Suns, but he has been attacking the basket, getting to the free throw line a combined 17 times in those games. He admits he doesn’t have the explosiveness he once had, however. Roy is in the first year of a five-year, $82.3 million extension that doesn’t look so good right now because he’s not playing at an All-Star level any more.
Blazers point guard Andre Miller is back after serving a one-game suspension for shoving the Clippers’ Blake Griffin, ending Miller's longest active games-played streak at 632.
Magic at Trail Blazers Betting Odds
Orlando is a 2.5-point favorite with the total at 186, according to NBA odds. Approximately 62 percent of the lean on the side is on the Magic. The line has moved a half-point toward the Magic since the open. The total has risen a point. Orlando is 8-13 ATS and 2-7 on the road. Portland is 10-9-2 ATS and 6-3 at home.
Magic at Trail Blazers Key Trends
The Magic are 6-0 ATS in the past six Thursday games
Portland is 1-4 ATS in its past five at home vs. a team with a winning road record
The ‘under’ is 10-4 in Orlando’s past 14 road games
The ‘over’ is 4-0 ATS in Portland’s past four as a dog
The Magic are 5-2 ATS in the past seven meetings
Magic at Trail Blazers NBA Picks
Portland remains one of the toughest places to play in the NBA, and that first game of a West Coast trip is usually very tough on a team from the East with the time change, long travel, etc. Plus, the Magic might need a game to fully get their legs back from the flu bug. Take Portland and the’ under’.
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