Two of the premier big men in the NBA square off tonight in Orlando when Dwight Howard and the Magic host Kevin Love and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Orlando have not exactly been ‘magic’ in NBA picks recently.

Game time is slated for 7 PM ET from the Amway Center where the Magic are favored by -5.5 with the total at 190 on the NBA odds board.

The Wolves take a three-game losing streak - one fueled by mistakes and turnovers on offense - to Orlando to face a Magic team that might be getting its groove back. After losing four in a row, Orlando has won five of its past seven games and sits in sixth place in the East.

Dwight HowardMinnesota (13-15 SU, 15-13 ATS) blew a seven-point fourth quarter lead on Saturday, falling 100-98 to the red-hot Knicks who won their fifth straight game. Love notched his league- leading 24th double-double - finishing with 32 points and 21 rebounds. It was also his franchise record sixth 30-plus-point, 20-plus-rebound game The Wolves scored a season-low 11 points and missed 16 of their 19 shots in the fourth quarter. They also committed 23 turnovers leading to 29 New York points. Point guard Jeremy Lin continued his amazing run scoring 19 points including a clinching free throw with 4.9 seconds remaining.

Orlando (17-11 SU, 15-13 ATS) is coming off a 99-94 victory over Milwaukee on Saturday. Jason Richardson scored 28 of his season-high 31 points in the second half and made nine 3-pointers to lead the Magic. Howard, who averages 20.6 points, missed 10 of 15 shots to finish with 11 points and 14 rebounds. Hedo Turkoglu had 19 points for Orlando, which beat the Bucks for the 11th time in 13 games.

Orlando is 28-16 all-time vs. Minnesota including a 42-point Magic victory early last season.

Mano y Mano

The Love vs. Howard matchup is worth the price of admission. Howard is the league’s premier big man and continues to be the subject of trade rumors on a daily basis. He’ll become a free agent at the end of the season but there’s good chance he’ll be traded by the Magic who would at least get something—instead of nothing—if he leaves as FA.

Howard is the three-time reigning Defensive Player of the Year and had won three straight rebounding titles until Love supplanted him last season. One third of the way into this season, Howard leads the league in boards with 15.5 per game compared to Loves 13.9.

Love is a power forward to Howard’s center and the primary difference is Love’s ability to shoot from the outside. He’s fourth in the league in scoring this season (25.6 ppg) and along with Ricky Rubio has helped transform the Timberwolves into team that’s competitive on a nightly basis.

The series

Orlando has won all six matchups against the Timberwolves since Love entered the league. The big men finished with very similar stat lines in the 2010-11 contests, as Howard combined for 34 points and 25 rebounds while Love totaled 33 points and 24 boards.


Minnesota is 9-3 ATS in their last 12 road games and the road team is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 series meetings.

The Timberwolves are 6-5 SU on the road including 8-3 ATS. The Magic is 9-6 SU but 6-9 vs. the number.

Minnesota 6-1 to ‘over’ in its last seven games and the defense has been the culprit giving up least 106 points in four of those contests.

Harvey’s Take: You know what they say about tugging on Superman’s cape. That’s what Milwaukee did on Saturday and tonight Minnesota will pay. Look for a big game from Howard and a win and cover from the Magic.