NBA Picks: Grab Talented Young Magic Team Over Kings

Matthew Jordan

Saturday, November 21, 2015 12:21 PM GMT

Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015 12:21 PM GMT

The Sacramento Kings have started a five-game trip through the Eastern Conference with back-to-back losses and it won't be easy Saturday at Orlando, check our NBA pick here.

Kings Get Cousins Back, But What About Gay?
I previewed Sacramento's game in Miami on Thursday here at SBR and recommended giving the 8.5 points to the Kings. Alas, they covered in a 116-109 loss. What made that cover all the more surprising was that the Sacramento All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins, one of the league's 10 best players, was surprisingly suspended for the game a few hours beforehand. He had hit Atlanta's Al Horford with a forearm to the head in the Kings' loss on Wednesday. It didn't really look like much so many were caught off guard that the NBA went that route.

"It was basically a reaction. I was trying to get him off me because when I shot the shot I [got hit] in this area," Cousins said, pointing to his neck and collarbone. "I was just trying to get him off."

That suspension cost him a cool $180,000 or so. I'm sure Cousins' background played a role. He sat out last season's finale for his 16th technical foul and needed the NBA to rescind a technical foul in each of the previous two seasons to avoid an automatic suspension. He has had a few other incidents as well. Cousins is a mega-talent, averaging 27.5 points and 11.1 rebounds this season, but he's a hot head at times. The Kings are now 0-5 this season when Cousins sits out (he missed four games due to injury) and 6-33 over the past three seasons. He'll be back in the lineup Saturday.

The Kings (4-9) stayed close to the Heat thanks to a big game from Rajon Rondo, who had a season-high 18 assists along with 14 points and nine rebounds, just missing his fifth triple-double already this season. Kings forward Rudy Gay strained his left shoulder in the third quarter and did not return so he's questionable for this game. Gay is second on the team in scoring at 17.4 ppg and had 13 points and a season-high 12 rebounds vs. Miami.

Sacramento is 6-7 against the spread on NBA odds and 7-6 'over/under.'

 

Skiles Does Things His Way
The Magic really have a lot of young talent and that's why they hired Scott Skiles as their new head coach back in May. Skiles has generally gotten the best out of his players at every stop. But his intense style tends to wear on guys after three years or so. Skiles was a member of the Magic's inaugural team in 1989-90 and played five seasons in Orlando as part of his 10-year playing career. He once had an NBA-record 30-assist game with the Magic.

So far, so good as Orlando is 6-6 following Wednesday's 104-101 overtime win over Minnesota. Evan Fournier hit a 3-pointer with 3.1 seconds left in OT for the win. He finished with a team-high 26 points. Fournier is really having a nice breakout season in averaging 19.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists. Elfrid Payton added a career-high 24 points to go with seven rebounds and six assists in the win. Payton is a very similar player to Rondo in that they can do everything well but shoot the ball.

Skiles benched two of his best players Wednesday in guard Victor Oladipo, the team's best all-around player, and center Nikola Vucevic. The latter was 4-for-13 in the first half and never played again. Oladipo was 0-for-6 in the first half and only played seven meaningless minutes after intermission; Minnesota led 52-38 at the half. Oladipo was playing for the first time since  Nov. 11 due to a concussion. Skiles isn't afraid to be bold. During a win over the Raptors on Nov. 6, he subbed out all five starters simultaneously when they played without energy during the third quarter.

The Magic are 8-4 ATS on NBA picks and 6-6 O/U.

 

Last Season
On Dec. 6, 2014, in Sacramento, the Magic won 105-96 behind 27 points from Tobias Harris. Oladipo added 16 points, seven assists and five rebounds. Orlando nearly blew a 16-opint fourth-quarter lead. Darren Collison led Sacramento with 22 points. Neither Vucevic nor Cousins played in that game. On March 6 in Orlando, the Magic won 119-114. Oladipo had 32 points, 10 assists and five steals, and Channing Frye 22 points and 10 rebounds. The Magic blew an 18-point lead in that one. Vucevic missed that one as did Fournier. Gay had 39 points for the Kings and  Cousins 29 points and 12 rebounds. The Magic have won six of the last 11 meetings at home.

 

Final Analysis
Take the Magic -- there is no total as of this writing because of Gay's status. The Kings are 7-19 ATS in their past 26 following an ATS win. Orlando is 7-2 ATS in its past nine after a win. It is 5-2 ATS in its past seven vs. the West. 

NBA Pick: Magic -2.5 at 5Dimes

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":2882649, "sportsbooksIds":[1096,19,93,92,238,349], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

comment here