The Orlando Magic (14-27) have proven to be a much stronger team than Dwight Howard gave them credit for, but it hasn’t translated into wins. Tonight, the Magic get another chance to fine tune their offense as they face off against the Brooklyn Nets (26-18) at the Barclays Center.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 ET at Brooklyn, N.Y, and can be seen on NBA TV.
The NBA odds posted at 5 Dimes Sportsbook list the Nets as a 9 point betting favorite and the total for the game is 194.5.
Both teams are coming off of losses, but this is the 2nd half of a back to back for the Magic. Do the well-rested Nets have the advantage as odds makers seem to think, or should we add the dog to our NBA picks tonight?
Redick On a Tear!
J.J. Redick managed to score the Magic’s first 16 of 18 points as he hit 6 out of 7 3-point attempts. He looked to be on pace to set some big-time records. Redick did manage to tie a career high 31 points, but it wasn’t enough to lift his team above the Detroit Pistons, who came into the Amway Center and defeated the Magic 104-102.
With little time to rest, the Magic must now travel north to face an Eastern Conference playoff contender, in the Brooklyn Nets.
Individual Play Has Improved
As mentioned previously, this year’s Magic squad might not have improved in the win column, but they have definitely improved individually.
Point guard, Jameer Nelson, is turning into one of the better point guard in the NBA. He’s coming off of an 18 point, 8 assist performance against Detroit and his seasonal averages are just below that. Look for a much improved Nelson to give Deron Williams a bit of trouble at the point.
A change of scenery did the trick for Big Baby, Glen Davis. When he was with the Celtics, he was just a role player, but with the Magic he has become a major offensive force and a solid rebounder. Both Davis and Nikola Vucevic are coming off of double-doubles, and they should have success dealing with Brook Lopez, who’s a very soft center.
Brook of Brooklyn
Center, Brook Lopez, might be a Southern California guy, but he’s made a home for himself on the East Coast. Lopez was a good player when the Nets were in New Jersey, but now that they’ve moved to a more frequented arena such as the Barclays Center, his talent and demeanor are really being appreciated.
Lopez is coming off of a 21 point, 7 rebound, and 5 block effort against Houston. The one negative aspect to Lopez’s game is his inability in gathering rebounds. Thankfully for the Nets, Reggie Evans and Andray Blatche are there to help. Lopez will be tested against a much improved center in Nikola Vucevic.
The “X” Factor
Now that Deron Williams is starting to play better, it’s evident that a lot of these games rest upon the shooting touch of Joe Johnson. Johnson is a super-inconsistent player, as he can nail five 3-pointers in a row or he can almost go unnoticed. When Joe Johnson plays well, the Nets chances of winning are greatly enhanced. It’s all a matter of which “JJ” shows up tonight against the Orlando Magic?
Much like the recent play of Joe Johnson, my picks can run both hot and cold. Let’s aim to get the hot streak rolling, as I will be looking to add a play on the total to my free sports picks for tonight. The Magic have lost 5 games in a row and have been unable to stop the opposing offense. The total seems low enough and there’s enough firepower in this game for it to go OVER .
NBA Picks: Nets/Magic OVER 194.5