NBA Betting Preview: Golden State Warriors at Orlando MagicGolden State Warriors at Orlando Magic
Tip Off: 7 PM EST, Friday, Dec 14
Spread: GSW -4.5
Betting Odds from Bovada
Golden State has been one of the surprise teams of the season, but to those familiar with Mark Jackson’s knowledge of the game and the talent on the roster, it really shouldn’t be much of a surprise. And perhaps the least surprising part of all of it is that Andrew Bogut has been hurt…and that it hasn’t mattered.
Golden State also lost swingman Brandon Rush for the year, but with Harrison Barnes quickly learning the ropes, they haven’t missed a beat. At 15-7, the Warriors are the 5th best team in the Western Conference right now, and there’s no real reason to expect them to slow down.
The Warriors have become a better defensive team (18th in points allowed) and are still a torrent offensively, ranking 11th in the league in points per game (99.5). The best part of their emergence though has been their dominance on the boards.
The Warriors are the fourth best rebounding team with 45.2 rebounds per game, and again, this has been done without Andrew Bogut. Other than David Lee’s 11.3 rebounds per game, it’s been done by committee. Carl Landry chips in another 6.7, but no other Warrior averages more than five per game.
Their scoring attack has been balanced, too. Stephen Curry has emerged as the de facto “do everything” man in the absence of the traded Monta Ellis. Curry is putting up 19.5 points per game, but is joined by five other Warriors players averaging nine points or better.
The aforementioned Lee also puts up 19 points per game on 51 percent shooting, while Klay Thompson has found the range after a tough start, too. Thompson is posting 16.4 points per game in his sophomore season, and is beginning to fulfill the high expectations that accompanied his departure from Washington State.
The Warriors opponent, Orlando, has been a surprise team of sorts too. The Magic have won nearly 40 percent of their games and that’s about 20 percent more than most expected. Aaron Afflalo has lived up to the hype that the Magic organization gave him when he was acquired as the main chip in the Dwight Howard deal.
One of the other pieces from that deal, Nikola Vucevic, has also been a nice surprise, as he’s became the starter of a team that manages to get it done with absolutely no star power. Glen Davis tries to perform that role of star, but shoots far too many ill fated jumpers and isn’t focused enough on doing what he does best (bully the ball to the hole).
But the best player so far for the Magic may be J.J. Redick. Redick has been with the organization his entire career since coming out of Duke and is having his best pro season. Coming off the bench behind Afflalo, Redick has posted 13.8 points per game and a career high five assists per game. He has the second highest PER on the team behind Davis, at 14.8, and has a A/TO ratio nearly as good as point guard Jameer Nelson.
Nelson is the other main holdover from the wake of Howard’s departure, and he’s struggled with his shot this season, hitting just 40.5 percent from the floor. Part of that can be attributed to taking more difficult shots, but Nelson needs to up his production if the Magic are to make an unlikely run at a playoff spot. No one expected more than a trip to the lottery, though, and the Magic are 8-13.