NBA on ESPN: Orlando Magic at Oklahoma City Thunder

Orlando Magic AT Oklahoma City Thunder
January 13th, 2011 at 8:05 PM EST
Opening Line:  Orlando -1
Current Line:  Orlando -1
Opening Total: 205
Current Total: 204
Opening Moneyline:  Orlando -113 / OKC +103
Current Moneyline: Orlando -115 / OKC -105

Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant is averaging 34 points per game in his last 5 home games

Orlando’s winning streak finally came to an end in the raucous arena of the New Orleans Hornets.  It took overtime for the Hornets to dispose of the pesky Magic, who came back from a 7 point defecit in the last 1:20 of the game to force the extra period.  Dwight Howard had a 29 point 20 rebound game, getting the best of draft mate Emeka Okafor once again.  Orlando failed to set their franchise mark for the longest win streak ever, but has still win 10 of their last 11 and they have owned the Thunder in recent times, having won 9 of the last 10 against them.

Oklahoma City has won three straight, but gave up 112 points to the Rockets last game, and Orlando  is an even more potent offensive team, so it has Kevin Durant concerned.  He commented, “We’ve just got to be more locked in and focused, and worry about that end more than the offensive end.  But we’ll be all right.”  Durant has been at fire at home, where he has averaged 34.4 points per game over the last five home games.  He’ll need a big night to offset the Magic’s new look potent attack, and NBA oddsmakers have set the total relatively high at an opening total of 205, which has since shifted down to 204.

Some betting trends:

Orlando is 9-1 SU in their last 10 games and the total has gone UNDER In 7 of their last 9 against the Thunder.  They are 8-1 SU in their last 9 games against OKC and 5-11 SU in their last 16 road games in OKC.  The total has gone UNDER in 6 of their last 8 games on the road in Oklahoma City, as well.

Oklahoma City is 5-2 SU in their last 7 games and the total has gone OVER IN 5 of their last 6 games at home.  They are 9-2 SU in their last 11 at home and they are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 against the Magic.  The total has also gone UNDER In 7 of their last 9 games against the Magic.  They are 1-8 SU in their last 9 against the Orlando Magic.

Key Matchups:

Hedo Turkoglu vs. Kevin Durant

Hedo is a better defender than people give him credit for, but to cover someone of Durant’s caliber it takes more than being an “above average” defender.  Hedo at 6’10” and lanky has the frame to challenge Durant’s jumpshots…if he can stay in front of him.  Durant elevates over most smaller small forwards for a lot of mid range jumpers, but whether he will be able to exploit that against Hedo is rather dubious.  He should have a big game, but it may require more rebounding and more threes than he ordinarily puts in.  Turkoglu will keep Durant engaged on defense as Orlando’s primary playmaker.  He recently had a career high 17 assists and is very good in the 3-5 pick and roll with Howard.  Durant may find himself getting switched onto Howard in the pick and roll which could cause him to pick up some fouls, which would be greatly to Orlando’s advantage.  It’s not easy to get Durant into foul trouble because he is too smart, but if the Magic could force him into a couple early ones and get him sidelined, they could run away with the game early.

Jameer Nelson & Gilbert Arenas vs Russell Westbrook

No one knew Westbrook was going to be this good.  He had a decent enough rookie year, but this year has exploded onto the scene as one of the best point guards in the league.  He is bigger and stronger than Nelson, and probably a little quicker too, so Nelson is really going to have his hands full with Westbrook.  Bringing in Arenas won’t help much because while Arenas has the size, he lacks the speed that Jameer Nelson has, so either way they are going to be deficient on defense against Westbrook.  If Westbrook can get his mid range game going and continue to get to the basket (taking it at Dwight to get him into foul trouble), the Magic will be in serious trouble tonight.

This promises to be a great game, which is why ESPN picked it up for a telecast.  The Magic have had a lot of success against the Thunder recently, but Oklahoma City is always tough to beat at home.

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