Thursday NBA Betting: Oklahoma City Thunder At Orlando Magic

Dwight Howard may want out, but will he still if the Magic reel in Steve Nash or Monta Ellis?
Oklahoma City Thunder at Orlando Magic
Tip off: 8 PM EST
Spread: OKC -1
Total: 192

Betting Odds taken from Bookmaker

Oklahoma City

The Thunder roll into tonight’s game with a 28-7 record, best in the West, and have won their last six straight, after defeating the 76ers by 4 points last night in Philly.

A big reason for the Thunder’s success has been the continued greatness of tandem Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. The two combine for 50.8 points per game, which is the highest of any duo in the league. Throw in James Harden’s 16.8 points per game off the bench, and it helps form a Thunder team that puts up 102.4 points per night.

They also have premier shot blocker Serge Ibaka, who leads the league with 3.2 blocks per game. Ibaka, along with defensive stalwart Kendrick Perkins, keeps opponents honest and enables the Thunder to win their games by an average of 6 points per game, as their 102.4 ranks them 3rd best i the league in scoring, and their field goal percentage of 47.3% is the second highest in the league.


The talk still centers around where Dwight Howard is going, or if he is going, and so on runs the speculation regarding who the Magic could bring in that would entice Howard to stay in town.

All of the team’s success in what has been a relatively decent year for the 23-13 Magic seems secondary in relation to what is now happening with their franchise player. The Magic are making efforts to reel in either Monta Ellis or Steve Nash, realizing that their backcourt of Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, and J.J. Redick isn’t going to produce the kind of fire power necessary to have any chance at beating Chicago or Miami.

Aside from Howard’s situation, the only other thing worth taking notice of on the Magic has been the emergence of Cal product Ryan Anderson. In his first full season as a starter, Anderson is posting 16.3 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per night, and he leads the league in both threes attempted and threes made. The somewhat distressing thing for the Magic is that to bring in either Nash or Ellis, they would likely have to part ways with Anderson, who is both very good, and on a very reasonable $2 million contract.

Key Matchup:

Kevin Durant vs. Hedo Turkoglu

I’m not really sure if Hedo has much of a plan to slow down Durant, but if he does, he should probably not bother executing it, because it won’t work anyway. Hedo lacks the speed to stay in front of Durant, and while he has the length at 6’10” to contest Durant’s jumpers, he will need to be in front of him to do so. Expect the Thunder to go to Durant early and often (Don’t they always?) in an attempt to wear Hedo down and get him in foul trouble. When Hedo leaves and the Magic bring in Quentin Richardson, they won’t be any better off. Durant should go for 30+ tonight, if not 40+, and though the Thunder are only 1.5 point favorites, I see them winning by far more.

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