OKC Thunder (36-20, 16-12) vs. Orlando Magic (36-22, 21-9 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 110.7 (6th), Magic– 107.9 (13th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 108.1 (16th), Magic – 101.9 (3rd)
Pace: Thunder – 93.1 (12th), Magic – 92.2 (16th)
View from the enemy: Magic Basketball
Well this is kind of weird. A basketball game! The Thunder will be a bit shorthanded playing against the Magic as none of the new guys will be with the team yet. (Hopefully Sunday, sans Kendrick Perkins most likely.)
It’ll be a tough one though for the Thunder. Obviously there’s a built-in excuse to lose, but I suspect the Thunder is going to be playing with a bit of an edge in this one. Coming off the Spurs loss and then the events of yesterday, Oklahoma City should play with something to prove.
Orlando coming in: The Magic have played one game since the break, losing to the Kings at home on Wednesday. So yeah, they’ll probably be eager to rectify that.
Sure would be nice to have the news guys in this one, huh? Instead, Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison will be starting on the inside, taking on Dwight Howard and Brandon Bass. Ibaka has the athleticism to match Howard, but there’s nothing like having a true bruiser to take him on. With OKC being so shorthanded inside, expect Cole Aldrich and possibly even Byron Mullens (who was recalled today) to see some minutes.
OKC has a big edge with Kevin Durant because Hedo Turkoglu can’t check him. Russell Westbrook should work over Jameer Nelson well, but where Orlando evens out is their long line of shooters. Ryan Anderson is a big that can hit from deep, J.J. Redick is deadly — heck everyone without the first name Dwight pretty much can hit from outside.
The last Thunder-Magic game was a fun one. OKC won 125-124 and survived a barrage of 3-pointers. And seeing as the Thunder’s not really better in that area (yet), it could be one of those gotta outscore them nights.
Tip at 6:00 CT. Go Sam Presti.