Boston Celtics (29-13 17-25 ATS) vs. Orlando Magic (29-16 22-21-1 ATS) Amway Arena, Orlando, FL 8 PM EST Thursday January 28, 2010 on TNT
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Celtics +3.5 / Magic -3.5
Tonight the Orlando Magic host the Boston Celtics in a big Eastern Conference match up. Neither team is playing the best basketball as of late, but the Celtics’ struggles may be behind them with Kevin Garnett back from injury. Since KG is back in the lineup the Celtics have won 2 straight and even though they are only 5-5 in the last 10 games they still lead the Toronto Raptors by 7 games in the Atlantic Division.
The Magic have been struggling for the last couple of weeks, as they are also 5-5 in their last 10 games, but they are coming off a loss and are in 2nd place in the Southeast Division game back of the Atlanta Hawks.
This season the Magic are 16-4 at home and the Celtics are 16-6 on the road.
The main reason the Celtics were only mediocre the last couple of weeks was that KG was sidelined with a bum knee. Without their defensive stopper inside Boston only went 4-6 and allowed opponents to average nearly 100 ppg on 46.4% shooting, as opposed to a season average of only allowing opponents to average 93.7 ppg.
The Magic are likely far from happy that KG is back, as Orlando has really struggled on the offensive end of the court lately. The Magic’s last 13 games they have only gone 5-8 and in 9 of those games they shot less than 44% from the field. One player that has not been performing is Vince Carter, who has only shot 31.1% in Orlando’s last 13 games.
Orlando has to hold onto the rock tonight, as in their last game they had 19 turnovers and they surpassed that amount in 4 of their last 7 games.
Dwight Howard (17.4 ppg) has to have a good game inside so Vince Carter (16.4 ppg), Rashard Lewis (14.7 ppg), and Jameer Nelson (11.8 ppg) have open looks from outside.
If Orlando’s offense does not snap out of their slump they will have to win with their D. They will have to play solid on the defensive end on the Big 3 of Ray Allen (15.9 ppg), Paul Pierce (18.9 ppg), and Kevin Garnett (15 ppg).
In their last game the Celtics beat the L.A. Clippers 95-89 on Monday night. The high scorer for Boston in the game was Paul Pierce going for 22 points and even though he was only 5/10 from the field he hit all 11 of his free throws. For the game the Celtics shot 34/72 for a FG of 47.2%. On D the Celtics won the game, as they held the Clippers to 31/80 for a FG% of 38.8%.
The Magic lost their last game to the Memphis Grizzlies 99-94 also on Monday night. The high scorer for the Magic in the game was Dwight Howard going for 27 points on 9/14 shooting. For the game the Magic shot 33/78 for a FG% of 42.3%. On defense the Magic allowed the Grizzlies to shoot 38/82 for a FG% of 46.3%.
This season the Magic rank 10th in the league in scoring (101.1 ppg) and the Celtics rank 16th (99.7 ppg). On defense is where the Celtics shine, as they rank 2nd in points allowed (93.7 ppg) and the Magic rank a legit 7th (96.3 ppg). The Magic are a better team on the glass, as they have a rebounding differential of +2.4 rpg while the Celtics are at -0.6 rpg.
On the injury front SG Vince Carter is day-to-day for Orlando and SG J.R. Giddens and PF Brian Scalabrine are Out for Boston.
According to the Sagarin NBA ratings the Celtics rank 3rd (94.82) and the Magic rank 6th (94.19).
Boston is 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games, 6-2 ATS in their last 8 road games against teams with a home winning percentage of greater than 60%, and 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 games as a road underdog of 0.5-4.5.
Orlando is 11-2 ATS in their last 13 against teams in the Atlantic Division, 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games as a home favorite of 0.5-4.5, and 2-5 ATS in their last 7 home games against teams with a road winning percentage of greater than 60%.
Boston has gone Under in 5 of their last 7 games as a road underdog and has gone Under in 4 of their 5 games.
Orlando has gone Under in 5 of their last 6 games and has gone under in 6 straight games when facing a team with a winning record.
Jason’s Pick: You better believe that the Orlando Magic will be up for this game tonight. Look for them to win and cover the spread tonight.