Denver Nuggets vs. Orlando Magic Preview and Pick

Denver Nuggets +8 (35-17) at Orlando Magic -8 (38-12) O/U 209.5 7 PM ET Wednesday February 11, 2009
By Jason Green at

Tonight the Denver Nuggets travel to the Sunshine State to play the Orlando Magic. These are 2 of the more surprising teams in the league, as the Magic have emerged as a legit threat in the Eastern Conference and the Nuggets currently in 1st place in the Northwest Division. The trade for Chauncey Billups could not have worked out better for the Nuggets. Both teams are playing well as of late, especially the Nuggets who have won 8 of their last 10 games and are coming off a win and the Magic who are 6-4 in their last 10 games and are also coming off a win. The Nuggets have proved they are for real, but to be put into the upper echelon of teams they have to win these types of tough away games. Can they go 2-0 in the Sunshine state after their impressive win over the Miami Heat last night?

This season the Magic are 20-5 at home and the Nuggets are 15-11 away from Mile High city.

Basketball bookies have the Magic as 8-point favorites with a total around 209.5. The Magic are posted at -330 as home favorites and the Nuggets are posted at +250 as away dogs.

The Nuggets are coming off a 99-82 win over the Miami Heat last night. The high scorer for the Nuggets in that game was Chauncey Billups going for 23 points on 10/17 shooting. For the game the Nuggets were shooting lights out going 41/81 from the floor for a solid FG% of 50.6%. The Nuggets played well on D only allowing the Heat to shoot 32/73 for a FG% of 43.8%.


The Magic come into this game after crushing the New Jersey Nets 101-84 on Sunday night. The high scorer for the Magic in that game was Dwight Howard having a monster game with 30 points and 16 boards. For the game the Magic shot 35/73 for a FG% of 47.9%. On D the Magic clamped down only allowing the Nets to shoot 34/86 for a FG% of only 39.5%.

Both these teams can flat out score, as the Nuggets rank 6th in scoring this season (103.9 ppg) and the Magic rank 7th (102.8 ppg). The Magic are also the best 3-point shooting team in the NBA hitting 40% from downtown. On D the Magic are much better, thank you very much Dwight Howard, ranking 6th in points allowed (94.3 ppg), while the Nuggets rank 20th (100.4 ppg). The two teams are pretty even on the glass, as the Magic have a rebounding differential of +1.3 rpg and the Nuggets are at +0.3 rpg.

To say that people betting on the Magic this season are doing well is an understatement, as they are a league-best 33-16-1 ATS, while the Nuggets are a respectable 29-20-2. In terms of Over/Under games the Magic are 23-26-1 this season and the Nuggets are 28-22-1.

On the injury front neither team is reporting any significant injuries.

Can the Nuggets stop Dwight Howard? Nobody else can, as the Nuggets hope the new Superman, sorry Shaq, is preoccupied about what dunk to use in the slam-dunk contest this Saturday.

Nene will have to play solid D down low and not let Howard muscle in for points and dominate the boards. That will not be easy since Howard is averaging 20.6 ppg) and leads the league in rebounding (14.1 rpg) and blocks (2.92 blocks per game) Conversely, Howard has to play good D on Nene (14.7 ppg), who is having a great season and leads the NBA in FG%.

The Nuggets have the advantage at PG with Billups, especially since All Star PG Jameer Nelson is out, maybe for the season, with an injury. Anthony Johnson has played well replacing Nelson in the starting lineup, and he will have to contain Billups and not let him have a huge scoring game.

The Nuggets will have to play good perimeter D on the 3-point bombers of the Magic, especially Hedo Turkoglu (17.2 ppg).

Teams that have packed the lane to stop Howard have found out they will be killed from the outside by the Magic.

Carmelo Anthony has been struggling lately and the Nuggets need him to score, as they are 19-3 when he goes for 20 points or more.

If the Magic can play good perimeter D and not let the Nuggets shoot lights out, then they should win this game.

The Nuggets will have to play good all around D tonight to pull off the upset, but they can really show they are a legit title contender with a win over the Magic, who have the league’s 4ht best record.

Jason’s Pick: I like Orlando to beat what should be a tired Denver team.