Orlando Magic (17-5 13-9 ATS) vs. Phoenix Suns (15-7 12-10 ATS) US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ 10:30 PM EST Friday December 11, 2009 on ESPN
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Magic +3 / Suns -3
Bet this game at an online sportsbook that offers reduced odds basketball betting: 5Dimes.
Tonight in the desert the Phoenix Suns host the Orlando Magic. The Suns are still in 2nd place in the Pacific Division, but they have lost 2 in a row and are only 5-5 in their last 10 games. They have the highest scoring offense in the league this season, but in their 5 games in December they have lost 4 and have scored almost 14 points fewer than their season average. However, the Suns have played the most road games of the season (15) and they may find their offensive rhythm at home tonight, where they have yet to lose this season (7-0).
One player that may be dealing with fatigue is Amare Stoudamire, as he has scored at least 20 points in only 1 of his last 7 games.
The Magic are coming off a loss, but they are 8-2 in their last 10 games and they lead the Southeast Division by 1.5 games over the Atlanta Hawks. The Magic are the best road team in the NBA this season (10-3) and if they keep playing like they are they may make it to the NBA Finals for the 2nd year in a row. Even though the Magic do have the best road record they let one slip away in their last loss to Utah where they led by as many as 18 points.
In their last loss the Magic lost to the Utah Jazz 120-111. The high scorer for the Magic in that game was Vince Carter scoring 34 points, but he only shot 9/23 from the floor. For the game the Magic shot 35/76 for a FG% of 46.1%. On defense the Magic allowed the Jazz to shoot 42/84 from the floor for a FG% of 50%. What really hurt the Magic in the game is that they had more than twice as many turnovers (13 to 6)
On Tuesday night the Suns lost to the Dallas Mavericks 102-101. The high
scorer for the Suns in that game was Steve Nash going for
27 points on 9/15 shooting and he dished out 8 assists. For the game the
Suns shot 35/79 for a FG% of 44.3%. On D the Suns allowed the Mavs to shoot
38/85 for a FG% of 44.7%.
This season the Suns are the highest scoring team in the NBA (109 ppg) and the Magic rank 9th (102.2 ppg). On defense the Magic are a much better team ranking 8th in points allowed (96.1 ppg) while the Suns are far from legit on the defensive end ranking 27th in the league giving up an average of 105.8 ppg. The Magic are a better team on the boards this season, as they have a rebound differential of +2.1 rpg while the Suns are only at -1.5 rpg.
The Suns seem to be a different team at home, where they tend to score at will. They will get back to their scoring ways tonight even though the Magic are legit on defense.
Steve Nash leads the NBA in assists and he has the PG advantage tonight facing veteran Jayson Williams, who has never been known for his defense. Nash should be able to run tonight and set up the Suns’ scorers.
The Suns will run and gun tonight and that will tire out the Magic, who may suffer on defense tonight.
The Magic have a better half court offense, but since the Suns will run tonight they will have the advantage.
I think Dwight Howard will have a big game on the boards and he will be counted on to slow the pace of the game by clogging up the middle. However, all the Suns’ starters can attack the rim, and each averages in double figures so they will be too much for him to handle inside.
The Suns do have an athletic team and they will play good defense on both Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis tonight. Even if these 2 runs with the Suns and scores it will play into the hands of Phoenix, as the only way the Magic can win is if they slow the pace of the game down.
On the injury front neither team is reporting any significant injuries.
Jason’s Pick: The Suns are back home and will get back to their break-neck pace that makes them tough to beat. The Magic are solid on both ends of the court, but the Suns will run them ragged tonight and they will win this game, cover the 3-point spread, and snap their 2-game losing streak.