We have a home team with an overall record of 6-9 and 2-5 at home court and we have an away team that holds a record of 11-4 while being 4-3 in away games. Yet still Seattle is considered as a slight favourite here by bookies. Its even more strange if you consider the fact that Seattle has lost its previous 2 games and Orlando currently is on a four game winning streak.
Seattle`s everlasting problems with a decent center position will probably get a new meaning tonight, when they have to solve a low-post problem named Dwight Howard (and Milicic as his back-up). Howard has had monstrous last couple of weeks as he averages 15,6 (!!!) rebounds and 20 points over last 6 games. With Johan Petro being the Sonics starting center, low-post disadvantage will be a huge problem for the Supersonics to handle. Especially defensively as offensewise Seattle relies on its backcourt and outside shots anyway.
Alongside of a 11-4 winning record there are several things for the Magic to be happy about. Coming from playing for the USA World Championship team Dwight Howard has raised his game to and All-Star level and his statistical numbers have improved almost everywhere. Grant Hill is as healthy as he has ever been in his Magic days. There are promising youngster in the Magic roster including Jameer Nelson and Darko Milicic and starting from the end of last years regular season the team seems to be clicking. Remember the Magic went to a 12-3 to end last season which would make it a 23-7 run if we add this years starting performance. Win over the league leading Jazz two days ago will give the Magic confidence to extend their winning streak up to 5 games after tonight.
Might look an overstatement, but the Magic really is a different team compared to previous seasons. As long as they can keep all their key players healthy, they can stay close to the top of the conference. Having a day of rest Grant Hill should be rested enough to play and give Ray Allen problems of finding open looks. We rate the Magic as a better team with a better momentum here and take them to cover the spread line +2.5 points with medium+ stakes.
read other analyses from www.nbatip.com