The NBA season is back tonight, and we go straight in early on this time with a pick in order to try and take advantage of some poor lines early on.
The Orlando Magic are a growing and developing team who have managed to improve as the season went along winning 6 out of their last 10 games including beating some good teams like Utah, Minnesota (twice), Boston, Milwaukee and New York. While they have won this games, they have kept it close against some others like Clippers (lost by 2) and Kings (lost by 6). The fact that Orlando already have a winning record with a 11-9, while sitting in 9th spot and just 2 games back behind Cleveland was never expected out of this team.
This team has all the makings of the OKC Thunder all over again, with tremendous Backcourt players in Harris and Oladipo; while a dominant centre in Vucevic already reminds you of them. Add to that fact they have some great 3-point shooters in Fournier, Hezonja, Nicholson and Peyton while having some developing big men in Gordon, Dedmon and some veterans in Watson, Frye and Smith; shows you what a great team that they have constructed. The Magic have been winning games due to their scoring from all across the floor. Additionally, Scott Skiles has developed them into what he knows best and that is defence, where they leak less than 100 points per game for the season; shows you by next year; this team will be a force to reckon with and just need the 1 All-Star player to make them a potential Eastern Contender.
The Nuggets are struggling pretty badly, winning just 2 of their last 10 games, against Philadelphia and the surprise against Toronto Raptors by just 1 point. The Nuggets have not even counted on their home floor advantage to help them win those games and struggling defence is the major cause for their poor performance and a 3-6 record at home while having 8-13 overall. The most reliable player on the Nuggets team is Gallinari and his shooting % hasn’t been as where he would like it to be. Other than Gallinari, its just Barton and the hot-cold Mudiay who are scoring in double digits; while Kenneth Faried is really struggling and in particular with the recent injuries he has been suffering.
If you asked me to pick a winner on paper it would be the Magic; and then when you had to pick a winner in reality its all about the defence and Orlando gets the thumbs up there and should be able to cover the spread against the struggling Nuggets.