At 10 P.M. EST, the Orlando Magic (12-21) will take on the Trailblazers (18-15) in Portland. The Magic look to stave off their longest losing streak in 9 years this evening, while Portland looks to extend their winning streak to 3. So far this year, Portland is 11-4 at home, while the Magic are 5-9 on the road. VegasInsider.com has the Magic losing by 8 points.
The Magic have struggled mightily over the last few weeks since the injury of Glen “Big Baby” Davis. They had won four games straight and were leading the entire league in defensive efficiency. Since that point, they have lost 8 games and cannot seem to find a steady offensive balance in the 4th quarter. J.J. Redick has not been playing particularly well, sparking quite a bit of trade chatter around the internet. The prevailing package that people talk about is with the Timberwolves: Derrick Williams, Luke Ridnour, and a 2013 first round pick for J.J. Redick and Gustavo Ayon. Until such a point, J.J. has to find a way to contribute offensively when his shots aren’t falling. The losses of Glen Davis and E’Twaun Moore have crippled our offense far worse than I would have originally expected.
People tend to underestimate the Trailblazers, but they have played very solidly this season. Rookie sensation, Damian Lillard, has to be attributed with a big part of their success. He is currently averaging 18.2 points and 6.4 assists, giving him an easy berth, so far, in the Rookie of the Year race. LaMarcus Aldridge is quietly having another fantastic season with averages of 20.4 points and 8.4 rebounds. One of the most surprising players on any team so far this season is J.J. Hickson. He has notched an impressive 12.2 points per game and a 7th-NBA best 10.8 rebounds per game. The 8th best rebounder in the league, so far? Nik Vucevic, only trailing Hickson by a tenth of a point.
CRYSTAL BALL PREDICTIONS
Last week ended with a three-way tie between Timothy Williams, Justin Dewberry, and Jason Rink. This is the first of only three games that counts towards Week 3, so choose wisely. Remember, the winner is chosen by cumulative POINTS at the end of the week, not by games won. All results will be posted to the Crystal Ball Leaderboards page. There have been a few changes made to the scoring system, so please take note of those. This is the first meeting of the season, so there will be no boxscore to reference. Good luck!
- How many points will the Magic score? A correct response will be worth three points. If you guess the winner correctly, regardless of the score, it is worth an additional point.
- How many points will the Trailblazers score? A correct response will be worth three points. If you guess the winner correctly, regardless of the score, it is worth an additional point.
- Which player will lead the game in scoring? Correctly guessing the player will give you one point and if you can guess the exact amount he will score, that will be an extra three points. If multiple players tie for the highest amount of points, then all of those players are eligible.
- Which player will lead the game in rebounds? Correctly guessing the player will give you one point and if you can guess the exact amount of rebounds he nets, that will be an extra 3 points. If multiple players tie for the highest amount of rebounds, then all of those players are eligible.
- Which player will have the final points of the game? Correctly guessing the player will be worth two points. Correctly guessing the type of basket is worth an additional two points. (i.e. two-pointer, three-pointer, or free throw) In the event of an and-one, the free throw would be the final point.
Gustavo Ayón – right thigh contusion, OUT
Glen Davis – sprained left shoulder injury, OUT; return will depend on progress made during rest/rehabilitation
Al Harrington – right knee rehabilitation, OUT; no timetable for return
E’Twaun Moore – sprained left elbow, OUT; return will depend on progress made during rest/rehabilitation
Meyers Leonard – (right ankle) is questionable.
Elliot Williams – (left Achilles tendon) will not play.