The Pick: Magic 100-96
It’s a tough day when it comes to picking NBA games. Many teams played last night and there are a lot of big lines in Vegas’ attempt to account for travel and health. That being said, this game seems to break that mold.
We’ve got the Magic (4-5), who haven’t traveled since Monday playing at home against a team that is on the second night of a road back-to-back that has roughly the same record (5-4), and they’re getting points! There is a reason that rarely happens in the NBA and I expect to that tonight.
The Mavericks are coming off of a hard-fought loss to the Miami Heat and could very easily lay an egg in Orlando given the advanced age of their primary players (four of their starters are at least 32 years old). The tired legs figure to have the greatest impact when battling the young Magic (three of their top five scorers are 23 years of age of younger) on the glass.
Orlando ranks fourth in the league in rebounding, and that is with one third of their games coming against elite rebounders (Roy Hibbert, Kevin Love and Anthony Davis). Nikola Vucevic has four double doubles in his last five games and is handing out three assists per game over that stretch, a skill set that Dallas simply has no answer for. Shawn Marion (35-years-old) leads the way for the Mavs, who are ranked 20th in rebounding, making this a considerable edge for the home team.
Defense is another area that sometimes lacking on the second night of a back-to-back, a very dangerous proposition for a Dallas team that plays relatively little defense in the first place (104.0 PPG, 24th in the league). Three of Orlando’s top scorers are guards (Aaron Afflalo, Victor Oladipo and Jameer Nelson), and to say the Monta Ellis/Jose Calderon back court isn’t interested in defense is a vast understatement.
Fun Fact: Afflalo is averaging the same amount of points per shot as Chris Paul (and more than Steph Curry) to go along with an adjusted FG% that is greater than that of Paul George.
I told you the Blazers would win by 13 last night … they did. Looking for more of my work? My fantasy articles and NBA picks against the spread are published routinely and I’m always fielding questions @unSOPable23