Portland Trail Blazers (12-10) vs. Orlando Magic (9-15)
The Portland Trail Blazers have flown home with two full days to recover from a grueling six-game road swing. With Portland joining a number of Western Conference teams sporting a 12-10 record, this game could be the team’s opportunity to start separating itself from the pack. But good luck in the medical room will be key. The Magic kickstart a four-game West Coast tour at the Moda Center.
Tuesday, February 9 - 7:00 p.m. PT
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW, League Pass, or see games all season on fuboTV, follow on ESPN+, or the ESPN/Disney Bundle*
Blazers injuries: Zach Collins (out), Jusuf Nurkic (out), CJ McCollum (out), Nassir Little (out), Damian Lillard (probable)
Magic injuries: Markelle Fultz (out), Evan Fournier (out), Aaron Gordon (out), Jonathan Isaac (out), Michael Carter-Williams (out), Al-Farouq Aminu (questionable)
SBN Affiliate: Orlando Pinstriped Post
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What To Watch For
- Anfernee Simons. Simons is starting to come into his own in recent weeks, enjoying consistent production despite carrying a reoccuring hamstring complaint and a subsequent minutes restriction. Over the past eight games, Simons has put up averages of 13.5 points, 3 rebounds and 1.9 assists. Can he break free of his hamstring shackles and maintain this consistency, ensuring his place in the Blazers’ rotation?
- Wing Rotation. Derrick Jones Jr. made his return to the court at Madison Square Garden after a four-game absence, prompted by a foot strain. He came off the bench against the Knicks, backing up Rodney Hood, after initially starting the first 17 games of the season. With Hood’s recent uptick in production, will Stotts defer back to Jones Jr. or will Hood remain? Could both start, sending Trent Jr. back to the bench? We wait with bated breath.
- Injuries, still. Yes, the Blazers have had some time to mend. But let’s not beat around the bush here, CJ McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic, and Zach Collins are well and truly out. Nassir Little, Derrick Jones Jr, Damian Lillard, and Anfernee Simons are still mending or have only just recovered from injuries that have kept them off the court. It’ll not only be interesting to see who suits up against the Magic, but how much they play.
What Others Are Saying
It seems maligned Magic big man Mo Bamba might need another chance to flourish, according to Mike Cali at Orlando Pinstriped Post.
“Mo Bamba recently has shown signs of two things:
1) That he is deserving of more playing time
2) That he is frustrated he isn’t getting said playing time”
“Bamba’s stats, of course, are relative and not entirely sustainable with increased volume and playing time against better competition. But he has at the very least earned the opportunity to be on the court. So... FREE MO BAMBA!”
Cali of Orlando Pinstriped Post also touts Nikola Vucevic’s All Star candidacy, putting forward 50 points to highlight the center’s strong opening to the 2020-21 season.
“Perhaps if All-Star fan voting was done blindly, based simply on anonymous stat lines labeled Player 1, Player 2, Player 3, etc., then Nikola Vucevic would fare better and get the respect he deserves.
Perhaps that’s how someone who isn’t flashy and doesn’t play for a marquee team and isn’t seen on national TV, but is simply a quality basketball player deserving of your vote, makes an All-Star team.”
The Magic’s Cole Anthony was picked at number 15 in the 2020 NBA Draft, but according to CBS Jasmyn Wimbish of CBS Sports, the North Carolina point guard is currently this class’ sixth best rookie.
“What’s been most impressive about Anthony’s game really all season, but more noticeable now that he’s in the starting lineup, is that regardless of what his scoring performance is that night, he’s still going to go out there and get you like six boards, a couple assists and give effort on the defensive end. For a rookie, it’s always important to show that you can impact the game in other ways, and Anthony has shown that he can contribute even when his shot isn’t falling. Oh and then there’s this ridiculous putback dunk where he flies in out of nowhere to jam it home.”