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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Orlando Magic Preview

Can the Blazers beat the lowly Magic?

Orlando Magic v Washington Wizards Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

Portland Trail Blazers (17-25) vs Orlando Magic (8-36)

The Portland Trail Blazers continue their six game road trip to take on the Orlando Magic. After losing to Denver in the road trip opener, the Blazers bounced back with a pretty decent performance to earn a 115-110 win against the Washington Wizards.

The Orlando Magic are already looking to the future as they sit solidly in last place. They aren’t without talent though. The Wagner brothers, Moritz and Franz, have both showed something this season, and Jalen Suggs looks to be one for the future too. They also have our old friend Robin Lopez, so... wait, what was my point? Anyway, the Dallas Mavericks made easy work of the Magic 108-92 in Dallas in Orlando’s most recent game.

Monday, January 17- 4:00 p.m. PT
How to watch on TV: Root Sports NW, NBA League Pass
Blazers injuries: Damian Lillard (out), Larry Nance Jr. (out), Cody Zeller (out), CJ Elleby (out), Norman Powell (out)
Magic injuries: Wendell Carter Jr. (out), Jonathan Isaac (out), Markelle Fultz (out), E’Twaun Moore (out), Michael Carter-Williams (out)
SBN Affiliate: Orlando Pinstriped Post

What To Watch For

  • Low scoring from the Magic. Orlando scores 101.9 points per game, third lowest in the NBA. That’s potentially good news for the Blazers, who have struggled to hold teams under 110. The Blazers give up 113.1 points per game on average, so keeping the Magic to around 105 or less would bode well for the Blazers.
  • Anfernee Simons. Simons is simply having a spectacular January. He’s averaging 28.3 points per game in 37.7 minutes with 8.2 assists. Anfernee has been efficient too, cashing in at a 45.7% rate from deep and 51.3% from the field. He’s had a double-double in the last two games and is coming off a 31 point performance against Washington. Now with CJ expected to be back, what will that mean for Simons’ game? The answer to that question may well determine a host of outstanding questions beyond just the result of the next few games.
  • Momentum? Would you look at that! Portland has won three out of the last four games, and they really ought to win this one against the Magic. Orlando has won one out of their last twelve games and have the worst record in the NBA. Many fans, and quite possibly management, are ready to welcome a Sherman-sized tank to Portland, but players have a way of occasionally throwing a curveball into the best-laid plans. A loss to the Magic would be devastating for those holding out hope for another late season run, but a win... well, let’s not get too crazy.

What Others Are Saying

The Blazers aren’t the only team struggling with a first year coach. Luke Hetrick of Spectrum News says though that for Coach Jamahl Mosley the struggles in Orlando haven’t been unexpected.

About halfway through the season, the Magic have the worst record in the NBA, 7-34 before Wednesday night’s games. Struggles were expected after last year’s moves at the trade deadline. Still it’s been a year and an opportunity Mosley has cherished.

Missing six weeks wasn’t what Jalen Suggs wanted or expected, but there was a definite upside reports Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinal.

The six weeks away from games tested Suggs’ patience and often frustrated him. But in hindsight, he admitted it was one of the better things that could’ve happened to him.

One player on the Magic came out of the last dismal week shining according to Garrett Townsend of Orlando Pinstriped Post.

Terrence Ross averaged 20.6 points across the stretch, arriving there on the back of 48.9% shooting that included 42.9% from deep. In addition, he sprinkled in a little rebounding and a few helpers, as well as a disruptive defensive stat or two and just three turnovers on the week. Considering that the Magic dropped all three games, the fact that he came out comfortably ahead in the 96 minutes he played speaks to the impact his microwave scoring can have on this side.