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Preview 62 of 82: Magic @ Thunder

Preview 62 of 82: Magic @ Thunder

Time: 7:00 PM CT

TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma

Radio: WWLS (98.1 FM OKC / 97.1 FM Tulsa)

Game Notes: Thunder / Magic

The Thunder (34-27) is fresh off a blowout loss to the Warriors on Saturday but now returning to the friendly confines of Chesapeake Energy Arena. Tonight the team will look to get back on track against the visiting Orlando Magic (18-41).

Oklahoma City’s record is currently good for seventh-place in the Western Conference — just a half-game ahead of the eighth-seeded Denver Nuggets. However, the Thunder is only two games back of the third-place Spurs — making these winnable games against teams like Orlando extremely important.

The Magic has lost five straight coming into tonight and finds itself just a half-game up on last place in the Eastern Conference. The team is led by Aaron Gordon, who will be playing in just his third game since returning from a strained hip flexor — an injury that cost him nine consecutive contests. He looked good in 31 minutes on Saturday against the 76ers, contributing 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. With him reaching full speed, he will likely be the focal point of the Orlando attack tonight in OKC.

Tip-off is at 7:00 PM CT and will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma. The Thunder is a 9.5-point favorite according to OddsShark.

Injury Report


  • Andre Roberson: Out – Knee


  • Marreese Speights: Out – Personal
  • Terrance Ross: Out — Knee/Leg

Probable Starters

Magic: DJ Augustin, Evan Fournier, Jonathon Simmons, Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic




Four Factors


Synergy Sports

Click to Enlarge

Thunder O & D

Magic O & D

Previous Results

11/29: ORL 121, OKC 108 [BOX SCORE]


Last Time. The Magic beat the Thunder 121-108 on November 29, despite Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony combining for 75 points. Steven Adams was held to just 6 points on 3/10 shooting, while Aaron Gordon went for a cool 40 points on a 6/12 clip from downtown. This Magic team is different now, most notably having sent Elfrid Payton to Phoenix at the trade deadline. However, despite the record and general lack of direction, the Magic has proven it can beat OKC this season.

More Kiwi. As I just said, Steven Adams was a non-factor the last time these teams met up. However, he’s averaging 14.6 points and 9.2 rebounds in February, shooting 58.8 percent from the field in the process. He will likely see a decent amount of Bismack Biyombo (Vucevic can guard no one), but look for Adams to enjoy far more success this time around. Orlando gives up 10.7 offensive rebounds per game — second most in the league. Big Kiwi will get his.

Paul George Bounce Back. Paul George was downright pitiful on Saturday night in Oakland, contributing 5 points on 1/14 shooting in 33 minutes of action. Still, the All-Star has averaged 26.8 PPG this month and making 43.2 percent of his attempts from downtown. He should bounce back well against a team he hit for 22 points the first time they met.

Josh Huestis. Billy Donovan has been starting Josh Huestis at shooting guard, a trend that should absolutely, most certainly continue. He logged 20 minutes against the Warriors on Saturday and finished as a minus-1 in a game the Thunder lost by 32. To further the argument, he’s now logged nearly 95 minutes alongside the other four starters and the Thunder is +16.5 when that’s the case. He is not and will not be Andre Roberson but he should probably start getting Roberson-like minutes on a nightly basis.

The Other Guys. Four men average double-digit scoring for the Magic: Gordon (18.2 PPG), Evan Fournier (18 PPG), Nikola Vucevic (17.3 PPG) and Jonathon Simmons (13.7). DJ Augustin is now the starting point guard after the Payton trade and has averaged 11.8 points and 4.5 assists in the six games. He’s hit on just 36.5 percent of his field goal attempts but has a 41.4 percent clip from deep over the span.