Game: Orlando Magic @ Phoenix Suns
Time: 10:00 p.m.
Odds: Magic +7, Suns -7
Phoenix is in a tough spot with just a few weeks left in the NBA regular season. The Suns have lost three straight and sit in fourth place in the Western Conference. The team’s best player, Kevin Durant, is out indefinitely after injuring an ankle in pregame warmups on March 8. Since then, the Suns are 1-3 and fading. Tonight, Phoenix welcomes Orlando to the Footprint Center. The Magic have just one win in their last five games, but they have nothing to lose.
With Durant out of the lineup, the Suns have had trouble finding any offense other than Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton. The pair combined for 46 points in Phoenix’s 116-104 loss to Milwaukee on Tuesday night. Durant will not be back in the lineup anytime soon. He is due for another evaluation in about two weeks.
With a record of 37-32, Phoenix is now just a half-game ahead of the fifth-place Los Angeles Clippers. Golden State is sixth and is 1.5 games behind the Suns. Phoenix could lose out on home court advantage in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
Phoenix needs greater output from supporting cast members Josh Okogie, Torrey Craig, Ish Wainright, and Terrence Ross as they have struggled to defend opponent’s three-point shooting in their last three games. Those four players managed just 22 points combined in the loss to Milwaukee. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way as the Bucks went on a 24-9 run to end the game. Final stats for the two-time MVP included 36 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 assists.
Phoenix is aiming to avenge a 114-97 loss to Orlando on November 11 in which the Suns made just 13 of their 42 three-point attempts (31 percent).
Orlando’s four-game road began on Tuesday with a 132-114 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, who had a season-high 39 assists and a franchise-high 22 three-pointers. Wendell Carter Jr. scored 16 points and rookie Paolo Banchero scored 27 for the Magic. Orlando has now dropped five of its last seven games. Orlando is four games behind the Washington Wizards who are in tenth place and currently hold a position in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament.
For Orlando, which is 12-22 on the road, Cole Anthony is averaging 15.4 points per game in seven games this month. Banchero leads the team in scoring averaging 20.1 points per game. Franz Wagner averages 18.7 and Carter scores 15.3 and is the Magic’s leading rebounder with 8.8 boards per game.
In addition to being 1-4 SU, the Magic are 1-4 ATS in their last five games. Orlando is 2-4 SU in its last six games against the Suns, but the Magic is 5-2 ATS in the last seven. Orlando has covered in 10 of its last 15 games on the road.
The Suns’ defense has given up 122.3 points per game over its last three. Two of those games went Over the total. The Over is 5-1 in the Suns’ last six games and 4-1 in its last five home games.
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