Game Preview: Golden State Warriors vs. Orlando Magic
The Warriors edged the Trail Blazers on Sunday by a razor-thin margin, but it was only thanks to ridiculous shooting performances in the second half by Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, including 28 points from Curry. Both players were able to score 15 points in the fourth quarter, but the Dubs will likely want to avoid relying on hot performances down the stretch like that come Tuesday night.
Luckily for the Warriors, the Orlando Magic are essentially in full tank mode, having lost five in a row and 12 of their last 14, putting them at 13th in the Eastern Conference. Because of these struggles, the Warriors should theoretically have no difficulties on Tuesday night, though that’s far from guaranteed.
For one, Orlando has a few players who the Dubs will have to watch out for. Arron Afflalo is in the midst of a career season, averaging a steady 19.5 PPG, and Nikolva Vucevic has been one of the best rebounders in the game when healthy. Additionally, Victor Oladipo would have a strong case for the Rookie of the Year Award were it not for Michael Carter-Williams.
Even so, the Warriors will be playing at home, and they’ll be fresh off a huge win over a talented Blazers team. If Curry and Thompson pick up from where they left off and come out with guns blazing, the Dubs will be hard to beat.
Orland Magic (19-48) Projected Lineup:
PG: Jameer Nelson
SG: Arron Afflalo
SF: Maurice Harkless
PF: Kyle O’Quinn
C: Nikola Vucevic
Key Bench Players: Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris, Glen Davis
Keys to a Warriors Victory:
The Magic big man has been on a rebounding tear lately, averaging an even 13 boards per game over his last nine games. He’s also averaged 16.7 PPG over that same span, so while the rest of his team has struggled, Vucevic has been on fire.
Orlando doesn’t have many players who can do a whole lot of damage against the Warriors, but when it comes to stopping Vucevic, Andrew Bogut and David Lee will have to be on their game, particularly on the glass.
Don’t Overthink This One
The Magic are 4-30 on the road and they’ve won once in March, against the 76ers, one of the only teams in the NBA worse than themselves. If the Dubs play their game and avoid playing down to the competition, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to win this game handily.
Coming off a tough win against the Trail Blazers, there’s little stopping the Warriors from steamrolling a struggling team on Tuesday night.