Portland Trail Blazers vs Orlando Magic

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The Portland Trail Blazers will continue their East Coast swing on Friday with a visit to the Orlando Magic and complete a back-to-back after playing in South Florida on Thursday against the Miami Heat. Portland is 25-18 and sits third in the Northwest division 7 games behind the first-place Utah Jazz. Portland has lost two straight with its most recent loss a 116-112 set back at the hands of the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night.

Orlando is 15-29 and in last place in the Southeast Division but only 7 ½ games behind first-place Charlotte and what is one of the NBA’s weakest divisions. Orlando is coming off a 112-111 upset victory over the Phoenix Suns at home on Wednesday in a game that Evan Fournier scored on a driving layup over Suns center Deandre Ayton with six seconds remaining to play to give the Magic the one-point win. The victory for Orlando snapped a two-game losing streak but the Magic have loss11 of their last 13.

Portland needs more stops on defense

Portland is scoring plenty of points at a rate of 114.4 points per game which is 10th in the NBA, but the defense is not making enough stops as the Trail Blazers are 27th in the NBA in points allowed at 115.5 points per game. The Trailblazers are rebounding an average of 43.5 per game with 32.9 off the defensive boards and 10.6 per game off the offensive glass. The leading rebounder is Enes Kanter with an average of 11.6 boards per contest. Portland’s defense averages 7.0 steals and 5.0 blocked shots per game, with Robert Covington leading both categories with an average of 1.6 steals per game and 1.2 swats per contest.

On offense, the Trailblazers are led by a backcourt duo that is averaging a combined 53.9 points per game. Damian Lillard is the leading scorer with an average of 30.1 points per game, which is second in the NBA to only Bradley Beal. CJ McCollum is the second leading scorer for Portland with an average of 23.8 points per game. Lillard is also leading Portland in assists with an average of 7.7 dishes per contest. The Trail Blazers average 20.0 assists and 11.0 turnovers per contest giving Portland a 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Injury Report: Nassir Little and Anfernee Simons are questionable for Friday, while Jusuf Nurkic is out until mid-April and Zach Collins is out until mid-May.

Orlando needs help on Offense

Orlando is scoring an average of only 104.5 points per game which is 29th in the NBA. The Magic are shooting only 43.2% overall and 35.6% from long distance. The leading scorer is Nikola Vucevic with an average of 24.5 points per game and four other players are also averaging double-figures in scoring for Orlando. The leader in assists for Orlando is Aaron Gordon with an average of 4.2 per game but Gordon has requested a trade due to being frustrated with all the losses Orlando has suffered. Orlando averages 22.6 assists and 12.6 turnovers per game for a 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio.

On the boards, Orlando is averaging 46.4 rebounds per game with 36.0 on the defensive glass and 10.4 per game off the offensive glass. Vucevic Is the leading rebounder with an average of 11.8 boards per contest. The Orlando defense is averaging 6.6 steals in 4.1 blocked shots per game with Terrence Ross (out injured) the steals leader with an average of 1.1 per game and Vucevic the swat commander with an average of 0.6 blocked shots per contest. Orlando is allowing an average of 111.3 points per game which is 14th in the NBA.

Injury Report: Mo Bamba is questionable for Friday, while Terrence Ross and Cole Anthony are out indefinitely and Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz are out for the season. Also Vucevic, Aaron Gordon and Fournier were dealt yesterday before the trade deadline.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

Although Orlando is having a problem scoring points, the Magic are 14th in the NBA in points allowed at 111.3 per game and will be facing a Portland team that will be playing the back half of a back-to-back on the road after playing Miami on Thursday. Portland has struggled on the road as the Trail Blazers have failed to cover the spread in four of the last five away from the Moda Center. Overall, Portland has failed to cover the spread in 10 of the last 15 and could have Nasir Little and Anfernee Simons out from an already short-handed lineup.

Prediction:
Orlando Magic +11.5

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Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

Portland will be playing its second game in as many nights and that will affect the Trail Blazers  performance on both ends of the court Friday. The total has finished under in four of Portland’s last six games. Orlando plays a methodical slow down offense that is scoring an average of only 104.4 points per game as the Magic are shooting only 43.1% overall. The total has finished under in five of Orlando’s last 6.

Prediction:
UNDER