|2012-2013 NBA Season|
The Orlando Magic (18-51)
|March 22nd, 2013|
|Amway Arena, Orlando, Florida|
|6:00 PM CDT|
|Fox Sports Network Oklahoma, Fox Sports Network Florida|
|WWLS the Sports Animal (98.1), AM 580/FM 96.5 WDBO|
|Orlando Magic Daily|
|Previous Meetings: Mar 15 (Thunder Lead Season Series 1-0)|
|Injury Report: Nikola Vucevic (Questionable), Glen Davis (Out), Hidayet Turkoglu (Steroids)|
|Russell Westbrook||PG||Jameer Nelson|
|Thabo Sefolosha||SG||Aaron Affalo|
|Kevin Durant||SF||E'Twaun Moore|
|Serge Ibaka||PF||Tobias Harris|
|Kendrick Perkins||C||Maurice Harkless (Nikola Vucevic?)|
So, after Wednesday's heartbreaking loss to the Memphis Grizzlies in overtime, Kevin Durant has declared tonight's game a "must-win". As funny as it may sound, he's right. Though the emotional charge of going into a game against one of the NBA's absolute worst teams can't be that high, when you look at our situation, this game is kind of a big deal.
When you look at it realistically, you realize that the Thunder are three games away from dropping to the third seed in the West. In terms of who the Thunder face, it's not that big of a deal. The Lakers are undesirable, but no team on that side of the bracket really has too huge of a advantage against Oklahoma City. The big concern is the second round, where the Thunder might have a re-match with the Memphis Grizzlies. Considering that the Grizzlies won the season series 2-1 and that the last playoff series between the two teams went to 7 games, home court advantage is HUGE.
Also, there is an emotional factor to consider, since the Magic very nearly mounted a 27 point comeback against the Thunder last Friday. It was kind of a freak game, given that the Thunder dominated every category, especially rebounding. For some reason, they shot poorly from the line and it gave the Magic a window of opportunity.
But if the Magic can't play Nikola Vucevic, this game is done. He was the only thing keeping the team alive through rough patches, and was the totality of their offense down low. Without Vucevic, the Magic go small, and the Thunder will pretty much beat any team on the open floor.
Anyway, I hope this one is over by halftime, and I have a feeling it will be. When the team is motivated and angry, they're capable of marvelous things.
Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder 116, Orlando Magic 89.
If you are looking for tickets to upcoming games, you can find Oklahoma City Thunder tickets here.