This also counts as an open thread, so feel free to post your thoughts during the game here.
Time: 6 PM Central Standard Time
Place: Amway Arena, Orlando, Florida
TV: KSBI-TV 52, Sun Sports
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1)
Backstory: So, Orlando, we meet again! But what's different about you this time? Well, you've gone 3-1 since your loss to us, but....Jameer Nelson is now out. Easy game, right? Wrong. The reason we won last time is because the Magic were seriously lacking in the scoring department without Vince Carter or Rashard Lewis. Nobody could help take the scoring pressure off of Dwight Howard. Not even Jameer Nelson, who normally can do so.. Which is exactly my point. Jameer Nelson isn't a distributor in the strictest sense. Don't get me wrong, he has his fair share of assists, but he is a scorer first. Thus, as long as Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis play and score, the Magic shouldn't miss a step. And Jason Williams won't have any trouble distributing the ball. And that is why I think this game presents a problem for us.
On our side of things, Russell Westbrook has regained his stride, Thabo Sefolosha is defending like a mad man, and it looks like we're on top of the world again! Unfortunately, this is the second game of a back-to-back, so there might be a degree of fatigue and homesickness here.
Below: Matchups, Prediction
Center: Nenad Krstic vs. Dwight Howard
Last time, Nenad Krstic was able to do his fair share of scoring via his infamous jump shot, but Dwight Howard was able to outscore and outrebound him on all fronts. Expect the same to happen again here.
Power Forward: Jeff Green vs. Rashard Lewis
Jeff Green has been cold as a Winter storm lately, and Rashard Lewis came off of his injury with a bang. Expect Green to grab the necessary boards and Shard to outscore Green.
Small Forward: Kevin Durant vs. Mickael Pietrus
Last time, Pietrus didn't provide much of a threat for Durant, and I don't think this time will be much different.
Shooting Guard: Thabo Sefolosha vs. Vince Carter
This might be what the game hinges on. If the Magic have 3 solid scorers, we won't have much of a shot, but if they're reduced to two, we'll have more of a shot.
Point Guard: Russell Westbrook vs. Jason Williams
Russell Westbrook will almost certainly outscore and outrebound Jason Williams. Jason Williams will have more assists, though.
Battle of the Benches
The Magic bench is much deeper and more talented. Even at PG, they still have Anthony Johnson, who is probably one of the best 3rd PGs in the league. Best of all, they have Adonal Foyle. Magic by a mile.
Coaching and Intangibles
The Magic easily win here because they're at home, facing us on the 2nd game of a back-to-back, want some revenge, and have more talent than they did last time.
The key to the game, for us, it silencing Lewis or Carter while making sure we exploit the fact that they have no real Power Forward. A good day from Jeff Green and Thabo Sefolosha would help out a lot here.
Prediction: Magic 99, Thunder 90
Sorry, but I've got to go with my brain, not my heart. The Magic have our number this time.
How do you think the game will go? Vote in the Poll!
And, again, feel free to drop any comments you might have during, before, or after the game below. I might be here during the game to drop my thoughts as well. Go Thunder!