It’s hard to believe but the Orlando Magic started the season off by winning eight of their first 12 games. All that positivity went poof faster than coach Frank Vogel can say Bismack Biyombo as the club won just four of its next 30 games.
The Magic have a likely All-Star in fourth-year forward Aaron Gordon. Outside of that there aren’t many positive things to say about Orlando’s roster. The team doesn’t like its starting point guard, doesn’t know what to do with Mario Hezonja and hates the fact the its offense went in the tank the minute Nikola Vucevic busted up his hand.
The Wizards should be motivated to play hard tonight after ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith went nuclear on them on First Take on Thursday.
Pick: Wizards -10.5
Head coach Steve Clifford is cleared to participate in practices again and should be on the bench coaching his club in the next week. Clifford took a medical leave on Dec. 4 because of continued migraines and, not to make light of another man’s pain, but watching the Hornets play basketball on a nightly basis won’t help his headaches.
Charlotte is coming off a 4-point home loss to the Mavericks as a 6.5-point favorite. The Hornets should be able to give a better performance with Clifford holding the whistle in the team’s next practice.
Pick: Hornets -4
Yesterday’s pick: 0-1
Season record: 78-88
*The over is 4-1 in the Cavaliers’ last five games.
*The over is 5-1-1 in the Wizards’ last seven home games.
*The under is 18-7-1 in the Nets’ last 26 games.
*The over is 6-0 in the Warriors’ last six games.
*The under is 7-1 in the T-Wolves’ last eight games.
*The over is 5-1 in the Blazers’ last six games.
*The over is 13-3 in the last 16 meetings between the Suns and Rockets.
Injury of Note
The Blazers-Pelicans line is off the board this morning because of the questionable status of Anthony Davis. The Pelicans All-Star big man sprained his ankle earlier this week and sat out on Wednesday against the Grizzlies – a game the Pelicans lost and failed to cover as 1-point road underdogs. Davis is averaging 25.8 points and 10.3 rebounds per game and New Orleans is 3-3 straight up and 4-2 against the spread without Davis this season.
Ref to Watch
The Utah Jazz have played under the closing total in each of their last nine games refed by Bill Spooner. Spooner is the lead official in tonight’s game between the Hornets and Jazz in Charlotte. The total is set at 206.5.
*The Hornets are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 home games.
*The Cavaliers are 0-8 ATS in their last eight road games.
*The Nets are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games.
*The Hawks are 12-5-1 ATS in their last 18 games.
*The Timberwolves are 4-0 ATS in their last four home games.
*The Blazers are 10-3 ATS in their last 13 road games.
*The Pelicans are 1-5 ATS in their last six games.
*The Grizzlies are 5-1 ATS in their last six games.
Nearly 70 percent of Covers contest players are backing the Houston Rockets to cover as 7-point road chalk against the Phoenix Suns. You can find the entire list of NBA consensus picks here.