When the Magic take the court to face the Blazers tonight, they will be starting a treacherous 4 game road trip where they will have to face the Blazers, Clippers, Jazz and Nuggets. This will be a very important road trip for Orlando because it will test their ability to withstand two of the more powerhouse teams of the Western Conference. This will be Dwight Howard and the Magic’s first trip out west for the year and it should give a real idea of how well they can play when they are put outside of their element.
The Magic are supposed to get their starting point guard Jameer Nelson back tonight from a stomach ailment that has kept him out of action for the last 3 games. On the other side of the ball, the Blazers are also supposed to get their starting point guard back tonight, but for very different reasons: Andre Miller was suspended one game because of an altercation with Blake Griffin. Blazers back-up center Joel Pryzbilla is supposed to miss this game for personal reasons [grandmothers funeral], and that will definitely hurt the Blazers depth when they try to guard the best center in the league in Dwight Howard. The Magic are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 meetings versus the Blazers and are also 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games playing on two days rest, which I honestly think is very important when you are handicapping specific NBA teams.
My lean here is on Orlando because of it being their first game on this west coast road trip and the fact I think the Blazers will have a very tough time guarding Dwight Howard in this one.