|Written by Michael|
Bet on the NBABoth the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Orlando Magic are powerhouses in the NBA right now, with many observers predicting either of the two teams to show up in the NBA Finals in 2011.
And on Friday night, both teams will meet in Florida. Kevin Durant of the Thunder and Dwight Howard of the Magic are the two players to watch tonight.
The Thunder have not won a game in Orlando in nearly seven years, but with Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson as possible players tonight, the momentum may finally shift away from the Magic. The Magic are currently listed as the -6.5 favorites to win tonight. Oklahoma City is on top of the Northwest Division with their 36-20 record, a distinction they have not held since 2005 when they were the Seattle SuperSonics.
Kevin Durant has been a huge factor for the Thunder this season, and for the second season in a row, e is leading the NBA in scoring with 28.8 points. Both Durant and Serge Ibaka share a team-high 7.1 rebounds per game. The Thunder will be looking to newcomers Perkins and Robinson, who were traded from the Boston Celtics for Jeff Green, Nenard Kristic, cash, and a 2012 first-round draft pick.
The Magic are not to be counted out, however, and Dwight Howard is putting up a more-than-respectable 23.0 points per game. He also pulls down an average of 13.9 rebounds, ranking second in the NBA, and the Magic as a whole are currently in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. They will look to capitalize on Oklahoma City's poor defense, which allows an average of 102.3 points per game, which is the worst of any of the six division leaders in the NBA.
The last time the Thunder won in Orlando was March 13, 2004, but the Magic are currently in a bit of a slump, losing seven of their last 14 games. They only shot 26.3 percent from the field in the fourth quarter of their most recent loss to Sacramento 111-105 on Wednesday night. Over the last three games, Howard has been averaging 31.3 points per game and 13.3 rebounds, but the team itself is not performing up to its potential.