The Golden State Warriors will take on the Orlando Magic on Thursday night in the NBA.
The Warriors (13-12, 8-5 home) have been pretty solid in their last 4 games despite having to play with a center on their roster. They had a big win over the Mavs, then followed two close losses against the Mavs and the Spurs, which hurt them – because Golden State played well, but because of silly errors they lost games they should / could have won, and went to a 12-12 record instead of 14-0. Nevertheless, they recovered two nights ago with another big win against the Spurs.
The Magic (9-16, 4-8 away) had a strong start to the season, but quickly fell off the map and the team has been dreadful recently. The Magic have won just once in their last 7 games – a four point victory against the below average Bulls. They have also been horrific on the road. In 2021 they won a single road game, barely edging the worst team in the league (Minnesota) due to a rushed, buzzer beating three pointer.
The Warriors will still be without a center, as Looney, Wiseman and Chriss are all injured. Klay Thompson, of course, misses the entire season. The Magic have struggled with injuries lately, part of the reason for which they have been so bad. Gordon, Fultz and Isaac, are all out, while Fournier, Carter-William, Anthony and Aminu are all questionable – so the Magic will hope to get some players back.
The Warriors are priced a little above 1.30 to win this game, and I think even that is too high – even if the Magic could get back some of their players.
Golden State has looked good recently, and playing without a center hasn’t helped them. In fact, one could argue they played even better. Their small ball lineups have always been their strength. Green and Toscano Anderson played with energy at the center position despite being undersized, and did a great job rebounding the ball and making life tough for the opposing team’s bigs.
The Warriors have been really solid this season against inferior teams. They have won 7 out of 9 games when they were considered the favorites. That speaks volumes and confirmed what I said at the start of the season, that the Warriors are underrated without Klay Thompson, and there will be some money to be made on them – especially after a few games when the new pieces learn the system. And it happened. Oubre and Wiggins are finally starting to look good (Wiggins has been for some while, Oubre just recently seems to have figured things out).
No matter how many players the Magic get back, if they do, the Warriors should still win this rather comfortably at home, where they are 8-5, and playing a struggling team which hasn’t had a meaningful road victory since December. Knowing and following Golden State, this really feels like a game they will win. This is what they have done this season, lose two, then win two. 10 of their 12 wins came in bunches of two in a row, and I’m betting they will follow up their success in San Antonio with another one tonight.
The point spread is tempting, but I will stay on the safe side and bet Golden State to win straight up. You might consider the odds to be too low, but for me they are solid and high enough to attack with a singles bet. Prediction: Golden State Warriors – Orlando Magic 117 – 102.