The Orlando Magic will be back in action when they kick off their west coast road trip in Portland against the Trail Blazers Thursday night. The two teams split their season series last year with Orlando winning 92-83 at the Amway Center and Portland winning 102-87 later in the season at the Rose Garden.
The Blazers enter the game with a disappointing record of 10-11 but have won two straight games after losing six consecutive games. The Magic fell to 15-6 after back-to-back losses to the Milwaukee Bucks Saturday night and the Atlanta Hawks Monday night. They had previously won six straight games and 10 of their last 11 games.
The game will be shown locally by Sun Sports and nationally by TNT. As always, if you can’t watch the game, you can listen on the radio – in English on AM 580 WDBO and in Spanish on AM 1270 WRLZ.
Tip-off from the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon is scheduled for 10:30 pm EST.
Jameer Nelson should be back in the lineup, giving the Magic their first full squad in the last five games.
“Jameer practiced. Everything is fine,” coach Stan Van Gundy said. “He looked good.”
Nelson missed games last week on the road against the Detroit Pistons and the Milwaukee Bucks, and Monday’s night’s home game against the Atlanta Hawks.
Van Gundy said that Nelson isn’t expected to have any problems playing on the four-game trip out West, which begins Thursday night in Portland, Ore.
Andre Miller will return from his suspension after he blasted Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Line: Orlando – 2.5
Portland Trail Blazers
The officials will be Bill Kennedy, Mark Lindsay, and Zach Zarba.
Opponent To Watch: Brandon Roy, G – Roy averages more points per game against the Magic (24.3) than he does against any other team. Roy is having another good season, but a little disappointing by his standards. His scoring (18.2 ppg), field goal percentage (41.4%), assists (2.8 apg) and rebounds (3.1 rpg) are all way down from his career averages (20.1 ppg, 46.4%, 4.8 apg, 4.5 rpg).
What To Watch For: How the Magic preform with their team intact. It will be the first time since their victory over Detroit last Tuesday that they will have their full unit of players left. The Magic played their worst game of the season in their 80-74 loss to the Hawks on Monday night, so it will be interesting to see how they respond. With Jameer Nelson back, I’d expect one of Orlando’s better efforts.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, co-host of CB Sports Radio from 5-7 pm week days (1420sports.com) and ESPN 1080′s Magic Insider (http://espn1080.com). Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).
Tags: Andre Miller Brandon Bass Brandon Roy Dwight Howard Greg Oden J.j. Redick Jameer Nelson Lamarcus Aldridge Nicolas Batum Orlando Magic Portland Trail Blazers Quentin Richardson Rashard Lewis Rudy Fernandez Vince Carter Wesley Matthews