The Orlando Magic, who have lost three of their last four games, will try to snap out of their funk when they travel to Phoenix to take on the Suns Sunday afternoon.
The Suns will likely be without Steve Nash while the Magic will be without J.J. Redick.
These two teams met back on November 18, before they made their blockbuster trade. In that game, Orlando took a 62-34 lead into the half and cruised from there. Former Magic forward Grant Hill led all scorers with 21 points while Dwight Howard led the Magic with 20 points and 12 rebounds in just 30 minutes.
The Suns are sixth in pace (94.5), ninth in offensive rating (109.8) and 25th in defensive rating (110.0).
The game will be shown nationally on ABC. 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 U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona is scheduled for 3:30 pm EST.
The Line: Orlando – 5.0, 203u
Per Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel, neither Steve Nash (pubic symphysis/hamstring/back) or J.J. Redick (strained lower abdomen) will play.
Channing Frye is also out with a dislocated right shoulder.
The officials will be Ron Garretson, Curtis Blair and Pat Fraher.
Of Note:Marcin Gortat, Vince Carter, Mickael Pietrus, Jason Richardson, Earl Clark and Hedo Turkoglu will all face the club they started the season with today.
Opponent To Watch: Marcin Gortat, C – Mr. “Dable-Dable” isn’t the starter for the Phoenix Suns but he has seen more playing time since being trade from Orlando to Phoenix in December. In 36 games with the Suns, Gortat is averaging 11.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. Of course, this will be the first time Gortat has done battle with the league’s best center, Dwight Howard, outside of the practice court.
What To Watch For: The Magic gave up 21 three-pointers to the Golden State Warriors in a 122-119 overtime loss Friday.
“We are going to see the same thing on Sunday,” Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy said. “If we can’t defend the 3-point line, we are going to get our ass kicked again.”
He’s right – Phoenix still has a lot of guys who can put the ball in the basket. Of course, without Steve Nash playing, this is not a game Orlando should lose and if they do, there will be no excuses.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger 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: Aaron Brooks Brandon Bass Chris Duhon Dwight Howard Earl Clark Gilbert Arenas Hedo Turkoglu J.j. Redick Jameer Nelson Jason Richardson Marcin Gortat Mickael Pietrus Orlando Magic Phoenix Suns Quentin Richardson Ryan Anderson Stan Van Gundy Steve Nash Vince Carter