After a disappointing and telling loss to the Chicago Bulls Friday night, the Magic will start a four-game road trip when they take on the Sacramento Kings Friday evening.
The loss dropped the Magic to 5-3 while the Kings defeated the Milwaukee Bucks Thursday to improve to 3-5.
Orlando ranks ninth in offensive efficiency (102.5) and 12th in defensive efficiency (98.6). The Kings are 25th in offense (96.0) and 27th in defense (105.6)
Tip-off from the the Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento, California is scheduled for 6:00 pm EST. The game will be shown locally on Sun Sports.
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.
The officials for tonight’s game are Bill Kennedy, JT Orr and Michael Smith.
The Line: Orlando – 6.5 (192u)
Starting power forward Chuck Hayes will miss three to four weeks.
The Orlando Magic have no idea what to expect from the Sacramento Kings. The Kings just fired head coach Paul Westphal and tabbed Keith Smart as his replacement. Smart enjoyed a win over the Bucks in his first day as head coach Thursday.
“Sacramento, I have no idea,” Van Gundy explained Friday night. “A whole new offense, started putting it in last night. It’s two days of practice. It will be a weird game because we don’t have a lot of idea of what they’re doing.”
In Smart’s first game, he put the scoring responsibilities in the hands of his back court and they answered the call. Tyreke Evans scored 26 points while Marcus Thornton poured in 27 points, over half of the team’s 103 points.
Orlando’s back court of Jameer Nelson and Jason Richardson are going to have their hands full trying to cover those guards. Both players have really struggled on both sides of the ball, so they’ll really have to step it up.
DeMarcus Cousins is always an interesting topic. Sure, he, like every other big man, can’t play with Dwight Howard, but Cousins has the talent to at least compete with him. Cousins has always had some problems upstairs and really didn’t get along with Westphal. In his first game under Smart, Cousins scored 19 points and 15 rebounds. If Cousins has his head on straight, he does present a challenge for Howard.
This will be the first chance for Orlando fans to get a good look at Jimmer-mania. Former BYU star Jimmer Fredette is scoring 9.4 points per game but is shooting 36.7% from the field and 31.4% from beyond the arc.
This is another game the Magic should be able to run away with it. However, with the Kings and running a new offense, having not played since Friday and Orlando making their first cross-country trip, it could be a tough night.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider (http://ESPNFlorida.com) and is the co-host of the ESPNFlorida.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him onTwitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here)
Topics: Chris Duhon, Demarcus Cousins, Dwight Howard, Glen Davis, Hedo Turkoglu, J.j. Redick, Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, Jimmer Fredette, John Salmons, Keith Smart, Larry Hughes, Marcus Thornton, Orlando Magic, Otis Smith, Quentin Richardson, Ryan Anderson, Sacramento Kings, Stan Van Gundy, Von Wafer