After losing three of their last four games, including an embarrassing loss to the Chicago Bulls Monday night, the Orlando Magic will look to get back on the right track when they host the Phoenix Suns Wednesday night. After beating the Houston Rockets Sunday, the Suns had their four-game winning streak snapped by the Miami Heat Tuesday. The loss dropped the Suns to 23-23. The Magic enter with a record of 29-18.
The Magic rank 17th in offensive rating (103.8), 11th in defensive rating (101.9) and play at the league’s fifth-slowest pace (89.4). The Suns are 14th in offensive rating (104.6) and 20th in defensive rating (105.5). Chicago plays at the ninth-fastest pace in the league (92.2).
Tip-off from the the Amway Center is scheduled for 7:00 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 FM 96.5 and in Spanish on AM 1270 WRLZ.
The officials for tonight’s game are Greg Willard, David Jones and Ben Taylor.
The Line: Orlando – 8.0 (193.5u)
The Magic will welcome Marcin Gortat back to Orlando for the first time since trading Gortat, Vince Carter, Mickael Pietrus and a first round pick to the Suns in exchange for Earl Clark, Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu in December of 2010. In the offseason, Carter joined the Dallas Mavericks and Pietrus joined the Boston Celtics. Both Clark and Richardson became free agents, but the Magic resigned both players.
Gortat has blossomed in Phoenix, now averaging a dable dable (double double) in Phoenix (16.0 points and 10.1 rebounds per game) and leads the team in both scoring and rebounding. The Gortat-Dwight Howard battle will be fun to watch.
Gortat has obviously benefited from playing with an all time great in point guard Steve Nash. Nash, who was connected with Orlando before the trade deadline, is having a fantastic season. Not only is Nash again leading the league in assists (11.3 per game), but he’s scoring 13.4 ppg while shooting an incredible 54.4% from the field and 40.2% from beyond the arc. His true shooting percentage is 63.2% and he’s posting an effective field percentage of 59.6%.
(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 on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HtD app here)
Topics: Channing Frye, Chris Duhon, Deandre Liggins, Dwight Howard, Earl Clark, Glen Davis, Grant Hill, Hakim Warrick, Hedo Turkoglu, Ish Smith, J.j. Redick, Jameer Nelson, Jared Dudley, Jason Richardson, Marcin Gortat, Orlando Magic, Otis Smith, Phoenix Suns, Quentin Richardson, Ryan Anderson, Stan Van Gundy, Steve Nash, Von Wafer