|2009/2010 NBA Season|
|November 13th, 2009|
|Rafer Alston||PG||Jameer Nelson|
|Trenton Hassell||SG||Vince Carter|
|Bobby Simmons||SF||Mickael Pietrus|
|Josh Boone||PF||Matt Barnes|
|Brook Lopez||C||Dwight Howard|
|October 30th: Magic 95, Nets 85|
|Eddie F. Rush|
In a matchup of injury-depleted teams, the Orlando Magic will host the New Jersey Nets tonight and aim to take out their frustration after losing decisively to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a nationally televised game on Wednesday. Magic power forward Ryan Anderson and shooting guard Vince Carter, both acquired from New Jersey this summer, have missed time with sprained ankles, but the Magic's injury woes can't compare with those of the Nets. They dressed only 7 players for their last game, a heartbreaking, 3-point defeat against the Philadelphia 76ers. 4 of their 5 opening-night starters missed that game due to injury; the lone exception was center Brook Lopez.
New Jersey likely won't have small forward/H1N1 patient Chris Douglas-Roberts available tonight, although he traveled with the team to Florida. Courtney Lee, however, is optimistic he'll return from the strained groin that sidelined him for the last two games. Likewise, the Magic will be yet another man down, as power forward Brandon Bass is out with the flu, leaving Matt Barnes to start in his place. The Magic have 3 power forwards on their 13-man roster, and none of them will be available tonight. Look for Marcin Gortat and even Mickael Pietrus to spend time at the four when Barnes heads to the bench.
On the surface, it might appear that Orlando has this game in the bag. The Nets have been arguably the league's worst team so far--and are indeed the only winless team left--but it is, after all, Friday the 13th. Josh Robbins details the Magic's history on this ominous day here.
Again, beating the Nets should be a cinch for the Magic, even without Anderson and Rashard Lewis, their sharpshooting power forwards whose absence has shrunk the floor and stifled the offense. It should be noted, though, that New Jersey took a 2-point lead into the 4th quarter against Eastern Conference juggernaut Boston last Saturday, only to fall apart in the final frame en route to a 10-point loss.
The game tips at 7. If coach Stan Van Gundy got his message across, co-captains Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson will be more active defensively. Tune in to see if Howard is able to shrug off the foul trouble that's plagued him throughout the last week and deliver a dominant performance. Carter is another player to watch; he got off to a blazing start in the first meeting between these teams, with 16 points in 15 minutes, before spraining his ankle stepping on Devin Harris' foot.