|2009/2010 NBA Season|
|November 8th, 2009|
|Jameer Nelson||PG||Russell Westbrook|
|J.J. Redick||SG||Thabo Sefolosha|
|Matt Barnes||SF||Kevin Durant|
|Brandon Bass||PF||Jeff Green|
|Dwight Howard||C||Nenad Krstic|
The Orlando Magic aim to stay among the league's five one-loss teams today when they visit the Oklahoma City Thunder. Despite its sub-par record of 2-3, Oklahoma City should present the Magic with a bit of a challenge. The Thunder took the defending champion L.A. Lakers to overtime just last Tuesday, losing by 3 points when Kevin Durant's trey to send the game to a second overtime period airballed. They're also surprisingly effective defensively, ranking 7th in defensive efficiency, 2nd in turnover rate, and 7th in defensive rebound percentage. No, the Thunder aren't an opponent for the Magic to take lightly.
It doesn't help the Magic that they'll still be without several regular, as has been the case for most of the season. Vince Carter and Ryan Anderson--two opening-night starters and the team's second- and third-leading scorers are out with sprained ankles, while Rashard Lewis is still serving a 10-game steroid suspension. Matt Barnes is sick but will play, and Anthony Johnson will be available after missing Friday's win over Detroit due to personal reasons. All told, 9 Magic players will dress tonight, just one more than the league minimum. Expect to see more unconventional lineups, perhaps featuring Barnes at power forward, J.J. Redick at small forward, and Jameer Nelson at shooting guard.
The game tips at 7. Let's see if the shorthanded Magic can pull out another win against a worthy foe.