Tuesday night’s contest at the Amway Center will feature two teams fighting for position – one in the NBA Playoffs and the other in the NBA Draft Lottery.
The Golden State Warriors (47-24, third in Western Conference) will pay their annual visit to Orlando as they look to take down a Magic team that is a respectable 6-6 in its last 12 games. Wendell Carter Jr. stole the show the last time out as a shorthanded Orlando team knocked off the Oklahoma City Thunder, 90-85.
Carter put himself in elite company with 30 points and 16 rebounds on 12-for-15 shooting. Carter joined Orlando legends Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard as the only players in franchise history to tally at least 30 points and 15 rebounds while shooting better than 80% in a contest.
Orlando (19-53, 14th in Eastern Conference) will again be without rookie guard Jalen Suggs at home on Tuesday night. Golden State however, isn’t the healthiest of teams either. Stephen Curry has missed the last two games and is expected to miss the remainder of the regular season for the Warriors while Andrew Wiggins saw his first action in more than a week in Sunday’s 110-108 heartbreaking loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Wiggins is day-to-day.
Golden State averages better than 111 points per game while the Magic rank just 28th in the NBA at better than 104 points per contest. The 90 points in Sunday’s win over Oklahoma City was the lowest for Orlando since a 116-83 loss to the Boston Celtics on Feb. 6. Prior to the victory, the Magic had allowed an average of 133.3 points per contest in their previous three games.
With Curry’s absence, the Warriors will rely on Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole. Those two combined for 52 points in Sunday’s loss to San Antonio. Guard Cole Anthony is the top scorer for the Magic, averaging 17 points per contest, but he has shot just a combined 5-for-22 from the field over his last two games.
Despite being shorthanded, Golden State will come in as a 8.5-point favorite. Curry led the way with 31 points and eight assists while the Warriors shot 20-for-40 from deep in a 125-96 victory when the teams met in San Francisco back on Dec. 6.
Contests in Orlando have been a different story in recent years. The Magic have won three straight at home over the Warriors. All three have required fourth-quarter rallies. Nikola Vucevic finished with a triple-double of 30 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists as the Magic erased a 13-point deficit in the final period for a 124-120 win last season.
Two years ago, the Magic held on to win a 100-96 nail-biter at the Amway Center. In February 2019, Orlando outscored Golden State 33-15 in the final period to erase another 13-point deficit and top the Warriors, 103-96.
Although Suggs will be a no-go for the Magic, the contest will feature two rookies worth paying attention to. Golden State’s Jonathan Kuminga and Orlando’s Franz Wagner were taken with consecutive top-10 picks in the 2021 NBA Draft.
Prior to the last two contests, Kuminga had scored in double figures in six straight games. Averaging 15.3 points per game, Wagner ranks among the top 10 for rookies in points, rebounds, assists, steals and player efficiency.
Tuesday night’s contest is set to tip after 7 p.m. ET. Magic fans can watch locally on Bally Sports Florida.
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