Orlando Magic Look For Payback Against Boston

By: Adam Markowitz | Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Few are talking about the NBA trading season just yet, as seven weeks are left until general managers have to make their final moves for the year. However, the seemingly certain deal involving Dwight Howard remains the proverbial elephant in the room anytime the Orlando Magic are mentioned.

It's not a matter of will Howard be dealt, but rather a discussion of when and where arguably the best center in the game is going to be traded.

Magic GM Otis Smith is still holding out hope that he can convince the cornerstone of his franchise to accept a contract extension that would keep him in Orlando for at least the next four years. However, if the team puts up too many more efforts like the 87-56 beat down suffered against the Boston Celtics on Monday night, Howard will have no reason to want to stay in the Sunshine State.

Orlando only scored 20 points in the second half Monday at the TD Garden, setting franchise-lows for the fewest points scored in a game (56) and the fewest field goals made in a game (16). The 24.5 shooting percentage was as woeful as any team has shot in a game this year, and Howard was the only man in the Magic lineup that scored more than seven points.

The Magic will have a shot at some retribution on Thursday night when they are back at Amway Center to take on Celtics for the second time this week.

The home team has won six in a row in this series and is 5-0-1 against the spread in that span. This could be a low scoring game as well. The 'under' has gone 19-7 in the last 26 clashes, while Orlando has gone 38-17 'under' in its last 55 games.

Tip time from the City Beautiful is set for 8:00 p.m. (ET) on Thursday night on TNT.

In the second half of the TNT doubleheader at 10:30 (ET), the Los Angeles Clippers will battle it out with the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center.

Memphis was on a roll coming into play on Tuesday, winning seven in a row and going 6-1 ATS in that stretch. The Grizzlies were clocked 97-84 by the Portland Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden on Tuesday though, and continue this four-game road trip in Lob City.

The Clippers are hoping to get Chris Paul back in the lineup from his hamstring injury either on Wednesday against the Los Angeles Lakers or Thursday against the Grizz. He has been out of the fold since January 14, though in that stretch, the team has been a respectable 3-2 SU and ATS.

This is the first meeting of the year between these two teams after splitting four games last season. Both teams won once at home and once on the road.

The Grizzlies are 45-20-1 ATS in their last 66 conference games, while the Clippers are just 13-38 ATS in their last 51 against Southwest Division foes. Memphis has covered four out of its last five at Staples Center against the Clippers.

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