Orlando (20-33) at Houston (37-17)
When: Tuesday, February 7th 2017
Where: Toyota Center, Houston, TX
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: NBA TV
The struggling Orlando Magic hope to break a two-game road losing streak when they visit the high-flying Houston Rockets on Tuesday night at Toyota Center in Houston. Orlando got a nice home victory over the Toronto Raptors on Friday night, but then fell flat the next night in Atlanta for a 113-86 setback. The defense let the Magic down against Atlanta and they will need to patch that up or they will be looking at their 14th loss in 18 games. Serge Ibaka scored 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting Friday but dropped to five points on 2-of-9 from the floor Saturday against the Hawks. Veteran Jeff Green came off the bench to contribute 12 points and has upped his scoring average to 9.5. Aaron Gordon, who averages 11.3 points a game, scored 16 on Saturday after a dreadful night against Toronto. Gordon was 0-for-7 from the field and totaled one point in 28 minutes of action. Shooting guard Evan Fournier is shooting 34.9% in four games since returning from a heel injury. Orlando dropped the first meeting with Houston this season, a 100-94 home loss on January 6th. The Magic host Philadelphia on Thursday.
The Rockets received a much-needed three days rest over the weekend after a four week stretch saw them drop eight of 14 games. The Rockets return to action seeking their first back-to-back wins since a nine-game winning streak came to an end on January 10th. All-Star point guard James Harden recorded 42 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists on Friday and Houston escaped with a 121-117 overtime victory over the Chicago Bulls. Houston has a chance to get some momentum back with each of its next six games against teams with sub-.500 records, and four of those six at home. Harden found his form in the last two games, averaging 41.5 points, 10 rebounds and 8.5 assists after combining to go 6-of-26 from the floor in the previous two. Harden got some help on Friday from shooting guard Eric Gordon, who scored 21 points while going 5-of-10 from 3-point range and is averaging 18.8 points and shooting 43.7% from long range in wins but dips to 13.9 points and 26.3% in losses. Power forward Ryan Anderson went scoreless on 0-of-7 shooting Friday to snap a string of six straight games scoring in double figures.
Houston should be well rested and have no trouble putting away this Magic team. I don’t like to lay double-digits, but I can see this one getting ugly.
Pick: Rockets -11