It is starting to see more and more likely that the Magic are going to be keeping Dwight Howard at the trade deadline, and if that does turn out to be the case, they had better hope that they don’t have too many more efforts like they had against the Charlotte Bobcats over the course of the week if they want their big man to stay. Orlando blew a huge lead in the game, and blew it against a team that had just four wins on the season. This could be a turning point in the wrong direction over the course of the next week, and if that ends up being the case, perhaps GM Otis Smith will have no choice but to deal Howard in spite of the fact that at times, he is the only thing that is keeping this team going on a regular basis. Ryan Anderson is still in the midst of a career year, and JJ Redick has definitely evolved into a legitimate No. 2 guard in this league, but the lack of play at the point guard spot by Jameer Nelson, who is easily having the worst year of his career, isn’t helping matters any.
Derrick Rose stepped up and knocked down the shot that beat the Milwaukee Bucks last night for the Bulls. Sure, it wasn’t the prettiest win in the world, and it didn’t nearly cover the spread, but wins are wins, and when you are trying to hold off the Miami Heat for the best record in the Eastern Conference, at times, you are going to have to win games like that when an inferior team gives you a superior game. Chicago has now rolled off eight straight wins, and it has done it in all sorts of forms. One night it is the team defense, one night it is Rose knocking down some crazy shots, one night it is the big men that are dominating… you get the point. In that win against Milwaukee, you can plainly see why this team is so good. Rose had 30 points, 11 assists, and eight boards. Joakim Noah had a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng both found their way to double digits in scoring. Yes, it would be nice to get Richard Hamilton back in the fold, but he clearly isn’t needed all that much. The Bulls are just rolling.
The Final Word: Chicago is clearly the better side in this one, and it is most certainly going to show. Orlando has a good core in place, but in the end, the team just isn’t all that great and takes far too many mental lapses, especially on the road. Look for this to be a disappointing night for the men from O-Town.
Orlando Magic @ Chicago Bulls Free Pick: Chicago Bulls -6.5
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.