NBA Betting Preview
Orlando Magic at Cleveland Cavaliers
Friday, 8:30PM Eastern
Betus.com betting line – Cleveland -9, O/U 188
Orlando leads series 1-0
The Eastern Conference has truly had some outstanding match-ups throughout the post-season and it is quite evident that we may have one more left to play out. The Orlando Magic pulled off what many would consider an upset when they took down the Cleveland Cavaliers in Cleveland 107-106 in dramatic fashion. The Cavaliers jumped out to an early lead in the game leading by 15 at the half and it appeared as they would cruise to another home victory. However, the Magic answered back throughout the 2nd half and Rashard Lewis nailed a 3 pointer to cap the comeback in the closing seconds to capture the surprising win. Cleveland now looks to rebound tonight when they host Orlando for the 2nd game of the series. If somehow the Magic could find a way to win again, then it would be just completely devastating to Cleveland considering how they have dominated all year at home. However, Orlando would take complete control if that scenario were to happen as they get the next two games at home as well.
Orlando came out the gates with a sluggish start Wednesday night, but regrouped at the break which led to a solid 2nd half effort. The Magic will try to put together another similar effort and take down the Cavaliers twice at home; a feat no other team has done this year. Dwight Howard had a solid performance as always in Wednesday night’s showdown. Howard led the Magic with 30 points while shooting a strong 70% from the floor. Howard also grabbed 13 rebounds on the night. However, Rashard Lewis was perhaps the biggest aid in second half. Lewis was just 2 of 5 from the floor with 5 points in the first half, but ended up getting some momentum after the break. Lewis scored 17 second half points that included 3 for 3 behind the arc in the final quarters which handed Cleveland their first loss of the post-season. Hedo Turkoglu got in on the action dropping 15 and led the team with 14 assists on the night. Turkoglu and Lewis will be huge factors throughout the series and their ability to play strong will likely determine if the Magic can take down the series.
Cleveland completely appeared to be stunned after Wednesday night’s home loss in the opening game of the Conference Finals. The Cavaliers looked to be in control for most of the night, but could not hold off Orlando in the end. The loss certainly did not result from a lack of effort from the league’s reigning MVP. Lebron James played strong throughout the night and appeared to score at will. James put together a masterful 49 point performance that included 8 assists and 6 rebounds. However, Cleveland true downfall possibly came from the play of their defense which has been superb throughout the season. The Cavaliers have led the NBA all season in defense holding opponents to just 91 points on the year. However, the Cavaliers fell victim to a strong shooting performance from Orlando and allowed the Magic to shoot for 55% and 107 points both of which equal the worse Cleveland defensive performance of the postseason. The Cavaliers will look to get back the rhythm and stick to their style of play this Friday night when they will be 9 point favorites to try and get the series back all square.
Pick – Cleveland -9