Fixture: Orlando Magic vs Houston Rockets - NBA Season 2020-21
Date & Time: Friday, January 8, 2021, 8 PM ET
Venue: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
Orlando Magic Preview
The Orlando Magic tallied another win on Thursday night to go to 6-2 on the year.
Orlando's play has been the surprise of the season thus far. If the season were to end today, the Magic would be the second seed in the Eastern Conference.
The reason for the early season dominance of the Magic needs to be credited to their outstanding defense. Orlando ranks in the top five in defensive efficiency, allowing 106.1 points per 100 possessions, according to cleaningtheglass.com.
For a team that was thought to be another year away due to Jonathan Issac's injury and the loss of Markelle Fultz for the rest of the year with an ACL injury, they look like a playoff-caliber team in the Eastern Conference.
Key Player - Cole Anthony
Cole Anthony is the key player for the Orlando Magic. Anthony will be expected to fill in that starting point guard role with Markelle Fultz suffering an ACL injury in the previous outing and being out for the season. The 15th overall pick in the 2020 draft is averaging 8.6 points on just 30.3% shooting from the field.
If the Magic are to continue their run and beat the Houston Rockets, Anthony will have to take his game up a notch.
Orlando Magic Predicted Lineup
G Cole Anthony, G Dwayne Bacon, F Gary Clark, F Aaron Gordon, C Nikola Vucevic
Houston Rockets Preview
The Houston Rockets will be looking to bounce back from a road loss to the Indiana Pacers.
The Rockets will be happy to return to their home court on Friday night, as they have not won a game on the road this season.
Aside from the Rockets' road struggles, they are the opposite of their upcoming opponent and rank in the bottom five for defensive efficiency, according to cleaningtheglass.com, allowing 114.8 points per 100 possessions.
If the Rockets are to end their two-game losing streak and beat the Orlando Magic on Friday, they need to better their defensive rotations.
Key Player - James Harden
The Rockets' key player to get back on track and beat the Orlando Magic will be James Harden. The three-time scoring champion is leading his team with 29.4 points per game.
However, Harden put up just 15 points on 35.7% shooting in the loss to the Pacers.
The Houston Rockets will need their 2018 MVP to get back to his normal scoring averages to earn a victory over the Orlando Magic.
Houston Rockets Predicted Lineup
G John Wall, G James Harden, F David Nwaba, F P.J. Tucker, C DeMarcus Cousins
Magic vs Rockets prediction
The Orlando Magic will continue to surprise people this season and go to 7-2 on the year with a victory over the Houston Rockets on Friday night. The Magic will be able to shut down the Rockets' offense with their superb defensive effort and put together enough offense of their own against a sluggish Houston team on the defensive end.
Where to watch Magic vs Rockets
The local telecast of the game will be available on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. You can also livestream the same via the NBA League Pass.Published 08 Jan 2021, 04:58 IST