OKC Thunder vs Orlando Magic Preview & Predictions

The Oklahoma City Thunder (23-24) take on the Orlando Magic (15-35) in a battle of two teams desperately trying to build some momentum as we edge closer to the All-Star break.

The Thunder still sit 10th in the Western Conference, and they missed a chance to narrow the gap separating them from 8th place with consecutive losses to the Knicks and Grizzlies. OKC has now dropped four of their last five.

The Magic, meanwhile, have dropped eight straight, and while the playoffs are never really out of the question in the East, they certainly don't look like making a run any time soon. They've now given up at least 100 points in 12 straight games dating back to January 7.

Vital Stats

Where? Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK

When? 8:00 PM ET

What Channel? Fox Sports Oklahoma

Previous Meetings: Oklahoma won the only other matchup this season 127-99 on January 18

What To Watch For

Oklahoma's Chemistry

OKC's biggest problem this year has been a lack of chemistry, but it's impossible to blame the players for that. Multiple injuries to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have prevented them from finding a groove, and there have also been new faces coming in via trades that haven't been able to gel yet. Now that everyone is back in action and (close to) healthy, the Thunder should finally start to get on the same page. The Hawks and Grizzlies are one thing, but if they can't get it together against a floundering Magic squad, the problems run deeper than anyone thought.

Can the Magic play some defense?

The last meeting between these two teams was a disaster for Orlando, and they allowed the Thunder to shoot a gaudy 57.8% from the floor. Seven OKC players reached double figures, and every single Oklahoma starter shot over 50% on the night. If the Magic want to give themselves a chance this evening, they'll need to do better.

Prediction: Thunder win, 114-94

Oklahoma City has their backs against the wall in the Western Conference playoff race, and that doesn't bode well for an Orlando team desperately trying to find a spark. The Thunder are overdue for a big win, and now that they have their full squad back in action, it's hard to see the Magic getting anything out of this one.

Look for a big game from Kevin Durant and an entertaining battle between Orlando's Nikola Vujevic and OKC's Serge Ibaka/Steven Adams combo.

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