The Golden State Warriors face the Orlando Magic in the third game of their road trip and on the second night of a Floridian back-to-back. The Magic are sitting at 6-10 with all of their wins coming against Eastern Conference bottom-dwellers, but they are an intriguing team that will be tougher than they have been in previous years since Dwight Howard's departure.
The Miami-Orlando back-to-back is no trivial matter. Florida is full of distractions: nightclubs, beaches, rollercoasters, A LIFE-SIZE RECREATION OF THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER. As a result, some of the Warriors players may not be as well-rested as they would be in some other state. Also, let's just take a moment to imagine Ognjen Kuzmic wandering around Disney World with a Mickey Mouse hat on - it's a good image.
Similar to Marco Polo, Western Conference squads have found riches on their trips to the East this season. The West is winning two thirds of its games against the East, but a back-to-back on a road trip is always a trial for a team early in the season. Already on this current road trip, the Warriors have had to grind a game out against a gritty Oklahoma City defense and weather the storm against an absolutely on-fire Miami first-half offense.
The backcourt match ups will be fun in this game; Victor Oladipo, Evan Fournier, and Elfrid Payton are all promising young players and who have the license to attack and try to create in the Orlando offense. Oladipo is just finding his legs after coming back from an injury, but he and Payton will try to pressure Curry and force some of those dreaded Warriors turnovers. However, defenders have had the luxury of leaving Payton wide open all year, as he can't shoot a lick. Payton has lost his starting job to Fournier, who is shooting 45% from three this year and is in the running for BNH (Best New Hair). All that being said, look for Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to dominate these Orlando guards.
The Warriors had trouble with the shooting bigs of Miami on Tuesday night, so Channing Frye may be a problem for them. Look for Draymond Green or Harrison Barnes to guard him while Andrew Bogut picks up Nikola Vucevic. Either one of these players can track Frye outside the three point line but will need help on the 7-footer in the post.
The Magic are a middling team coming off of a huge loss against the Cavaliers. The Warriors are looking to be an elite team trying to take care of business on the road. Hopefully the Warriors can pick up a comfortable road win after two tough ones and keep their winning streak alive.