Big Test For Magic

Dwight Howard has helped the Orlando Magic start out 7-0 on the road for the first time in franchise history. That mark will severely be put to the test against Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs, who are 6-0 at home.

The two superstar forwards will square off the first time this season Wednesday night when Orlando looks for its sixth straight win overall.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made San Antonio –5.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 189 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 59% of bets for this game have been placed on San Antonio –5.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

Howard was named the Eastern Conference's player of the week for averaging 23.2 points and 13.3 rebounds while Orlando went 4-0. He leads the NBA with 10 double-doubles, and is averaging 22.2 points and 14.3 rebounds this season.

The fourth-year forward is a major reason why the Magic (10-2) have matched the 12-game starts of the 1994-95 and 1995-96 clubs for the best in franchise history. Both of those teams also won their 13th game.

The Magic have split six games against the Spurs (9-2) since Howard's career began in 2004. He's averaged 14.5 points and 10.0 rebounds in those games, while Duncan averaged 24.7 points and 12.2 boards against him.

The last NBA team to open with eight straight road wins was the 1996-97 Houston Rockets. Orlando is the only team in the league yet to lose a game away from home.

Howard has received plenty of help from prized offseason acquisition Rashard Lewis, who is averaging 22.0 points and shooting nearly 53 percent during the Magic's five-game winning streak. Lewis has made an NBA-high 39 3-pointers for the season, including seven in the last two games - wins over Boston and New Orleans.

"It's still a confidence booster," Lewis said after a 95-88 victory at New Orleans on Monday. "Obviously, Boston is a great team, New Orleans is a good team."

Orlando made a trade Tuesday, acquiring forward Brian Cook and guard Maurice Evans from the Los Angeles Lakers for Trevor Ariza. Both played sparingly for the Lakers, but could improve the Magic's depth.

"Brian helps bolster our frontcourt," Orlando general manager Otis Smith said. "He is a power forward who shoots the ball extremely well, while also bringing added toughness to our roster. Maurice is a tremendous athlete, a solid defender and capable of playing multiple positions. Both Brian and Maurice fit in very well with what we are trying to accomplish."

San Antonio (9-2) won for the sixth time in seven games, 95-83 at Atlanta on Tuesday. Tony Parker scored 17 of his 31 points in the second quarter as the Spurs built a 17-point halftime lead and cruised to victory.

Duncan was fairly quiet with 13 points, seven rebounds and a season-high six assists. Manu Ginobili scored 19 points for the second straight game, but failed to record an assist for the first time this season.

"We lost two important games against Phoenix and Dallas early in the season, so we knew we had to bring it for 48 minutes," Ginobili said. "We were just trying to be aggressive, get back on track."

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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