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The 2019-20 NBA campaign resumes play this week and two Eastern Conference playoff hopefuls clash in what promises to be a compelling encounter from Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
Can Steve Clifford's men leapfrog Brooklyn into the seventh seed, albeit having played a game extra? Or will a depleted Nets side take advantage to prevail against their closest rivals and spring an early surprise as the season resumes in the bubble?
Read my basketball preview, for the best betting odds ahead of this interesting H2H matchup.
Brooklyn Nets vs Orlando Magic preview
There couldn't be a more tightly-contested fixture for both these sides to return with, than against their direct conference rivals this weekend.
Brooklyn (30-34) and Orlando (30-35) are both well-placed to finish in the East's top eight seeds, barring a major collapse.
After all, the Washington Wizards (24-40) are the East's only representative outside the current playoff picture invited to the 22-team resumption.
Key players to watch out for:
Brooklyn: Caris LeVert - The small forward turned shooting guard is enjoying career-highs in points (17.7), rebounds (4.1) and three-point percentage (38.1%).
After his determined display against Utah in their final scrimmage, it's clear that he'll be key if they have any chance of winning here.
Orlando: Jonathan Isaac - A lot has been said about Markelle Fultz's progression over the past twelve months, but the Magic largely had him and Isaac to thank for beating Denver in their last scrimmage. He's been sidelined for almost eight months and the third-year forward was quietly impressive beforehand. They'll need a big display from him here, presumably off the bench.
Brooklyn Nets vs Orlando Magic head to head
A lot has been said about the Nets' injury crisis. Kevin Durant (Achilles) and Kyrie Irving (shoulder) are still not available until the 2020-21 season, while influential guard Spencer Dinwiddie and others are also sidelined.
It means Orlando go into this game as favourites, given Brooklyn's depleted roster as it stands - though that's a double-edged sword in itself.
Considering they've won three of their last four H2H encounters, dating back to February 2019, the Magic will target another here.
Form is rendered obsolete after a near five-month hiatus and although scrimmages have helped players gain some semblance of match sharpness, it's always difficult to predict how some will react to such unprecedented circumstances.
Given their ever-increasing offensive creativity and the fact they've scored less than 100 points just once in 13 previous matches, it'd be a safe bet to predict the Magic to record 100 or more here too. However, Brooklyn will relish the chance to silence critics here.
Orlando Magic to win
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