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There are only two games on the schedule tonight, but you couldn't ask for a better matchup right now than the Celtics traveling to Orlando to face the Magic. Orlando sits atop the league-wide standings with a record of 33-8, and are on a seven-game winning streak, with recent road victories over the Lakers and the Spurs. The Celtics aren't far behind, with a record of 35-9 and are riding a six-game winning streak of their own.
Besides the won-loss records, there's something else that makes this one interesting: these teams don't seem to like each other very much.
In the teams' first meeting of the season back at the beginning of December, the Celtics were rolling, and the Magic hadn't really found themselves yet. Besides, Orlando really wasn't at full strength: Jameer Nelson was out with an injury, and Marcin Gortat was still undiscovered.
Boston ended up cruising to a 19-point victory, but the game was hotly contested throughout: the teams were whistled for a total of eight technical fouls. With this one in Orlando, and the Magic at full strength, it's a big test to see how far they've come since then. And the Celtics are obviously still among the league's elite, and are capable of beating anyone, anywhere. This one should be as good as advertised.UNDERCARD
All-Star Starters Announcement, 7PM ET, TNT
With apologies to the Lakers and Wizards, this studio show where the starters for this year's All-Star game are officially announced is likely to be a lot more interesting. Sure, the biggest question has already been answered, but with the crew breaking down the rest of the selections -- as well as ripping the process when discussing Tracy McGrady's likely selection as a starter ahead of Chris Paul -- this should be more fun than the second game of the double header.Washington at L.A. Lakers, 10:30PM ET, TNT
Theoretically, there's no good reason to watch this game. The Wizards have just one more win (9) than the Lakers have losses (8), so this should be an easy victory for the home team. But the same could have been said for Wednesday's game between the Lakers and the Clippers, and Andrew Bynum went off for 42 and 15.
Caron Butler and Kobe Bryant are close, and they usually go pretty hard at one another in these games. So I guess you never know.
Thursday's NBA Guide: Celtics vs. Magic Takes Center Stage originally appeared on NBA FanHouse on Thu, 22 Jan 2009 16:30:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.