Orlando Magic vs. Sacramento Kings (Jan. 27, 2021): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

The Orlando Magic may not quite be ready to come back to earth after completing a five-game run with at least 120 points. (Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images)
The Orlando Magic may not quite be ready to come back to earth after completing a five-game run with at least 120 points. (Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images) /

The Orlando Magic continue their homestand with a game against the Sacramento Kings, nearly a week after their last game because of COVID postponements.

Sacramento Kings (6-10) vs. Orlando Magic (8-10)


7 p.m./FOX Sports Florida




$9-$451 on StubHub

2021 Season Series:

Tonight in Orlando; Feb. 12 in Sacramento

PaceOff. Rtg.Def. Rtg.eFG%O.Reb.%TO%FTR

OMD Prediction

The Orlando Magic have to be feeling better about how they are playing. They are moving the ball better and they got down and defended better in Monday’s win. That is all a positive sign. They probably feel some unease thinking how much this hot shooting will continue. The team’s defense is still woefully inconsistent. But it is trending better.

The Sacramento Kings will not put the same defensive pressure on the Orlando Magic as the Charlotte Hornets did. Their defense is susceptible to all kinds of attacks. They are by far the worst defensive team in the league. So if the Magic needed an opponent to keep building their good habits, this is one where they can do it and find a lot of effectiveness.

This game though will turn on the Magic’s defense. Orlando has to be solid defensively, limit turnovers and keep De’Aaron Fox from getting out in transition and downhill toward the basket. The Kings can create pressure this way. Orlando will have to be on point to slow that down and the team is going to have to make shots to take advantage of Sacramento’s biggest weakness.

Prediction. 107. 84. 118. 38

3 Keys To Watch

Strong Start

This will be the second time the Orlando Magic will play a team that had at least a two games postponed before they meet. The team got a surprise day off before the last meeting against the Boston Celtics. And unlike that meeting, the Sacramento Kings will have practiced as the COVID issues were with their opponent for the two games that got postponed. But the same dilemma remains. The Kings should still have a fair amount of rust. Or an extreme amount of focus.

That is going to put the first quarter squarely in focus. The Orlando Magic struggled in the first quarter of Monday’s win over the Charlotte Hornets, making just 6 of 24 shots. That put them in a hole they were able to climb out. But it was playing with fire. Against the Celtics in that game a few weeks ago, the Celtics won the first quarter 34-28. The Celtics dominated and had confidence the rest of the game.

Orlando currently ranks 26th in the league in net rating in the first quarter, getting outscored by 12.2 points per 100 possessions. They have not gotten off to good starts. As Steve Clifford likes to say, games are often decided in the first quarter rather than the end. It is always easier to play from ahead. This is a game where Orlando has to jump on Sacramento quickly.

3-Point Prowess

The Orlando Magic set a franchise record for most 3-pointers in a three-game span with 19 threes on Monday. The team has hit 53 3-pointers in the last three games. that is a big reason the Magic have seen a major offensive boost. And why Orlando feels like it should have won the last three games. Even after Sunday’s loss, Gary Clark said this was a sign the team was figuring things out.

How much can Orlando count on its 3-point shooting though? The Magic for the season still rank 25th in the league in 3-point field goal percentage. Then again, the team was dead last by a wide margin just a week ago. The team is finding its rhythm offensively again.

Sacramento is a team that will give up 3-pointers too. The Kings give up a league-worst 39.9-percent shooting from deep. Opponents take 16.7 3-point attempts with the closest defender more than six feet away and 10.9 with the closest defender 4-6 feet away, the fourth-fewest. Those are a lot of attempts, but maybe the issue is more bad 3-point luck than anything else.

De’Aaron’s world

Orlando Magic fans likely still have nightmares about the way De’Aaron Fox nearly took the game away from the Orlando Magic singlehandedly in Sacramento last year. Orlando had a seven-point lead late only for Fox to score eight straight points and force Aaron Gordon to hit a game-winning putback for the win. The Magic did not need those heroics in the second meeting inside the bubble.

But Fox is the exact kind of player the Magic have historically struggled with. He is good at getting downhill and pressuring defenses that drop in pick and rolls. Nikola Vucevic has always struggled to corral and stop De’Aaron Fox. He averages 17.0 points per game for his career against the Magic.

Next. Orlando Magic must protect Amway Center. dark

Fox is having a fantastic season so far, averaging 20.9 points per game and 5.9 assists per game. He is starting to shoot more effectively too. The one thing the Magic do not want to do is get in a late-game situation where Fox has thrived and has the ability to make plays they simply cannot stop.