Orlando Magic vs. LA Clippers (Jan. 29, 2021): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

Lou Williams has turned into the NBA's super sub and a perennial Sixth Man of the Year Candidate. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Lou Williams has turned into the NBA's super sub and a perennial Sixth Man of the Year Candidate. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic try to get back on track at home against an undermanned LA Clippers team. Orlando remains in the playoff chase with a chance to steal a win over one of the best in the league.

LA Clippers (14-5) vs. Orlando Magic (8-11)


8 p.m./FOX Sports Florida




$19-$9,300 on StubHub

2021 Season Series:

Tonight in Orlando

PaceOff. Rtg.Def. Rtg.eFG%O.Reb.%TO%FTR
LA Clippers98.3115.6109.056.326.114.024.0

OMD Prediction

If the Orlando Magic were facing a fully operational LA Clippers team, they would be in big trouble. Sure, that kind of an opponent would likely bring out an extra level of focus, but the talent would be a lot for a struggling defense to handle. The Magic would have to be nearly perfect. And they just have not done that yet.

Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are likely out Friday, set to miss their third straight game because of the league’s health and safety protocols. But the Clippers are certainly still ready to fight. They gave the Atlanta Hawks a game and erased an 18-point deficit before running away to defeat the Miami Heat on Thursday.

The Clippers’ biggest weapon with or without their star players is their 3-point shooting. The Magic have to be strong defensively and disciplined to prevent dribble penetration to lock up the Clippers’ offense. With a day off and a day to stew, the Magic need to be sharper and more focused to get the win.

38. Prediction. 100. 77. 108

3 Keys To Watch

3-point Defense

The LA Clippers do one thing really well offensively, even without their superstar players. The Clippers are one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the league. LA makes 41.8-percent of its 3-pointers — the only team shooting better than 40-percent from beyond the arc — and 14.8 3-pointers per game, the fourth-most in the league. The Clippers have made 12.5 3-pointers per game in 36.8-percent in the last two games.

The Orlando Magic are obviously coming off a game where they gave up 14 3-pointers including seven from Buddy Hield. Three-point defense is obviously a huge focus for this game. The Magic are giving up 12.6 3-pointers per game (15th in the league) and 36.8-percent shooting (17th in the league). Orlando’s 3-point defense is very inconsistent to say the least. And this might well determine this game.

Nikola Vucevic’s arch-nemesis

It is always former teammates that know how to get under your skin most, right? The Orlando Magic brought Serge Ibaka in for the 2017 season essentially to try to replace Nikola Vucevic. That did not work out for a number of reasons despite Ibaka playing well and Vucevic staying consistent even with inconsistent minutes and role.

Vucevic though has struggled famously against Ibaka throughout his career since. Having Marc Gasol on the Toronto Raptors did not help either. But Ibaka’s mix of strength and agility to block his shot has pushed Vucevic away from the basket and made it difficult to get going.

Last year, Vucevic made eight points on 3-for-5 shooting when matched up with Ibaka, according to NBA.com. He scored 18 points on 9-for-19 shooting in 2019. This will be a key matchup for the Magic as they need Vucevic to pace them offensively.

Sixth Men Struggles

Perhaps the two best sharpshooters off the bench will face off in this game. And both teams will need them to have big games to get a win. Lou Williams is the gold standard for sixth men in the league. But he has had some struggles this year. Williams is averaging just 8.9 points per game and is shooting 35.0-percent from beyond the arc. His effective field goal percentage is nearly his career-low 43.6-percent. Williams scored 17 points on 4-for-9 shooting in Thursday’s win over the Miami Heat.

Next. Orlando Magic's starts putting them deep in the hole. dark

Terrence Ross similarly is going through his own struggles this year. He is averaging 14.7 points per game with a 49.1-percent effective field goal percentage. No player has likely struggled more since Markelle Fultz’s injury since Terrence Ross. He is averaging 10.9 points per game and shooting just 25.9-percent from beyond the arc since the injury.