Orlando Magic at Phoenix Suns (Feb. 14, 2021): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

Nikola Vucevic has continued to be an established and strong scorer as the Orlando Magic aim for a third playoff trip. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Nikola Vucevic has continued to be an established and strong scorer as the Orlando Magic aim for a third playoff trip. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic are coming off a win and some confident play, but they face a streaking and hot Phoenix Suns team to finish out their road trip.

Orlando Magic (10-17) vs. Phoenix Suns (16-9)


9 p.m./FOX Sports Florida




$186-$1,163 on StubHub

2021 Season Series:

Tonight in Phoenix

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

OMD Prediction

The Phoenix Suns have made it a point to prove their 8-0 run in the bubble was no fluke. They were seemingly the odd team included in the Disney experiment, but they made it worth it in every way. They leveraged that high-level play into acquiring Chris Paul. That has taken the team to another level. They are not messing around.

Booker is one of the best three-level scorers in the league at this point. Paul has given the team some poise and accountability. He is the exact veteran who can take a team to its next level. And it sure feels like the Suns have gotten there. The Orlando Magic are playing better these days. But the injuries are still significant. They have a lot of ground to make up. Even with Nikola Vucevic playing at an other-worldly level.

105. 66. Prediction. 98. 38

3 Keys To Watch

Point Guards on Duty

The Orlando Magic point guard situation is still far from ideal. The team will likely only have Michael Carter-Williams available and on a minute restriction (probably closer to 25 minutes than the 27 he played in Friday’s game). Carter-Williams’ play Friday was a big boost to the team. It helped with their organization and with their defense.

But Carter-Williams is also pretty notoriously inconsistent. Especially when he is relied on as a starter. He is better used as an energy guy off the bench. And the Magic are going to hope to use him as a sparkplug even within the starting lineup. His size and defensive acumen might be something that could give Chris Paul problems. Or it could get him in foul trouble, which will put the team well behind the 8-ball.

Battle of the Boards

Nikola Vucevic has long been one of the best volume rebounders in the league. He is averaging 11.5 rebounds per game, the third-best mark of his career. It is something we do not talk enough about. So too is the Orlando Magic’s dominance on the defensive glass. The Steve Clifford way requires a team to dominate the glass. And the team is doing that — on both ends.

Orlando leads the league in defensive rebound rate, grabbing 75.6-percent of defensive rebound opportunities. That is some solace for Clifford — he will likely remember the mistakes and offensive rebounds the team gave up instead. That was a big concern against the Sacramento Kings after they killed the Orlando Magic on the offensive glass in their first meeting.

More impressively though, the Magic are ranked 13th in offensive rebound rate, grabbing 27.8-percent of offensive rebound rates. The team adds to that with 14.2 second-chance points per game, 14th best in the league. Clifford said he wanted the Magic to get more offensive rebounds expressly for this purpose to steal points.

To be sure, this is a vital component of the Magic’s success.

Book It

As much as the Chris Paul acquisition has seemingly taken the Phoenix Suns to another level, this team is still about Devin Booker’s individual brilliance. He has taken his game to new heights this year. His scoring is actually down this year to 24.4 points per game. His numbers and his efficiency are all the same.

Orlando Magic not accepting fate as they battle through injuries. dark. Next

Yet, something feels very different. Winning has that effect. Booker has always been considered a good stats, bad team player. But that has changed completely this year. And it is easy to see him step up in the big moments, like he did Saturday in scoring 36 points to defeat the Philadelphia 76ers. Booker will be the best player on the floor and the Magic will have to pay a lot of attention to him to keep him from heating up.