Orlando Magic vs. Detroit Pistons (Feb. 23, 2021): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

Despite criticisms and a loud movement to push him out, Evan Fournier has remained one of the Orlando Magic's most consistent options. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Despite criticisms and a loud movement to push him out, Evan Fournier has remained one of the Orlando Magic's most consistent options. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic finish their homestand looking for a sweep of the Detroit Pistons and a four-game win streak to head into the final games of the first half of the season.

Orlando Magic (13-18) vs. Detroit Pistons (8-22)


7 p.m./FOX Sports Florida




$8-$318 on StubHub

2021 Season Series:

Magic 105, Pistons 96

on Feb. 21 in Orlando; Feb. 23 in Orlando

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

OMD Prediction

The Orlando Magic are on a roll right now. Their defense is playing exceptionally well and they are starting to find something of a groove offensively too. Nikola Vucevic will likely know whether he has made the All-Star team in a crowded Eastern Conference field just before tip-off. Or maybe he will not know — the Magic announced it during introductions in 2019, maybe he will expect the same thing if it is available this time around. Everything will again center on him as he takes on the Detroit Pistons after his 37-point effort on Sunday.

The Pistons are surely going to expect a different kind of performance. They struggled to hit from the outside in their loss Sunday. But they kept coming at the Magic and never let the game get out of reach. Coach Steve Clifford said the game left a physical toll on the Magic and that he held a lighter practice to give the team a chance to recover. What will that mean?

Orlando is playing better right now. The team has a more solid bench (or it should) and its best players are playing better right now than the Pistons’ best players. The Magic know this game is one they have to get as the schedule stiffens up. And it is one they should still be able to win against a tough, but lax Pistons defense.

38. Prediction. 104. 64. 108

3 Keys To Watch

3-point shooting

The biggest complaint about the Orlando Magic has been their 3-point shooting. They do not have enough shooters to space the floor and give them a real chance at a potent offense. That might actually be more about the lack of creators, or maybe that is not helping either. The team would have an easier life if the team could shoot. But, the Magic are not as bad as you think. The Orlando Magic rank 23rd in the league in 3-point shooting, a mark better than the Miami Heat!

The Magic’s 3-point shooting though is a differentiator in games. The Magic are 5-3 when they make 15 3-pointers and 7-13 when they make 12 or fewer 3-pointers. The 3-point shot is certainly something that can turn games. Everyone recognizes that. And Orlando is not a team that makes a ton of them. But it has a real impact. The Orlando Magic are not going to be able to beat the Detroit Pistons again just making nine 3-pointers.

Turnover battle

The biggest concern for the Orlando Magic throughout the season has been their uncharacteristic turnovers. The Magic rank sixth in the league with a 13.5-percent turnover rate. That is better than everyone thinks. Orlando has been a good turnover team under Steve Clifford. But despite this, the Magic are giving up 16.9 points off turnovers per game, 14th in the league. To put it plainly, Orlando does not turn the ball over often. But when the team does, teams are scoring fairly regularly.

In Sunday’s win, the Detroit Pistons ended up scoring nine points off 12 Orlando Magic turnovers. They recorded five of those off seven turnovers in the second half. So maybe Clifford was wringing his hands and clutching his pearls a bit in highlighting this throughout his postgame press conference. But undoubtedly, the Magic are still trying to limit the kinds of turnovers that can lead directly to points and to fast-break chances — the Pistons did score 18 fast-break points, which is more concerning.

Who is fourth?

The amazing part of Sunday’s game was how easily the Orlando Magic seemed to win offensively without much support for the team’s three best — read: virtually only — scorers. Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross accounted for a little more than 70-percent of the team’s points in Sunday’s game. None of those players were forcing shots and everything worked well within the offense. The Magic should not complain about their production.

But it also feels incredibly unsustainable. Someone else on the roster is going to have to step up and score more consistently, especially off the bench. Dwayne Bacon is going to be put into a bigger role then. He is really the only other player on the roster with a clearer offensive focus and potential. During this win streak he has been all over the place — scoring 17 points in a win over the New York Knicks, going scoreless against the Golden State Warriors and then scoring just seven on 2-for-7 shooting in Sunday’s win.

Orlando Magic never wavered and have begun playoff push. dark. Next

Orlando needs another outlet offensively.