Orlando Magic vs. Toronto Raptors (April 1, 2022): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

Wendell Carter and the Orlando Magic are still trying to find their way and play with the same energy. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Wendell Carter and the Orlando Magic are still trying to find their way and play with the same energy. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

The Orlando Magic return home as they aim to make gains against the Toronto Raptors as they near the end of their season.

Orlando Magic (20-57) vs. Toronto Raptors (44-32)

Time/TV: 7 p.m./Bally Sports Florida
Line via WynnBet: Raptors by 11
Tickets: $20-$268 on StubHub
2022 Season Series: Raptors 110, Magic 109 in Toronto on Oct. 29; Magic 103, Raptors 97 in Toronto on March 4; Tonight in Orlando

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

OMD Prediction

The Orlando Magic are certainly starting to wind things down. They are indeed expanding minutes for bench players and trying to manage their key players as they come to the season. There are few reasons to play key players more than 30 minutes at this point — with the team clearly focused on securing the best Lottery odds they can. Wendell Carter is likely OUT (he is still listed as QUESTIONABLE). The Magic have made it clear what is important to them.

The Toronto Raptors though are in the thick of a playoff race. The team has come on strong of late to climb into the sixth seed in the crowded Eastern Conference. And they want to keep the spot and avoid the Play-In Tournament (the Brooklyn Nets might also prefer that too).

This is a mismatch of motivation then. The Raptors are very motivated to win. And while the Magic will be motivated to win when their starters are in, they likely are not putting out a rotation that will put the team in the best position to win.

103. 38. Prediction. 115. 81

3 Keys To Watch

Franz Rookie Watch

The Orlando Magic have rarely been a team to promote or push their players for any postseason awards. Where some teams — perhaps with long-shot candidates — send goodies or other information to award voters, the Magic have largely stayed quiet.

Sometimes to fans’ chagrin.

That changed some Friday. The team has been at least pushing lightly for Franz Wagner (rightly) to be included on the All-Rookie teams, perhaps realizing that Wagner has operated largely in anonymity this season and that this is an incredible rookie class.

As the team noted this morning (and then further pushed in an e-mail to their media list):

At this point, it feels safe to say that the All-Rookie team will be Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, Scottie Barnes, Franz Wagner and Jalen Green. But this rookie class has been really good with Josh Giddey, Davion Mitchell and Ayo Dosunmu among the players begging for attention among plenty others. And the Magic certainly feel that Cole Anthony was unfairly left off the All-Rookie teams last year.

Wagner is averaging 15.5 points per game, 4.6 rebounds per game and 3.0 assists per game to go with a 51.7-percent effective field goal percentage. Compare that to Scottie Barnes — 15.3 points per game, 7.3 rebounds per game and 3.5 assists per game with a 52.2-percent effective field goal percentage — and there is certainly a worthy debate to have between the fourth pick and the eighth pick in last year’s draft.

At the very least, they are comparable enough to make sure Wagner is in the conversation for the All-Rookie teams.

Standings watch

We are at the point of the season where everyone is watching the standings at the top and the bottom of the league. Every game matters right now.

The Toronto Raptors have been on a tear, going 21-9 in their last 30 games. They have won four straight and nine of their last 11 to climb the standings and get out of Play-In Contention. A lot of that has to do with Pascal Siakam returning to full health and regaining his playoff form from 2019 — in addition to Fred VanVleet’s All-Star performance and Scottie Barnes’ stellar rookie year.

The Toronto Raptors now hold a 2.5-game lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers to avoid the Play-In Tournament. They look to be in good shape to go straight into the playoffs.

The Orlando Magic are going the opposite direction. But they look to be in a good position to land at least one of the top odds to win the Lottery.

The Orlando Magic are tied with the Houston Rockets for the fewest wins in the league at 20. The Detroit Pistons beat the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday to get to 21 wins. And the Oklahoma City Thunder have some separation at 22 wins.

The Pistons play the Thunder on Friday. The Houston Rockets get a return date with the Sacramento Kings after a close loss Wednesday. The Magic play four of their final five games at home. But they have only one game remaining against non-Playoff teams (Sunday against the New York Knicks).

With how the Magic are managing minutes, it is harder to see the team sneaking out a win — or two — before the end of the season.

Devin Cannady’s return

It was almost a year ago that the Orlando Magic signed Devin Cannady off their G-League roster. He came in and immediately gave a nice scoring burst and found comfort toward the end of his first 10-day contract. His shooting and work off the dribble seemed to suggest he might have a chance of sticking on a now-rebuilding Magic roster.

Then he horrifically broke his leg. Just at the moment that he was making the most of his opportunity. Magic fans felt for him because they immediately liked this player. And they were hoping for someone to breakthrough.

Give credit to the Magic for taking care of Cannady and keeping him in the family. They made him a late Exhibit 10 signing in preseason and had him rehab with the Lakeland Magic. He rejoined the team in February and has been stellar since.

In 16 games with Lakeland, he is averaging 15.8 points per game and is shooting 46.8-percent from beyond the arc. The 3-point shooting is the thing that is most likely to pique Magic fans’ interest after Orlando signed him to a 10-day contract Thursday. And that will be an essential part of his chance to make the roster.

Next. Orlando Magic readying to push Franz Wagner to the front. dark

Still, to see Cannady back on the Amway Center floor wearing the same No. 30 jersey he wore 11 months ago when he broke his leg is an incredible sight. Everyone is cheering for Cannady to make the most of these final five games.