Orlando Magic at Portland Trail Blazers (Jan. 10, 2023): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

Wendell Carter and the Orlando Magic had to buckle down and find their way again to beat the Portland Trail Blazers. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Wendell Carter and the Orlando Magic had to buckle down and find their way again to beat the Portland Trail Blazers. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic look to pick themselves up after a loss Monday against the Sacramento Kings as they battle the Portland Trail Blazers. A team with similar traits to the Kings they played the night before.

Orlando Magic (15-26) at Portland Trail Blazers (19-20)

Time/TV: 10 p.m./Bally Sports Florida
Line: Blazers by 8
Tickets: $5-$9,699 on StubHub
Season Series: Tonight in Portland; March 5 in Orlando

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OMD Prediction

The Orlando Magic are frustrated after their loss to the Sacramento Kings. The Magic simply did not play with the urgency or attention to detail the team needed to have a shot. And the Kings are such a strong offensive team, that they punish that lack of attention. Orlando got punished.

The beauty of the NBA is that it gives each team a chance to make up for it pretty immediately. And back-to-backs have not been kind to the Magic. They have not won any games on the second night of a back-to-back. So there is a lot the Magic need to be focused on to break this streak and take some key steps forward.

The Portland Trail Blazers are struggling themselves. And that brings with it another challenge. the Kings were struggling and desperate for a win. The Blazers are in the same boat. And so it creates an interesting mix for a Magic team that is capable on any night but hardly consistent enough to be dependable.

38. 112. 34. Prediction. 109

3 Keys To Watch

3-Point defense

The Orlando Magic have to question their 3-point defense after giving up 23 3-pointers to the Sacramento Kings on Monday, setting a Kings’ franchise record. This has been a weakness for the team at various points this season. But on average, the defense against the Kings was something of an aberration.

Orlando is currently seventh in the league giving up 34.6-percent shooting from beyond the arc this season. Opponents do make 13.2 attempts per game, the fourth-most in the league. So there is a trade-off.

Orlando’s defensive strategy is focused on defending the paint. They aim to spray out and use their length to close out on 3-point shooters from there. So the team gives up a fair amount of attempts (38.2 attempts per game is the second most in the league) and teams do hit them. Orlando wins that trade-off by winning in the paint.

That is the big key. The Portland Trail Blazers will challenge that. Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons lead an offense that is fifth in the league in 3-point field goal percentage and 10th in makes at 12.6 per game.

There is some 3-point luck involved here but this will be the big key to this game.

Dame Time

The Orlando Magic have historically had their issues with Damian Lillard. For whatever reason, the Magic have always fit his eye.

Maybe that is because he could constantly attack the drop coverage from Nikola Vucevic or the lack of strong point guards to defend him. But Lillard has killed the Magic.

Lillard averages 24.4 points per game and 5.6 assists per game while shooting 36.8 percent from beyond the arc in 16 games against the Magic. This is just standard stuff for Lillard.

Orlando is hoping to be a bit better defensively. And one advantage the Orlando Magic may have is that the Portland Trail Blazers, unlike the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors in the last two games, like to play a more measured pace.

This may help Orlando set up its defense. And with Markelle Fultz giving the Magic better size and better defense at point guard, maybe the team can slow him down (there is no stopping him).

Back-To-Back Troubles

This game has a double dose of potential schedule losses.

The first is the Portland Trail Blazers are returning home after a winless three-game trip out East to the Midwest. The Blazers have lost four of their last five games too. It has been a bit of a struggle. So this is a team that will be intently focused on coming home — for a stretch beginning Tuesday with 10 of their next 11 at home. Portland needs to build some wins right now.

Of course, most NBA observers will remind that the first game back home after a long road trip — especially when there is only a day between games — can still feel like the road trip. Things are not settled down. The Blazers may need to get their legs under them.

Next. Who will be the Magic's next player to score 50?. dark

The Orlando Magic are also in a schedule pickle. They have yet to win the second night of a back-to-back. And while their focus will certainly be there after Monday’s loss to the Sacramento Kings, they still have to find the will to win this one.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.