Orlando Magic vs. Boston Celtics (Jan. 23, 2023): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics defends Paolo Banchero of the Orlando Magic (Photo by Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)
Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics defends Paolo Banchero of the Orlando Magic (Photo by Brian Fluharty/Getty Images) /

Jonathan Isaac is set to return as the Orlando Magic look to bounce back from a poor game in Washington against a Boston Celtics team they have matched up well against.

Orlando Magic (17-29) vs. Boston Celtics (35-12)

Time/TV: 7 p.m./Bally Sports Florida
Line: Celtics by 7.5
Tickets: $42-$3,243 on StubHub
Season Series: Celtics 126, Magic 120 in Orlando on Oct. 22; Magic 117, Celtics 109 in Boston on Dec. 16; Magic 95, Celtics 92 in Boston on Dec. 18; Tonight in Orlando

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OMD Prediction

The focus for the Orlando Magic in this game against the Boston Celtics is on who is returning to the court. It has been a long time for Jonathan Isaac to get back onto an NBA floor. And even with Celtics fans helping make this Monday night game a sellout, Isaac’s return is going to be a huge emotional lift for this team.

Then you get to the fact the Magic have been a matchup nightmare for the Celtics for whatever reason. Orlando took back-to-back games on the road in Boston in December and played a very tight game against Boston in the Amway Center home opener. Whether it is the Magic’s size, ability to get to the foul line or just luck, Orlando has a lot of confidence against this Celtics team.

Boston will be dealing with its own injury issues. Marcus Smart left Saturday’s win over the Toronto Raptors with a right ankle sprain. Robert Williams also left that game and is QUESTIONABLE with left knee management.

That will still present a tough front with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown as two of the best scorers in the league. But Orlando has something on Boston for whatever reason. This should be a close game regardless.

115. 18. 118. 38. Prediction

3 Keys To Watch

Remember me?

For the Orlando Magic, this is a night that has been a long time coming. The questions will finally get put to rest and Jonathan Isaac will get to just play basketball. That is a huge thing.

Expectations should be tempered, of course. He has not played on an NBA floor for two years. Nobody knows what he will look like in his return game, much less for the rest of the season. Although there is plenty of evidence that the slow playing of his return will make him more ready to contribute immediately, especially as he regains his stamina and awareness on the floor.

So who is Jonathan Isaac? It might be a good start to remind you who he was.

In the 2020 season, he averaged 11.9 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per game in 34 appearances. He also added 3.9 “stocks” per game (steals and blocks combined) as he became a defensive terror and potential all-defensive team player if not for his initial knee injury that season.

That is the goal he has to get back to. He is at least ready to make the journey.

Home cooking

Expect a heavy dose of green in the Amway Center tonight. There are a lot of Boston and New England transplants in the area. They always fill the Amway Center.

That has not stopped the Orlando Magic from performing well in front of that charged atmosphere before. And the Magic are experiencing a really strong run of play at home.

The Magic have won seven of their 11 home games since December began (essentially during the Magic’s winning run). That has included some nice wins. But Orlando is starting to establish a decent homecourt advantage. Enough that they can play poorly and still pull themselves out of it.

Orlando though is markedly improved at home, especially offensively. The Magic have an overall offensive rating of 111.2 points per 100 possessions (24th in the league). At home, that number jumps to 114.4 points per 100 possessions (20th in the league at home).

The Magic bank on their home play to give them some life. They are going to need it against this Celtics team.

Ups, downs and way ups

The Boston Celtics are like every team in the NBA. Even the elite teams have their ups and downs throughout the season and they have had their wild swings.

The Celtics started the season on a tear, jumping out to a 21-5 start. Then they hit a rough patch, losing five of their next seven games, including those pair of games against the Orlando Magic. They have since then won 13 of their past 15 games including a current nine-game win streak.

Orlando Magic are ready to raise their standards. dark. Next

That should just show that everyone has to manage the NBA season. And the Celtics are facing a major challenge to play without Marcus Smart. But struggles are also relative. The Celtics still have plenty to win most nights without him for a little while, even if they will need him for the Playoffs down the road.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.