Orlando Magic at Minnesota Timberwolves (Feb. 3, 2023): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

Jalen Suggs showed his toughness returning from a rolled ankle to help spark the Orlando Magic as they try to navigate and fight through their injuries. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Jalen Suggs showed his toughness returning from a rolled ankle to help spark the Orlando Magic as they try to navigate and fight through their injuries. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic continue their road trip as they square off with another promising young team in the Minnesota Timberwolves in Jalen Suggs’ homecoming.

Orlando Magic (20-32) at Minnesota Timberwolves (28-26)

Time/TV: 8 p.m./Bally Sports Florida
Line: Timberwolves by 4.5
Tickets: $23-$293 on StubHub
Season Series: Timberwolves 126, Magic 108 in Orlando on Nov. 16; Tonight in Minneapolis

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

OMD Prediction

The Orlando Magic are a constant test in consistency. That is the battle for the second half of the season. Can the Magic carry over their positives on a game-to-game basis? Can they be about the process rather than about the results? Will they build off positive results and shake off negative ones?

Wednesday’s loss to the Philadelphia 76ers is a big test for the Orlando Magic moving forward. They turned in a strong defensive performance — the 104.0 defensive rating in Wednesday’s game was the seventh-best of the season — but could not hit a shot to save the game. Will the Magic look at that game and see the process of the things they did right and stick with them? Or will they press and try to overcompensate for the team’s poor shooting performance?

The Minnesota Timberwolves are no pushovers. Even with Karl-Anthony Towns out with a right calf strain and Rudy Gobert QUESTIONABLE with right groin soreness, the Timberwolves are still a tough defensive team with several high-energy role players and an All-Star snub in Anthony Edwards.

So will the Magic stick with their way or will they revert back?

86. Prediction. 109. 38. 104

3 Keys To Watch

Defense turns the corner?

The Orlando Magic have forever said they want to be a team that “hangs its hat on the defensive end.” Looking at the roster and it is clear how much talent and skill the team should have on the defensive end. Yet, the results are just not there.

Orlando ranks 22nd in the league in defensive rating at 114.5 points allowed per 100 possessions. The team has been up and down on the defensive end all year. It has been hard to see the team get settled in. And they will have a few good games and then a really bad game.

The two games in Philadelphia saw Orlando put in two of the team’s best defensive games in a while. The Magic gave up 103.8 points per 100 possessions in Monday’s win and 104.0 points per 100 possessions in Wednesday’s loss. It was the first time with back-to-back games with a defensive rating better than 110.0 points per 100 possessions since Jan. 10 and Jan. 13 (the win over the Portland Trail Blazers and loss to the Utah Jazz).

This Magic team is capable of playing good defense. Orlando has had defensive ratings of better than 110.0 points per 100 possessions in five of the last eight games. But two of those games were bad defensive efforts against the Washington Wizards (135.3) and Chicago Bulls (132.0).

The Magic have to be more consistent on that end.

Jalen Suggs everywhere

And a big part of the Orlando Magic getting right defensively will come in the form of Jalen Suggs. He has started to look more comfortable after returning from ankle soreness that kept him out for 21 games and is now starting to assert himself much more defensively. Suggs is a true disruptor on that end.

The Magic have a 107.2 defensive rating with Suggs on the floor since he returned from injury. The team’s overall net rating in that time is 115.0 points allowed per 100 possessions.

Suggs’ impact on the floor is just seen in his activity too. Suggs averages 2.7 deflections per game this season according to NBA.com’s hustle stats. That is tied for the top mark on the team with Markelle Fultz.

These numbers just point to general activity. It is not clear if this is actually beneficial or productive. But Suggs has been a terror recently though.

The Anthony Edwards snub

The NBA All-Star rosters are officially revealed. And so for the next week, we will be complaining about the players who did not make it. No one may have a stronger case to make the All-Star Game than Minnesota Timberwolves forward Anthony Edwards.

Edwards is averaging 24.9 points per game on an efficient 53.5 percent effective field goal percentage. Edwards is just on a tear and a dominant scorer, able to score at all three levels. Yes, there are the highlight-reel dunks. But he is able to score at the basket and step out and hit shots.

Next. Orlando Magic are in the most difficult phase of their rebuild. dark

His development has been special. And through all the turmoil in Minnesota trying to make their two-center lineups work, Edwards has been the one constant. And he is the reason Minnesota has started to look a whole lot better and more comfortable.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.