Orlando Magic at Toronto Raptors (Feb. 14, 2023): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

ORLANDO, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 09: Franz Wagner #22 of the Orlando Magic reacts in the final seconds of the fourth quarter of the game against the Toronto Raptors at Amway Center on December 09, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 09: Franz Wagner #22 of the Orlando Magic reacts in the final seconds of the fourth quarter of the game against the Toronto Raptors at Amway Center on December 09, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
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The Orlando Magic head to the All-Star Break with a critical game against the Toronto Raptors in their burgeoning postseason chase.

Orlando Magic (24-34) at Toronto Raptors (27-31)

Time/TV: 7:30 p.m./Bally Sports Florida
WATCH MAGIC-RAPTORS ON FUBO TV
FOLLOW LIVE: @OMAGICDAILY
Line: Raptors by 7
Tickets: $44-$2,514 on StubHub
Season Series: Raptors 121, Magic 108 in Toronto on Dec. 3; Magic 113, Raptors 109 in Orlando on Dec. 9; Magic 111, Raptors 99 in Orlando on Dec. 11; Tonight in Toronto

PaceOff. Rtg.Def. Rtg.eFG%O.Reb.%TO%FTR
Orlando99.2111.3113.753.427.515.229.9
Toronto98.1114.4113.851.431.611.827.5

OMD Prediction

The Orlando Magic can see the All-Star Break on the horizon. But they have one more game to get to first. And it, like Monday’s game against the Chicago Bulls, is a big one.

The Orlando Magic trail the Toronto Raptors for the final play-in spot by three games. A win would go a long way to increasing that pressure for that final spot and setting up a dramatic sprint to the end.

Not to mention, it would give the Magic a season series win over the Raptors, making it just a little easier for the Magic to make up that final ground.

There are all the usual issues for the Magic to consider as they go up against the Raptors. Toronto may be a tad more inconsistent, but they still feast on offensive rebounds and feast on turnovers. These are two areas this young Magic team has continually struggled with.

That always makes this matchup tough. But Orlando found some clarity in those December wins against Toronto. The Magic’s length could be something that gives the Raptors a lot of problems again. Especially with how much better Orlando is scrambling on defense.

81. Prediction. 108. 38. 112

3 Keys To Watch

3-Point defense

It is always difficult to figure out what is good 3-point defense. To a lot of people around the league, it is about giving up fewer attempts and giving teams fewer opportunities to shoot threes. To some, it is still about the percentage overall. And others will admit there is 3-point luck involved in these misses. It is hard to pin things down.

So what do you credit the Magic’s decent 3-point defense on? Was Monday’s 3-for-21 performance from the Chicago Bulls about the Orlando Magic’s defense or just some good shooting luck for Orlando?

The answer is probably a bit of everything, of course.

The Magic for the year are third in the league giving up 34.6 percent shooting from deep. But they are 29th in attempts per game, giving up 37.4 attempts per game. That probably helps things balance out — the team is 25th in opponent 3-point makes giving up 12.9 per game. But that number feels especially painful considering the low volume of 3-pointers the Magic themselves take and make.

The Magic’s first priority defensively has always been in protecting the paint. So giving up more 3-point attempts seems to be a byproduct of that strategy.

That can run them into problems against great 3-point shooting teams. But the Toronto Raptors could fit easily into that strategy. They are 27th in 3-point field goal percentage (33.6 percent) and 22nd in makes at 10.9 per game.

Raptors reset

Everyone expected the Toronto Raptors to do a grand reset at the trade deadline. They were expected to begin selling off future free agents in Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. and entertain trades for OG Anunoby.

Instead, the Raptors did none of that. They opted to make a push to the center and acquire Jakob Poeltl, perhaps the most sought-after big man on the trade market. The Raptors appear set to try to make this group work and deal with the consequences of free agency in the offseason.

So far, it has worked. The Raptors have split their two games since the trade deadline. And while there are some defensive slips, the offense is still humming at 116.9 points per 100 possessions. That is a positive sign.

Poeltl too has helped. He is averaging 6.0 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in his return to Toronto.

But the Raptors have a 98.9 defensive rating with Poeltl on the floor in the limited time since he has returned. That is proving to be a big presence for the Raptors as they gear up for the rest of the season.

Okeke’s return

The Orlando Magic will hold out Jonathan Isaac on the second night of a back-to-back as he continues his return from his knee injury. He has been slowly inching up his minutes. But this is expected as the Magic remain cautious with his return.

That will open the door for another return to the team.

Chuma Okeke was available to play Monday night after sitting out since November following knee surgery. Okeke made a two-game appearance in the G-League over the weekend, averaging 14.0 points per game and 4.5 rebounds per game on 47.4 percent shooting and 36.4 percent from beyond the arc.

Next. Jalen Suggs aimed to fit in, now finds his role. dark

It was good just to have Okeke back on the floor. And it is safe to assume Okeke will make his NBA return playing in Isaac’s minutes in Toronto. In Okeke, the Magic get back an active defender and a potentially solid shooter.

Either way, it will be good to have him back on the floor.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.