Orlando Magic vs. New York Knicks (March 23, 2023): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

Cole Anthony is playing for a contract as he and the Orlando Magic will have a choice to make this offseason. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
Cole Anthony is playing for a contract as he and the Orlando Magic will have a choice to make this offseason. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic continue their homestand as they take on the New York Knicks with both teams needing to win to preserve their postseason chases.

Orlando Magic (30-43) vs. New York Knicks (42-32)

Time/TV: 7 p.m./Bally Sports Florida, NBATV
Line: Knicks by 2.5
Tickets: $27-$9,214 on StubHub
Season Series: Knicks 115, Magic 102 in New York City on Oct. 24; Knicks 102, Magic 98 in Orlando on Feb. 7; Tonight in Orlando

PaceOff. Rtg.Def. Rtg.eFG%O.Reb.%TO%FTR
New York97.5116.5114.053.631.913.128.8

OMD Prediction

The Orlando Magic did exactly what they needed to do Tuesday night to close the game. With the Washington Wizards pushing on the lead, the Orlando Magic kept executing and making shots to pull away and win the game.

It has been a while for the Magic to win a game that comfortably as Tuesday marked their first double-digit win since the overtime win over the Miami Heat and their first in regulation since the Charlotte Hornets in early March.

The Magic have needed to work on stringing a few wins together. They have not had a winning streak since Feb. 3-5 when they beat the Minnesota Timberwolves and Charlotte Hornets. Orlando has a lot of work to do to get over the hump. Stringing together wins is key.

That is the situation they face after the New York Knicks headed north from Miami last night. And this should be an angry Knicks team after two really poor defensive games in consecutive losses. They need a win as bad as anyone to stay in their own postseason chase.

27. 113. 38. Prediction. 115

3 Keys To Watch

Defense coming back around?

The Orlando Magic’s focus for much of the year has been on their defense. But this has also been probably the most inconsistent thing coming from Orlando. On some nights, the defense is killer and able to get stops consistently. On other nights, it cannot stop anyone and gives up tons of threes.

The Magic have to hope they are starting to get onto a defensive upswing. Their last few games have seen some stellar defense.

The Orlando Magic have given up fewer than 120 points per 100 possessions in the last four games with two games giving up fewer than 110 points per 100 possessions, including giving up only 109.8 in Tuesday’s win. They gave up more than 120 points per 100 possessions in four of the previous seven games including an additional game giving up 119 points per 100 possessions.

If the Magic are starting to round the defense back into form, that could mean the team is ready to start stringing some wins together again. That would be big for this team.

Paolo’s closing argument

Somehow, the Rookie of the Year race came back. Yes, that is as poorly written as The Rise of Skywalker (the Star Wars movie that shall not ever be named again), but like the Resistance forces in that movie, we have to deal with this problem nonetheless.

This one should have a happier, more conclusive and more satisfying ending.

Paolo Banchero is the Rookie of the Year. And his closing kick has more than proven that.

In his last 10 games, Banchero is averaging 21.6 points per game, 6.8 rebounds per game and 4.1 assists per game. He is shooting a solid 46.2 percent and has even upped his 3-point percentage to 35.2 percent.

This is a smaller sample size. But these numbers all track with what we have seen from Banchero for most of this season already. He is finishing his Rookie of the Year campaign very strongly. Hopefully, his play will completely shut down the debate.

Battle of the benches

Cole Anthony and Moe Wagner provide the bulk — read: All — of the Orlando Magic’s scoring off the bench. The Magic’s bench groups have played better for a few months now. But they will need to keep up the scoring punch because the New York Knicks have one of the best bench groups in the league.

The Knicks average 25.8 points per game off the bench for the year, putting them 25th.

But in their last 14 games since settling on a lineup of Jalen Brunson, Quentin Grimes, R.J. Barrett, Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson, the Knicks are averaging 30.0 points per game off the bench. That is still in the bottom of the league. But this team gets after it and they set the table well for Brunson to try to finish the game.

Next. Kevon Harris makes his impact by staying ready. dark

The guy to watch out for is Immanuel Quickley with his speed coming at players and Obi Toppin, a budding Magic killer, with his ability to finish off lobs.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.