Orlando Magic at Memphis Grizzlies (March 28, 2023): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

Franz Wagner came alive in the fourth quarter, but the Orlando Magic's rally was too late. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Franz Wagner came alive in the fourth quarter, but the Orlando Magic's rally was too late. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic face one of their toughest remaining challenges, hitting the road to face the Memphis Grizzlies with their postseason hopes still clinging to some life.

Orlando Magic (32-43) at Memphis Grizzlies (47-27)

Time/TV: 8 p.m./Bally Sports Florida
Line: Grizzlies by 7
Tickets: $3-$93,099 on StubHub
Season Series: Grizzlies 123, Magic 115 in Orlando on Jan. 5; Tonight in Memphis

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OMD Prediction

The Orlando Magic need every win they can get now. Their margin for error is incredibly small to make their postseason push. They will essentially need to win out to get there.

And Tuesday’s trip to Memphis represents perhaps their toughest remaining challenge. It is certainly the toughest road game remaining on their schedule.

Get over this hump — and likely pass and tie the Indiana Pacers and Washington Wizards if results hold as expected — and maybe we can more seriously talk about making a push. Granted the Chicago Bulls will have a lot to say about that.

The Memphis Grizzlies enter this game with a lot of questions themselves. Ja Morant is DOUBTFUL with right thigh soreness. The Grizzlies just got him back from his suspension and time away from the team. They still went 6-3 without him. They are currently on a six-game win streak. This is still a very potent Grizzlies team.

38. 115. 211. Prediction. 110

3 Keys To Watch

3-Point Volume

A big obsession for the Orlando Magic is their struggle at times to keep up with the 3-point math. This is not a team that takes a ton of 3-pointers. The Magic are 27th in the league taking just 30.6 attempts per game from deep. Their middling percentage makes that all the tougher to make up ground.

Especially considering how many 3-pointers Orlando gives up. The Magic still sit 28th in the league giving up 36.8 attempts per game (that is up in the rankings of late!).

That will be a focus in this game against the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies are not stocked with shooters — although they added a great one in Luke Kennard at the deadline — but they get them up. Memphis shoots 33.8 per game good for 12th in the league. Since the All-Star Break they are up to 37.3 per game. And they hit 36.8 percent of their threes.

Controlling the 3-point line is always a big task for the Magic — something they did well in the win over the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday. It will go double in this game.

Awards Watch

The Orlando Magic are pretty certain Paolo Banchero has the Rookie of the Year award wrapped up, no matter what the national punditry trying to make it a race will try to tell you. But another potential award winner is waiting in this game.

Jaren Jackson Jr. was a defensive monster in the team’s meeting back in January. The Grizzlies’ big man had 31 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. Memphis posted a 105 defensive rating according to Basketball-Reference when he was in the game.

He was very good. And that has been the norm for Jackson, who very well could win Defensive Player of the Year this season.

The Grizzlies have a 105.8 defensive rating with Jackson on the floor this year, by far the best mark on the team. He is anchoring one of the best defensive teams in the league. So long as Jackson avoids foul trouble, he is a tough player to handle.

Jalen Suggs returns

One of the big energy boosts for the Orlando Magic in their win over the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday came in the return of Jalen Suggs to the lineup after missing four games with a concussion. And Suggs sure did not seem to miss a beat.

Jalen Suggs scored 16 points on 6-for-9 shooting off the bench, blocking a 3-pointer (the one that started the Paolo Banchero-Cole Anthony fast-break alley-oop). It was clear in the energy he brought to the game how vital he can be to lift this team.

Just as it was clear how much more comfortable and patient Suggs has looked on the floor. He has started to put a lot of pieces together and look more like a capable and contributing player after he struggled through much of his rookie season.

dark. Next. Injuries kept Orlando Magic from perfect season

Suggs has been much more confident and capable with his shooting, making 35.7 percent of his 3-pointers since the All-Star Break. He has been a big part of a bench group that has figured out its rhythm together.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.