Orlando Magic vs. Detroit Pistons (April 2, 2023): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

Paolo Banchero crashed the basket for the game-winning drive. But it was the detail of Wendell Carter following him up that won the game. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
Paolo Banchero crashed the basket for the game-winning drive. But it was the detail of Wendell Carter following him up that won the game. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic start their final homestand of the season as their postseason hopes cling to life in a critical matchup against the Detroit Pistons.

Orlando Magic (33-44) vs. Detroit Pistons (16-61)

Time/TV: 6 p.m./Bally Sports Florida
Line: Magic by 11.5
Tickets: $19-$1,153 on StubHub
Season Series: Pistons 113, Magic 109 in Detroit on Oct. 19; Pistons 121, Magic 101 in Detroit on Dec. 28; Magic 108, Pistons 106 in Orlando on Feb. 23; Tonight in Orlando

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

OMD Prediction

The Orlando Magic’s mathematical possibility to make the postseason is entering its final legs.

The elimination number is two, meaning one more Orlando Magic loss and one more Chicago Bulls win (or any other similar combination of two) will mean the Magic are heading home early. They essentially need to win out and get a lot of help from the Bulls to make the postseason. The Chicago Bulls will play the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday.

So first things first then, they have to win against the Detroit Pistons. They have to take care of their own business.

That has not always been the easiest thing for Orlando to do. The team has two losses to Detroit already this season and needed a buzzer-beating putback dunk after the All-Star Break to get a win on the home floor. On top of this, the Orlando Magic looked lethargic in their win over the Washington Wizards before hammering home a 31-13 fourth quarter to win the game.

Will the Magic learn their lesson and bring the right intensity to this game?

The Pistons are reeling right now, having lost 19 of their last 20 games and six straight. They just lost to the Houston Rockets on the road. And with Bojan Bogdanovic, Alec Burks and Isaiah Stewart out, a lot of the guys who have killed the Magic throughout this season will not be on the floor.

The ball is in Orlando’s court.

Prediction. 105. 64. 114. 38

3 Keys To Watch

Paolo vs. Jaden

The Orlando Magic put on the full-court press to ensure voters understand Paolo Banchero is the Rookie of the Year.

Their tweet thread on Friday coincided it appears with the NBA releasing the ballot to the voters (those are due by the end of the regular season). The Rookie of the Year debate has been a bit frustrating because it involves tearing players down rather than celebrating them or recognizing how good Banchero has really been this season.

Banchero, for his part, turned in a fantastic March, averaging 20.7 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game with improved shooting splits of 44.5/37.0/71.7. Nobody is saying Banchero cannot aim to get better or more efficient. But he is asked to do a lot and he does a lot.

While Jalen Williams is getting a lot of love for his surge in recent weeks. Jaden Ivey should also move into the conversation for the All-Rookie team at least.

The Detroit Pistons rookie averaged a season-best 18.3 points per game and 7.1 assists per game. With the Pistons down so many players, Ivey has stepped up in a big way and is finishing his season strong.

The Rebounding problem

The Orlando Magic by the numbers are a middle-of-the-road rebounding team. They rank 10th in the league in defensive rebound rate. That would seem to suggest this is an area of strength and something the team does not really have to worry about.

The numbers also suggest otherwise with the Magic often struggling on the offensive glass. And that is especially against the Detroit Pistons, who have used both Isaiah Stewart and Jalen Duren to kill the Orlando Magic on the offensive glass. The Magic have a 73.5 percent defensive rebound rate against the Pistons this year. But Detroit is scoring 12.3 second-chance points per game against Orlando.

Those numbers again look pretty good compared to other teams around the league. The Magic do not get killed in this way on a raw-numbers basis. But it always feels like Orlando gets pummeled on the glass, giving up big second chances at key moments. That will be a big way for the Pistons to try to stay in this game.


The last time the Detroit Pistons were in town to face the Orlando Magic, R.J. Hampton was sitting on the sidelines on neither team’s bench. It was always reported he would sign with the Pistons after the Magic cut him but the paperwork had not gone all the way through yet.

This game then will mark Hampton’s first time going up against his former team. And Hampton has gotten plenty of the opportunities he was not getting while he was in Orlando this year.

Hampton is averaging 6.9 points per game and shooting a 50.0 percent effective field goal percentage in 17.7 minutes per game across 16 games for the Pistons this year. In his lone start, he scored just five points in a 20-point loss to the Washington Wizards.

Next. 3 young players the Orlando Magic could sneakily target. dark

Hampton is finding his opportunity remains inconsistent. He logged just 7:43 in Friday’s loss to the Houston Rockets, failing to score in his time on the floor. This is another big opportunity though against a former team to try to make an impact.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.