Orlando Magic vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (April 6, 2023): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

Kevon Harris of the Orlando Magic vies for positioning with Raul Neto of the Cleveland Cavaliers (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Kevon Harris of the Orlando Magic vies for positioning with Raul Neto of the Cleveland Cavaliers (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The Orlando Magic close their season at the Amway Center as they aim to get a winning record on the home court in one last game in front of the home fans.

Orlando Magic (34-45) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (50-30)

Time/TV: 7 p.m./Bally Sports Florida
Line: Magic by 6
Tickets: $74-$468 on StubHub
Season Series: Cavaliers 103, Magic 92 in Cleveland on Oct. 26; Cavaliers 107, Magic 96 in Cleveland on Dec. 2; Cavaliers 117, Magic 113 in Orlando on April 4; Tonight in Orlando

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OMD Prediction

I was all set to write a big prediction about how the Orlando Magic were growing up and ready to put the hammer down to celebrate a strong home season and a winning home record at the Amway Center. It felt like the perfect celebration for the end of a fun and exciting season.

Then this happened shortly after 4 p.m.:

The Orlando Magic will sit out their starting lineup with the Cleveland Cavaliers also sitting out most of their starters. Coach Jamahl Mosley explained in pregame that part of the decision came after the team was eliminated from the postseason and they decided to try to get players who are out of the rotation more playing time.

So trying to predict this game is anybody’s guess. The hope for the Magic is they will still play with energy and effort and give the home crowd one final good showing. But who is to say who will step up to the plate tonight.

38. Prediction. 105. 156. 109

3 Keys To Watch

The Lottery Standings

The Orlando Magic have decided to pack it in for the season. Their entire starting lineup will sit out Thursday’s game and it is also unclear whether they will play the rest of the season. What is clear is what the implications are: The Magic understand where they are in the Lottery standings and know their winning ways have indeed damaged their standing.

The Magic spent most of the year in fifth in the Lottery standings with 105 number combinations (a 10.5 percent chance at the top pick). But they have won seven of their past nine and eight of their past 11 to climb the standings and become the last team eliminated from postseason contention in the Eastern Conference.

Now the Magic sit in eighth in the Lottery standings. That slot comes with just 60 number combinations (a 6.0 percent chance at the top pick). So their odds — especially for that top four going from 42.1 percent in fifth to 26.3 percent in eighth — have dropped dramatically.

They are a half game ahead of the Washington Wizards and Indiana Pacers for sixth and a game ahead of the Portland Trail Blazers for fifth. They are two games clear of the Utah Jazz for ninth and, especially now, do not seem likely to allow the Jazz to fall into their laps.

There is plenty of intrigue. But while the Magic are sitting their starters, expect the players on the court to try to win.

Cole Efficient

Cole Anthony will not be in the starting lineup for the Orlando Magic, but will keep his role off the bench. Still expect him to play a big role and play a lot of minutes in this game. Or maybe he drew the straw of playing but a scaled back load.

Still, Anthony has had a fantastic run this season in what was perhaps his best overall season, despite his numbers taking a dip because he is coming off the bench.

Anthony is averaging 13.0 points per game with a career-best 51.3 percent effective field goal percentage. Since the All-Star Break, Anthony is averaging 14.9 points per game and shooting a 54.7 percent effective field goal percentage.

It is the increase in efficiency and comfort in his role that has been most impressive with Anthony. He has really taken a major step up for this team.

Fresh opportunities

The main reason Jamahl Mosley at least publicly gave for sitting his starters was to give opportunities for players who have not played much this season. It is a reward for the guys who have practiced every day and need an opportunity to go out and play.

That is a big chance for someone like Bol Bol who has had a wild up-and-down season of promise and frustration throughout the year. He is averaging 9.0 point sper game and 5.8 rebounds per game. But he has not played since March 19 and has not played more than 15 minutes since March 14.

Chuma Okeke has essentially been out of the rotation all season and certainly since his injury. He has struggled to find playing time since his injury in the middle of the season and even then his shooting remained wildly inconsistent — just 31.3 percent this year. Okeke has not played consecutive games since late November.

Next. Orlando Magic's disappointment is hunger for their future. dark

So these are some real chances for these players to get out on the court and show what they can do once again.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.