Orlando Magic at Brooklyn Nets (April 7, 2023): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

Jalen Suggs returned to the Orlando Magic's lineup and made an impact in his return. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
Jalen Suggs returned to the Orlando Magic's lineup and made an impact in his return. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic seem likely to keep their starters on the bench as they look ahead to the offseason and finish their season with a pair of road games.

Orlando Magic (34-46) at Brooklyn Nets (44-36)

Time/TV: 7:30 p.m./Bally Sports Florida
Line: Nets by 11
Tickets: $107-$323 on StubHub
Season Series: Nets 109, Magic 102 in Brooklyn on Nov. 28; Magic 119, Nets 106 in Orlando on March 26; Tonight in Brooklyn

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

OMD Prediction

The NBA appears to be watching the Orlando Magic right now (probably for the first time all year). The Magic issued their injury report right before hopping on a plane to Brooklyn and ruled their entire starting lineup out for a second straight game, even adding Moe Wagner after he picked up an ankle injury in Thursday’s loss.

Friday afternoon, the Magic upgraded all six of those players to QUESTIONABLE. Then at 1:30 p.m. they ruled Wendell Carter, Moe Wagner and Jay Scrubb (on his two-way) OUT with Paolo Banchero, Markelle Fultz, Franz Wagner and Gary Harris remaining QUESTIONABLE.

This is Eric Idle of Monty Python saying, “Wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more.” Everyone knows what is going on here. Do not expect the Magic to play any of their main players.

Do expect the Brooklyn Nets to play all of their players. They need a win to try to avoid the Play-In Tournament. And they have been going for it — their loss a few weeks ago to the Magic was a big blow.

The Magic will play hard like they did Thursday night. Will they play well? Probably not enough to win.

104. 38. 118. 147. Prediction

3 Keys To Watch

The Suggs Push

The absences on the Orlando Magic roster has pushed Jalen Suggs into an exciting opportunity, one he certainly embraced and took over in the first quarter of Thursday’s loss but struggled with throughout the rest of the game. Suggs is the guy for the Magic right now. He is the one who is going to drive the bus and carry this team.

Suggs has been playing a lot better than his season-long stats for a long time. And his 22-point, 5-for-9 3-point shooting performance was just a supercharged version of the kind of game the has played of late.

Suggs is averaging 11.1 points per game and shooting 36.4 percent from beyond the arc since the All-Star Break. This with his stellar defense points to Suggs being a really solid role player at minimum. And he still has those peaks at stardom that made him such a runaway pick last year.

A healthy offseason is big for his development. But Suggs has undeniably made some big steps forward.

We want some Scrubb

Orlando Magic fans are getting acquainted with the newest player on the roster in Lakeland Magic standout Jay Scrubb. He got his first real look at the roster in Thursday’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers and everyone got a glimpse of what made him a G-League star.

Scrubb scored 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting in Thursday’s game. He hit a big 3-pointer to end the first quarter and had a monster jam, showing his scoring ability at every level. More than that, even though he is a scorer, he did not really force his game. He found his spots to attack.

That was impressive to see. Lakeland Magic watchers know how good Scrubb can be. He averaged 22.2 points per game on 45.7-percent field goal shooting (a product of how many shots he had to take for the team).

It will be interesting to see how comfortable Scrubb gets. The Magic added him late on a two-way contract and he will be back with the team again next year on that deal.

Of course, in the musical chairs that is occurring with the Magic roster, he has been ruled OUT as part of his two-way contract, which is just unfortunate because he could actually gain something from these minutes.

Standings Watch

The Brooklyn Nets are expected to play their full complement of players Friday so they can wrap up the 6-seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Brooklyn Nets lead the Miami Heat by one game for the all-important 6-seed (and thus avoiding the Play-In Tournament). The Nets secure their spot with a win or Heat loss since the Nets own the season series with a clean 3-0 sweep.

The Miami Heat saw the Orlando Magic on the schedule for the Brooklyn Nets and have decided to sit their players tonight, seemingly assuring that one of the two clinching scenarios will occur.

Never say never. The Magic will still have something to say or play some role in clinching these final postseason spots.

Of course, Orlando is in its own weird standings race.

The Orlando Magic are in a three-way tie with the Indiana Pacers and Washington Wizards for sixth in the Lottery standings. They all trail the Portland Trail Blazers by a game for fifth and they all lead the Utah Jazz by two games for ninth.

All three of these teams are sitting their starters at this point. So it is a true race to the bottom. And it appears, barring a win, we will see a three-way random draw for those Lottery spots.

Next. 5 things the Orlando Magic still have to play for. dark

If the three teams remain tied, they will split 75 number combinations evenly with a random draw determining who gets assigned which set of numbers and the order they finish if they do not jump into the Lottery.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.