Orlando Magic at Miami Heat (April 9, 2023): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

ORLANDO, FLORIDA - MARCH 11: Cole Anthony #50 of the Orlando Magic looks to pass the ball against Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat in the first half of a game at Amway Center on March 11, 2023 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FLORIDA - MARCH 11: Cole Anthony #50 of the Orlando Magic looks to pass the ball against Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat in the first half of a game at Amway Center on March 11, 2023 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

The Orlando Magic close their 2023 season as they face the Miami Heat one last time with Lottery spots on the line and not a whole lot else.

Orlando Magic (34-47) at Miami Heat (43-38)

Time/TV: 1 p.m./Bally Sports Florida
WATCH MAGIC-HEAT ON FUBO TV
FOLLOW LIVE: @OMAGICDAILY
Line: Heat by 6.5
Tickets: $51-$240 on StubHub
Season Series: Heat 110, Magic 105 in Miami on Jan. 27; Heat 107, Magic 103 in Orlando on Feb. 11; Magic 126, Heat 114 in Orlando on March 11; Tonight in Miami

PaceOff. Rtg.Def. Rtg.eFG%O.Reb.%TO%FTR
Orlando99.7111.4113.653.228.115.129.0
Miami96.7112.2112.952.927.413.827.0

OMD Prediction

Well, here we are. The final game of the season.

The Orlando Magic have nothing to play for — they have a Lottery position to determine but once the ball tips, the players will be trying to win. The Miami Heat have locked themselves into the 7-seed and a home date with the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday.

In other words: Please do not hate-watch this game. Please do not get angry if the Magic end up winning this game. Please do not think too hard about this one. The teams have to play this game and everyone who plays is playing to win.

As for what will actually happen? These games tend to devolve into who steps up and has a big game.

Last year in the final game against the Miami Heat, it was letting Markelle Fultz fully off the leash after he played through injury restrictions coming back from a torn ACL. He outdueled Victor Oladipo to give the Magic a satisfying win. He will not have that same leash this time after completing a stellar season.

So yeah . . . I do not know what is going to happen today.

Prediction. 102. 38. 106. 110

3 Keys To Watch

Standings stakes

The only thing that is at play for the bigger picture of the league in this game is the Orlando Magic’s final Lottery position. The entire Eastern Conference postseason field is completely set. So there is not much intrigue going on at the top in the 1 p.m. block of games before the Western Conference teams take center stage at 3:30 p.m.

The Magic at least do have something at stake in this game, but obviously going in the wrong direction.

The Orlando Magic enter the final day of the season tied with the Indiana Pacers for sixth in the Lottery standings. They are one game behind the Portland Trail Blazers for fifth — the Blazers play the Golden State Warriors and the Warriors are playing to avoid the Play-In. They are also one game ahead of the Washington Wizards — the Wizards host the Houston Rockets at 1 p.m.

In all likelihood then, the Magic will finish sixth or seventh in the Lottery standings. A tie for sixth would give them 82 or 83 number combinations in the Lottery — a random draw shortly after the season will determine who gets the extra chance to win and who finishes ahead of the other team should neither team jump the standings.

If the Magic fall to solo seventh, then they get 75 number combinations (a 7.5 percent chance). That is what is at stake in this game against the Heat.

So… who is playing again?

So much of this game is going to be about motivation. And any regular starters who do play are likely only making a cameo. Franz Wagner, Cole Anthony and Markelle Fultz made appearances in Friday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets. But their minutes were limited to a little more than 20 — although Anthony peaked near 30. They are not playing their regular minutes.

In the wake of the Dallas Mavericks’ open and blatant tanking plan and intentions, both the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat seem at least to be going through the motions of playing their players this final game of the season (Magic fans have a right to be a little angry at how everyone suddenly sat Thursday’s home finale).

Paolo Banchero is now the only player listed as QUESTIONABLE for today’s game. Wendell Carter, Franz Wagner, Markelle Fultz and Gary Harris are all listed as AVAILABLE as of 11:30 a.m. The Heat have followed suit. Jimmy Butler will sit with rest. But Tyler Herro, Victor Oladipo, Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry are all listed as AVAILABLE.

That is great and all. But will any of them actually play and, if they do, how long will they play? Do not expect much. This game will come down to the bench players and who shows up.

Time to step up

Last year’s season finale win over the Miami Heat was fun for just taking the handcuffs off players. Markelle Fultz played a season-high 29:29 and scored 10 points to go with 15 assists. The Magic had seven players in double figures in an extremely balanced and fun scoring effort.

Not that the Heat were doing much to stop them. They got 40 points from Victor Oladipo — who has a penchant for late-season scoring bursts — and 20 points from Javonte Smart.

The question for both teams is: Where is the scoring going to come from?

In the last two games, the Magic have struggled to find that scoring. And unlike last year when they could turn out Mo Bamba, R.J. Hampton and even Devin Cannady (15 points on 4-for-9 shooting from deep in last year’s finale) could put up points, this year’s skeleton crew is not exactly torching the nets.

Next. Orlando Magic need to make the most of the opportunity. dark

Orlando has an 89.0 offensive rating in the last two games. The Magic are the only team in the league scoring less than a point per possession in the last two games. Orlando has gutted its offensive capabilities because its bench — especially deep bench — just does not have a lot of natural scorers (especially with Jay Scrubb apparently using up his two-way time).

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.