Orlando Magic at Portland Trail Blazers (October 27, 2023): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

Markelle Fultz and the Orlando Magic aim to build on their home-opening win as they head out West. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Markelle Fultz and the Orlando Magic aim to build on their home-opening win as they head out West. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic hit the road for the first time this season as they begin an early West Coast trip in Portland against the new-look Portland Trail Blazers.

Orlando Magic (1-0) at Portland Trail Blazers (0-1)

Time/TV: 10 p.m./Bally Sports Florida
Line: Magic by 2.5/Magic Money Line: -142/Over-Under: 223.5 on FanDuel
Tickets: $21-$432 on StubHub
Season Series: Tonight in Portland; April 1 in Orlando

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OMD Prediction

Our Prediction Record: 1-0/1-0 ATS

There are probably not two teams who had opposite experiences in their first game than the Orlando Magic and Portland Trail Blazers.

The Magic were buoyed by a raucous home crowd and the optimism of a new era crystallizing into a competitive team to a 30-point win over the Houston Rockets. The Portland Trail Blazers struggled against a veteran LA Clippers team in a 123-111 loss that saw Portland go down by 30 points at one point. The Blazers are starting their own new era after trading Damian Lillard.

The Magic have a lot to clean up after their opening win just as the Blazers were better than their opening night result would be. That is part of the focus the Magic have to bring on the road with this West Coast road trip. And the Moda Center will certainly bring the same energy to the Blazers that the Amway Center brought to the Magic.

107. 34. Prediction. 112. 38

3 Keys To Watch

Turnovers and Pace

The Orlando Magic talked about improving their turnovers all offseason and preseason long. There are still going to be a few hiccups in the process to be sure. And the early season will always see teams make mistakes as they try to get their feet under them.

The Orlando Magic did OK with that in the team’s opening game, with 16 turnovers turning into 14 Houston Rockets points. That was a big factor in the Magic’s win because they turned 19 Rockets turnovers into 24 points.

Still, there is plenty to improve on. Orlando had only five fast-break points and played at a fairly slow 95.5 possessions per 48 minutes in the win Wednesday night. Against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Orlando Magic need to take advantage of these mistakes more often.

The Portland Trail Blazers struggled with turnovers, committing 18 turnovers for 24 LA Clippers’ points. The Clippers had 15 fast-break points and that was a big part of the Clippers building a lead early and never looking back. Portland has a young backcourt with Scoot Henderson starting alongside Anfernee Simons and can be prone to mistakes — the rookie Henderson had four turnovers in his debut.

Find Road Rhythm

The Orlando Magic celebrated a really strong home record last year and a lot of progress they made at defending the Amway Center. Their 20-21 record (with a chance to go .500 before they sat out the home finale) felt like tangible progress that the team was making real progress.

The road? That was a rough go. The Magic went 14-27 on the road and while their defense largely traveled — they had a 113.1 defensive rating in all road games, the sixth-best mark in the league on the road — their offense did not. Orlando had an abysmal 108.2 offensive rating away from the Amway Center.

The Magic are trying to show more maturity this season. And this will be a big test of that. Orlando is going to defend at a high level. But can the team find its offense and withstand the mistakes a bad offense brings to set up how good the defense can be? Those issues get highlighted more on the road.

Get Paolo Banchero Going

Orlando Magic fans chatting on the Internet have at least started to raise a little concern with how up and down Paolo Banchero has been this season so far. He struggled offensively in the preseason as he paced himself through those four games. Then he turned in a 12-point, 5-rebound, 5-assist game against the Houston Rockets.

That game should not be a cause for too much concern.

Instead of forcing his offense, he looked to soak up attention and get others involved. It was the kind of game that you see from stars who understand their impact and how best to use the attention they receive. He still got to the line for 6-for-7 free throw shooting and hit a big pull-up jumper when the Rockets cut the deficit to one.

Still, the Magic have to get Banchero going. They are going to work by committee and everyone is going to have their moment as this team shares and moves the ball.

But Banchero has to be a steady drumbeat for this team. It is going to be hard to win consistently if he is getting only six shots per game.

Orlando Magic displayed maturity they preached in opening win. dark. Next

That likely is not going to last. At some point, Banchero is going to impose himself on the game. The game will call for it at a certain point and Banchero should be ready.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.