3 matchups that can win the Orlando Magic Game 5 vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers

The Orlando Magic clawed their way back into the series with two rousing wins at the Kia Center. Now in a best-of-three series, they can get to the doorstep of advancing with a win in Game 5 on the road.
Cleveland Cavaliers v Orlando Magic - Game Three
Cleveland Cavaliers v Orlando Magic - Game Three / Rich Storry/GettyImages
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3 Key Matchups to Game 5

Franz Wagner vs Max Strus

Franz Wagner who has been the epitome of inconsistency this season and series, just had a huge Game 4 and a really good Game 3 after being inefficient in Cleveland. Franz Wagner is the number two option on this team and his play and his ability to help Paolo Banchero very much dictate this series.

When Wagner is good, the Magic are good. When he is bad, they are bad.

It is just how this season and series has gone.

Max Strus, who was a below-average defender this year, has done a decent job on Franz Wagner in this series. But as of the last two games, Wagner has got the best of him and this needs to continue for the Magic's success.

Wagner is 10 for 24 from the field and 3 for 5 from three with Strus as the primary defender this series. He also has added six assists, and Strus has sent him to the line three times where he is 4 for 6 on free throws while only turning it over once. These are great numbers, but they have gotten boosted over the last two games.

To continue this, Wagner needs to continue to be aggressive on Strus and take advantage of that matchup.

During the regular season, Wagner was 6 for 11 on Strus, so he has dominated this matchup all year and he needs to hone in on that. Strus has guarded Wagner for the majority of this series so he will get the chance to attack Strus, he just needs to take advantage of those chances.

That does not just mean scoring.

Wagner had seven assists on him during the regular season and already has six this series. Wagner should be able to dominate Strus to the point where they send a double or have to help, and that is where Franz's underrated playmaking abilities can come in huge.

On the defene, Wagner has done a good job defending Strus.

Although Strus is 7 for 16, and shooting a slightly better percentage on Wagner than Wagner is on Strus, Wagner has held him to 2 for 10 from three. This has been huge for the Magic this series.

Struss is a dangerous three-point shooter. He has been seen multiple times during the season to catch fire from three and completely change a game.

Wagner not allowing this has really minimized Strus' role in the offense, even if running him off the three-point line has allowed him to get some layups.

As long as he is not getting in rhythm with his jumper then he is really not a threat in this series. He has recorded no other stats when being guarded by Wagner and has not gone to the line either.

Wagner has guarded Strus for the majority of this series. I imagine that will continue since Wagner has done such an amazing job.

Wagner has also used his size and length advantage on Strus too. Wagner is averaging 8.0 rebounds per game this series which has been huge for the Magic because they are so outsized by the Cavs' bigs. Since the Cavs have the size advantage with the bigs, the Magic have had to use their size advantage with the wings to counteract and he has done just that.

Wagner has done a phenomenal job on defense against Strus, he just needs to keep it up on offense. He needs to attack the rim and not shoot as many threes when he gets the Strus matchup. This will open up so much more for him and his teammates.

The Magic have done such an amazing job responding to being down 2-0 especially for such a young team.

They took care of business at home. And if they can just steal one game on the road, they have a chance to win a series in the playoffs. The maturity and growth of this team has really shown these past couple of games.

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Most young teams would have given up or felt outmatched, but the Magic knew they could compete and they did. Taking advantage of these matchups on both sides of the ball can help them continue to play great defense and get things going on offense.