Orlando Magic at Detroit Pistons (February 24, 2024): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

The Orlando Magic begin a stretch of seven straight games against teams with losing records in Detroit against the Detroit Pistons as they continue their push to the postseason.
Cole Anthony and the Orlando Magic have had a shooting revival lately.
Cole Anthony and the Orlando Magic have had a shooting revival lately. / Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

31-25. 38. Magic Pistons Matchup 02.24.24. 8P. Bally Sports Florida, Bally Sports Detroit. Feb. 24, 2024. 8-47. 64. Magic by 6.5 (O/U 225.5)

Tickets: $20-$2,498 on StubHub
Season Series: Magic 123, Pistons 91 in Orlando on Dec. 8; Magic 111, Pistons 99 in Detroit on Feb. 4; Tonight in Detroit; March 3 in Orlando


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OMD Prediction

Our Record: 34-22/29-27 ATS

The Orlando Magic have a big opportunity ahead of them during the next few weeks. Their next seven games are against teams with losing records. The Magic have dominated those games so far at 16-5 this season. The Magic have cleaned up against bad teams.

Bad teams like the Detroit Pistons. And the Pistons are not good, to say the least.

They have struggled to put any pieces together despite plenty of young talent to build around. The Pistons have been a bit lost in the woods. That is probably being diplomatic.

The Magic messed around in their last game in Detroit and still came out with the win. That is the margin for error the Pistons give the teams they face.

If Orlando wants to be a postseason team, it will have to bring the same attention to detail and focus to games like this as it does to big games like Thursday. These next seven games may feel like a break, but they are probably more important than any remaining on the schedule.

103. 64. Prediction. 115. 38. Magic Pistons Prediction 02.24.24

3 Keys To Watch

Shooting Improvements

The Orlando Magic's biggest need remains its shooting. It is the big thing everyone knows this team is lacking. And a lot of teams like to test the Magic early by packing the paint and seeing if they will hit from the outside. It is typically very important for Orlando to hit threes early.

If there is a reason things have started to turn for the Magic in the last 10 games, it is because of their 3-point shooting.

Orlando has made 40.7 percent of its 3-pointers in the last 10 games, the second-best mark among all teams in their last 10 games. The team is going through a nice shooting burst, as all teams do. But this does change the Magic's offense. Orlando has a 117.7 offensive rating in its last 10 games.

Compare that to full-season numbers of a 113.2 offensive rating and 35.1 percent shooting from deep for the season. That is a major shift.

The Magic are actually taking fewer threes now, averaging fewer than 30 3-pointers per game in the last 10 games. But they are getting better looks and hitting shots. The game can be that simple.

Monty Williams' coaching conundrum

If you followed anybody on Detroit Pistons Twitter on Thursday during their loss to the Indiana Pacers, you probably saw them hit a boiling point with coach Monty Williams. As is the case with many rebuilding teams, they are confused with a lot of rotation decisions and see some of those lineups as the key reason why they are losing.

And there is a lot of blame on Williams and his stubbornness in using certain players and certain lineups over others.

In Thursday's game, the Pistons gave up a 26-9 run with an all-bench lineup of Shake Milton, Troy Brown Jr., Evan Fournier, Marcus Sasser and James Wiseman. That is a small lineup and one that the Pacers easily destroyed for two minutes.

The Pistons also gave up a 21-2 run in the second quarter with a lineup of Malachi Flynn, Evan Fournier, Troy Brown Jr., Ausar Thompson and Jalen Duren losing eight points in a minute and a half.

Some of that is because the Pacers can score points in a hurry. But Detroit has had few options and few ways to spread out their good players across all the lineups.

The Pistons are struggling to be competitive.

Depth Matters

Those lineup issues are all to say the Orlando Magic should have a major depth advantage. Just as the Indiana Pacers also have a depth advantage. And where the Magic can expand the lead into blowout territory is with how they play off the bench.

It won them the game Thursday against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Orlando scored 63 points off the bench. And the Magic are still fourth in the league, averaging 41.9 points per game off the bench. That is a big part of what matters for this team.

The Pistons are sixth in the league with 40.6 points per game off the bench. That is better than you might think. And since the trade deadline, the Pistons are averaging 41.4 points per game off the bench. Thursday may have been an outlier.

Next. Playoff x-Factors 02.24.24. 3 X-Factors for Orlando Magic's playoff chase. dark

It was not for the Magic. Since Feb. 8, they lead the league with 44.0 points per game off the bench in the last five games. The refreshed Magic have been able to gain an advantage with their depth, exactly as they did early in the season during the win streak.