Orlando Magic at Golden State Warriors (January 2, 2024): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

The Orlando Magic continue their road trip in San Francisco as they take on the Golden State Warriors and try to get their first win on this tough four-game road trip.
Franz Wagner is on an All-Star tear recently as the Orlando Magic look to get back on track in San Francisco against the Golden State Warriors.
Franz Wagner is on an All-Star tear recently as the Orlando Magic look to get back on track in San Francisco against the Golden State Warriors. / Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

Jan. 2, 2024. 15-17. 41. 10P. 19-13. 38. NBATV, Bally Sports Florida, NBC Sports Bay Area. Magic Warriors Matchup 01.02.24. Warriors by 3 (O/U 230.5)

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Season Series:
Tonight in San Francisco; March 27 in Orlando


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OMD Prediction

Our Record: 22-10/17-15 ATS

The Orlando Magic found themselves climbing uphill throughout their game Sunday against the Phoenix Suns. They got into a deep hole because of their turnovers and miscues and then slowly fought their way back. It was a game down the stretch and the Magic ran out of gas trying to keep up with all the weapons the Suns had.

Orlando was disappointed with its turnovers and the mistakes it made ultimately. But the team was encouraged that it could compete and keep up with Phoenix. The Magic are at the point where they know they can beat any team they face.

And there were a lot of things that came together in that game Sunday -- including Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner continuing to look like All-Stars and just killer matchup problems.

That will make for a good matchup with the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday. The Warriors have lost three in a row following a five-game win streak (with a three-game losing streak sandwiching that). This is a team that is still figuring some things out, especially without Draymond Green -- the Warriors are 5-4 without Green.

Both teams need a win badly tonight. And both teams are very capable of getting the win.

41. Prediction. 115. 38. Magic Warriors Prediction 01.02.24. 111

3 Keys to Watch

Watch the Turnovers

The Orlando Magic laid the blame for their loss to the Phoenix Suns on their turnovers and the way they were loose with the ball in extended stretches throughout the game. Seven turnovers in the third quarter (which followed a seven-turnover second quarter in Friday's win against the New York Knicks) stood out.

Orlando ultimately had 15 turnovers for 16 points. But honestly, the bigger issue for the Magic was they forced only six turnovers for eight points. That is a big way this Magic team likes to make up the deficit for their lack of 3-point shooting.

To be sure, winning the turnover battle is critical for this team and is a big area the Magic are focused on improving.

Orlando currently ranks 24th in turnover rate at 14.8 percent. The team gives up 16.8 points off turnovers per game (15th in the league). The team is fourth in the league, forcing a 15.3 percent turnover rate but second in the league in points off turnovers per game at 18.8 per game.

And Golden State is turnover prone ranking 25th at a 14.9 percent turnover rate.

Franz Wagner's star turn

With the Golden State Warriors dynasty seemingly entering its twilight, our friends at Blue Man Hoop are assessing how the two-track plan went wrong. One way that the team went wrong was by picking Jonathan Kuminga (12.5 points per game this season) over Franz Wagner.

The Warriors should be kicking themselves for skipping out on Wagner. Wagner seemed like the perfect player to insert into the Warriors' already-established core. And Orlando Magic fans would probably agree that his skill set would have fit perfectly in the Golden State Warriors' cutting and moving system.

Their loss has become the Magic's gain. And Wagner is putting up All-Star numbers for the Magic of late, shedding the poor shooting start that had everyone wringing their hands.

Wagner is averaging a career-high 21.2 points per game, 6.0 rebounds per game and 4.0 assists per game. In his last six games, he is averaging 27.3 points per game while shooting 53.5 percent from the floor and 30.0 percent from three.

Wagner has been a dynamo attacking the basket and is making his case to go to Indianapolis. He has added 6.3 rebounds per game and 4.8 assists per game for good measure.

The Battle on the Glass

The Orlando Magic are constantly playing catch-up offensively. They have to find ways to make up ground against teams that make more 3-pointers than them. Free throws are a big part of that equation. Winning the paint is a big part of that equation.

So too is winning the offensive glass.

The Orlando Magic climbed back into the game against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday because they were able to dominate the offensive glass -- scoring 22 second-chance points off eight offensive rebounds (that is what the box score says, at least). That was a lifeline for the team.

For the season, the Magic are ninth in the league with a 30.3 percent offensive rebound rate -- they grab three of every 10 offensive rebound chances. That is a number that has been slipping. In December, it dropped to 28.4 percent (17th in the league).

The Magic though are fifth in the league in second-chance points per game for the season at 16.1 points per game. In December that dropped to 14.6 points per game. That drop is part of why Orlando's offense has been lagging.

The Golden State Warriors will present an offensive rebounding challenge on the other side. The Warriors are fourth in the league in offensive rebound rate at 32.4 percent (and that number has increased with Draymond Green out in December). And Golden State is dangerous for that reason because so many threes come after offensive rebounds.

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The Warriors are seventh with 15.9 second-chance points per game. The glass is going to be a clear battle line for this game.