Orlando Magic at New Orleans Pelicans (April 3, 2024): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

The Orlando Magic hit the road to start their final stretch of five road games in the last seven games following the eight-game homestand. They face an equally desperate and urgent New Orleans Pelicans team.

The Orlando Magic hope to find their groove again on the road as they take on an equally hungry New Orleans Pelicans team.
The Orlando Magic hope to find their groove again on the road as they take on an equally hungry New Orleans Pelicans team. / Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
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69. Pelicans by 4.5 (O/U 208). 8P. Bally Sports Florida, Bally Sports New Orleans. April 3, 2024. Magic Pelicans Matchup 04.03.24. 44-31. 38. 45-30

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Season Series: Magic 121, Pelicans 106 in Orlando on March 21; Tonight in New Orleans

Pace

Off. Rtg.

Def. Rtg.

eFG%

O.Reb.%

TO%

FTR

Orlando

97.4

112.8

110.4

54.3

29.7

15.2

28.9

New Orleans

98.7

116.6

111.7

55.6

28.2

13.1

26.4

OMD Prediction

Our Record: 49-26/37-38 ATS

The Orlando Magic and New Orleans Pelicans were not thrilled after their games Monday.

The Magic felt they did not play to their standard and at the Playoff level they know they need in a one-point loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. The feeling was one of relief more than the usual exuberance that comes after wins for this team.

The Pelicans are also feeling a way about themselves. They let Devin Booker score 52 points and blitz them early with 37 in the first half in a game that was never competitive and a Phoenix Suns win.

Both the Magic and Pelicans are facing a lot of questions as the Playoffs approach. The New Orleans Pelicans have faded some, losing three of four after defeating the Miami Heat and Detroit Pistons after their loss at Kia Center a few weeks ago.

The Magic lost three straight to playoff-level teams after that win over the Pelicans and then had two completely different games to close their homestand.

Both teams have a reason to show up for this one as both need to keep up in their respective postseason chases. This will be another high-intensity game.

102. 69. Prediction. 105. 38. Magic Pelicans Prediction 04.03.24

3 Keys to Watch

Battle For the Paint

The Orlando Magic struggled in a lot of areas against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday. But it is hard to completely pin down what went wrong other than the energy and intensity level.

Their defensive numbers were pretty solid -- giving up 107.3 points per 100 possessions. They did not take an excessive number of threes (just 32 attempts). They got to the line for 27 free throws. The Magic did a lot of things well.

But it was undoubtedly a game that went against the Magic's style and identity. They are a team that tries to get to the paint and to the foul line. They are ninth in the league with 51.7 points in the paint per game but the Magic have not hit that mark in their last four games.

They scored only 44 points in the paint in Monday's win. Portland outscored them with 50. And the Magic have lost the points in the paint battle in the last four games. Makes sense the Magic are 2-2.

The paint is going to be the key to Wednesday's game.

New Orleans is eighth in the league with 51.8 points in the paint per game and the team is fourth in the league giving up 46.3 points in the paint per game (Orlando is eighth with 47.7 points in the paint per game).

Whoever is able to win the paint is probably going to win.

Life without Ingram

The Orlando Magic dominated their win over the New Orleans Pelicans in the second half. It has been the hallmark win for the Magic in this stretch of the season with the team struggling to piece together wins against playoff-level competition (the schedule has not helped with that).

But a big factor in that game was Brandon Ingram leaving the game with a knee injury in the second half. The Magic zoomed ahead from that point forward (not that Orlando did not have the lead already). Ingram had 14 points on 7-for-12 shooting and he was able to hit shots over the Magic's tough defense.

The Pelicans won two straight coming out of that game but have struggled with three losses in their last four games squandering their six-game homestand this late in the season (Wednesday's game is the fifth of those games with the San Antonio Spurs on the horizon to close it).

New Orleans has a 112.2 offensive rating since Ingram's departure. This team still profiles incredibly similar to the Magic, they are still really good on defense giving up 112.8 points per 100 possessions despite Ingram's absence.

Franz exiting his slump?

There is a lot of hand-wringing about Franz Wagner these days. He has struggled with his 3-point shot a ton this year, shooting 28.3 percent from three. He has been excellent in nearly every other area with career-highs in scoring, finishing at the rim, drives and everything else.

Still, everyone wants to see Wagner break through. His March was rough. He averaged 15.5 points per game on 46.6/14.3/81.5 shooting splits in March. It was rough and one of the reasons the Magic's offense has taken a negative turn.

Paolo Banchero has had some big games against the New Orleans Pelicans (I still think about his clutch shotmaking in last year's game in New Orleans as the moment he arrived as a star and then he added a triple-double in the game a few weeks ago). But Wagner is going to be the difference if the Magic are going to be these kinds of teams.

Wagner has to hope he is starting to turn the corner as the Playoffs approach. He had 20 points on 6-for-10 shooting and was one of the best offensive options in a frustrating game against the Portland Trail Blazers. He had 18 points on 7-for-13 shooting in the win over the Pelicans on March 21. That actually was the last game Wagner hit more than one three in a game.

Next. Race to the 3rd seed 04.03.24. Race to the 3rd Seed: Orlando Magic's chances to climb. dark

The inconsistency in Wagner's raw production right now is one of the biggest things hurting the Magic in their Playoff push. The Magic have to hope he is turning some corner.