Orlando Magic at Philadelphia 76ers (April 11, 2024): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

The Orlando Magic face a win-and-in game and their last chance to control their own Playoff destiny as they take on the suddenly surging Philadelphia 76ers in a must-win game.
The Orlando Magic will have to measure up to Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers with their Playoff fate on the line.
The Orlando Magic will have to measure up to Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers with their Playoff fate on the line. / Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

46-34. 38. Bally Sports Florida, NBC Sports Philadelphia. April 12, 2024. 76ers by 7.5 (O/U 212.5). 7P. Magic 76ers Matchup 04.12.24. 45-35. 93

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Season Series:
76ers 112, Magic 92 in Orlando on Dec. 27; 76ers 124, Magic 109 in Orlando on Jan. 19; Tonight in Philadelphia


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OMD Prediction

Our Record: 51-29/39-41 ATS

Everything is on the line for both the Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers in the season's final two days. The Magic though are the ones feeling all of the pressure. The Sixers have been here before and they have done this. They have been to the Playoffs and know how good they can be.

The Magic are still figuring out how good they might be as a team. They have never been to the Playoffs. And their lackluster showings in the last two games are as much proof as anything else that they are playing from behind and trying to overcome this pressure they are feeling.

Things could not be greater than they are in this game.

If the Magic win, they clinch their spot in the Playoffs and avoid the Play-In Tournament. If they lose, they may still control their own destiny to make the Playoffs if the Indiana Pacers lose to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday. But nothing is certain. And it all comes down to that one game.

Orlando has tried to take everything one game at a time. But the Magic still have to win that one game somehow. That would simply relieve a lot of pressure.

That will not be easy though.

The Philadelphia 76ers were 29-17 and fifth in the East when Joel Embiid tore his meniscus. They were third just a few days earlier when Embiid suffered his initial injury. The Sixers were playing like one of the best teams in the East before Embiid's injury.

Since his return, they are playing that way again.

Joel Embiid is listed as QUESTIONABLE with his knee injury recovery -- Kyle Lowry is also QUESTIONABLE. But everyone should expect Embiid to play. And that is a big difference in the game.

As would Franz Wagner playing for the Magic. But this is undoubtedly a very difficult matchup in a very difficult spot for Orlando.

114. 93. Prediction. 107. 38. Magic 76ers Predictions 04.12.24

3 Keys To Watch

Franz Wagner's Importance

The Orlando Magic have been missing Franz Wagner. That much is clear.

The easy way to measure it is with the Magic's offense. Wagner is thought of most as an offensive player with his ability to get downhill and toward the basket. The Magic are certainly missing some support for Paolo Banchero and someone who can relieve the pressure.

But he might be more important on defense. The Magic gave up 110-plus points in consecutive games for the first time since early February with Wagner out of the lineup the last two games. Defense is this team's identity.

Quite simply, the Magic are better defensively with Wagner on the floor.

The Magic have a +4.0 net rating and a 108.3 defensive rating with Wagner on the floor. Some of that is because Franz Wagner shares the floor with Jonathan Isaac a lot. But the three-man duo of Jalen Suggs, Wendell Carter and Paolo Banchero has a net rating of +1.5 points per 100 possessions with a 108.4 defensive rating. Adding Wagner to that mix ups it to +6.6 points per 100 possessions with a 104.4 defensive rating.

That hints at Wagner's overall defensive impact.

Wagner is still listed as QUESTIONABLE with a right ankle sprain. It is not clear if he is available to play or even if he would be available for Sunday's finale. But Wagner is essential to the Magic's potential for success.

Embiid back to MVP form

It never really looked like Joel Embiid missed more than two months with a torn meniscus. He has hit the ground running and supercharged the Philadelphia 76ers back into the Playoff race after they went 10-19 without him.

Embiid is averaging 30.0 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per game since his return. He is playing 30.1 minutes per game. Embiid has not had any indication of trying to slow down. This is the same MVP level that Embiid was playing at earlier in the season.

There is no stopping that. There is just the hope of containing it.

Embiid scored 36 points in his lone matchup with the Magic. But of note is that Wendell Carter tends to defend Embiid well. In that lone game against the Magic, Embiid went just 3 for 7 for 10 points. Last year, Embiid was 9 for 18 against Carter, according to NBA.com's tracking stats.

There is no stopping Embiid. And he has not eased his way back in. He has been full bore and Philadelphia has re-emerged for it.

Pace and Transition

The Orlando Magic came away from their loss to the Milwaukee Bucks feeling like they brought the correct effort and energy. The difference in the game was their turnovers and how they allowed the Bucks to get out in transition. Milwaukee punished Orlando for every mistake the team made.

To be certain, turnovers and the byproducts of those mistakes will be a big factor in this game. The Sixers tallied 23 fast-break points in the December win in Orlando. The Magic had turnover rates of 17.2 percent and 16.5 percent in their two games against the 76ers.

Orlando has carved an identity as a slowed down team. The Magic are deliberate. That is how the team has to play. It is about control of pace. If the Magic can play at a pace they are comfortable with, they will have a good chance to win.

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If they get sped up and turn the ball over, then things become very dicey as they have been the last two games.