Orlando Magic vs. Charlotte Hornets (March 17, 2024): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

The Orlando Magic end the soft part of their schedule with a chance to punch their ticket to the postseason as they take on the Charlotte Hornets at the Kia Center.
The Orlando Magic look to keep up their strong home record as they face the Charlotte Hornets.
The Orlando Magic look to keep up their strong home record as they face the Charlotte Hornets. / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

170. Bally Sports Florida, Bally Sports Southeast. 40-28. Magic by 12.5 (O/U 203.5). 7P. 17-51. March 19, 2024. Magic Hornets Matchup 03.19.24. 38

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Season Series:
Hornets 130, Magic 117 in Orlando on Nov. 26; Magic 101, Hornets 89 in Charlotte on March 5; Tonight in Orlando; April 5 in Charlotte


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OMD Prediction

Our Record: 44-24/34-34 ATS

The Orlando Magic enter games like Tuesday night's game against the Charlotte Hornets a bit more relaxed than usual. It is not that they are overlooking a team like the Hornets or looking past them. They know they have to take care of their business and win these kinds of games.

There is just a lot of confidence about the way they are playing and what they are capable of doing. It still feels like in some of these recent games the Magic have been playing with their food before putting their foot down in the third quarter to put the game away.

That is essentially what Orlando did in its win over Charlotte in the Queen City a few weeks ago. That was a grimy game where the Magic pulled away late for what felt like an easy victory.

That is just how these games go. Orlando is in a position now where it can assert its dominance and does not have to play its best to put these games and teams away. It sure would help if the team did lock in for closer to 48 minutes though considering how much tougher the schedule is about to get.

38. Prediction. 98. 170. Magic Hornets Prediction 03.19.24. 114

3 Keys To Watch

Defense dominating

The Orlando Magic's offense comes and goes. That is just the nature of things for this team. They know that defense is what matters for this team. And when the defense is locked in, they become a much more dangerous team regardless of whether shots are going in.

Increasingly lately, the defense has been doing more than its heavy lifting. It is dominating games completely.

The Magic are ranked fourth in the league in defensive rating, giving up 111.2 points per 100 possessions. They have given up 106.9 points per 100 possessions since the All-Star Break, the best mark in the league since then.

Orlando's defense is dealing. It is not just that the team has given up fewer than 100 points in five of the last 10 games and fewer than 110 points in 13 of the past 14 games. The Magic have given up fewer than 110 points per 100 possessions in five of the past 10 games too.

Orlando's defense is working right now. And that includes giving up 98.0 points per 100 possessions without Jonathan Isaac on Sunday.

Brandon Miller's Rookie Surge

The Rookie of the Year race is between Chet Holmgren and Victor Wembanyama. Everyone has kind of forgotten how spirited and intense the debate was for the second pick between Brandon Miller and Scoot Henderson. And how much heat -- even from Hugo the Hornet -- the Charlotte Hornets took for taking Miller.

The Hornets have to be happy with what they have seen. Miller is looking like a solid two-way wing who can take on the scoring load. And especially since LaMelo Ball officially left the lineup.

Miller is averaging 16.6 points per game and shooting a 51.6 percent effective field goal percentage. He is doing some fun things for a rookie.

Since the All-Star Break, excluding Saturday's game against the Philadelphia 76ers when he was ejected for a flagrant foul, Miller is averaging 17.5 points per game. He has had to be a bit of a chucker as his efficiency has dropped.

But for Hornets fans, Miller is a bright spot that is getting the team to the end of the season.

Home Cooking

The Orlando Magic have undoubtedly benefited after the All-Star Break from some home cooking at the Kia Center. They have been downright dominant in the home gym, going 23-8 in the Kia Center. And they are looking to keep building momentum on the home parquet.

This season, Orlando has a +6.9 net rating in home, the fifth-best mark in the entire league. The Magic have a 115.9 offensive rating and 109.0 defensive rating in home games (that includes the Mexico City game).

Orlando has been even better since the All-Star Break as they play better basketball -- a +12.1 net rating with a 101.7 defensive rating in six home games since the All-Star Break at Kia Center. Orlando is sharpening its defense, as mentioned before, but the team is better at home as expected.

Mosley believe again 03.19.24. Jamahl Mosley has gotten Orlando Magic to believe again. dark. Next

With seven more games left on this homestand, there is no reason to think Orlando will not continue adding to this record.