Orlando Magic vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (May 3, 2024): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

The Orlando Magic return home for Game 6 facing elimination as they try to force a decisive Game 7 back in Cleveland on Sunday. Can the young Magic pull off the biggest win of their season?
Darius Garland had his breakthrough game in Game 5 which could be trouble for the Orlando Magic as they try to extend the series.
Darius Garland had his breakthrough game in Game 5 which could be trouble for the Orlando Magic as they try to extend the series. / Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

3-2. 156. May 3, 2024. Magic Cavs Game 6 Matchup 05.03.24. 2-3. 38. 7P. ESPN, Bally Sports Florida, Bally Sports Ohio. Magic by 4 (O/U 199)

Tickets: $75-$618 on StubHub
Playoff Series: Game 1 - Cavaliers 97, Magic 83 in Cleveland; Game 2 - Cavaliers 96, Magic 86 in Cleveland; Game 3 - Magic 121, Cavaliers 83 in Orlando; Game 4 - Magic 112, Cavaliers 89 in Orlando; Game 5 - Cavaliers 104, Magic 103 in Cleveland; Game 6 - Tonight in Orlando; Game 7 (If Necessary) - Sunday in Cleveland
Season Series: Cavaliers 121, Magic 111 in Cleveland on Dec. 7; Magic 104, Cavaliers 94 in Orlando on Dec. 11; Cavaliers 126, Magic 99 in Orlando on Jan. 22; Magic 116, Cavaliers 109 in Cleveland on Feb. 22

CLE leads 3-2


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OMD Prediction

Our Record: 56-31/43-44 ATS (3-2/3-2 ATS in Playoffs)

The Orlando Magic now face elimination for the first time. And it is completely unknown how they will respond.

Perhaps we have some clues. They struggled on the road in their win-and-in opportunities in the last week of the season. But they came home for the regular season finale and blew the doors off the Milwaukee Bucks to clinch their spot in this series with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The team had to overcome a lot of tension and nervousness that afternoon and performed well.

They at least have that to lean back on for some experience.

Still, everyone knows that Game 6 will be different. There is a different pressure and it is something this team has not dealt with before.

The bigger concern for the Orlando Magic should be whether the Cleveland Cavaliers found some offensive code.

The Cavs are likely to have Jarrett Allen back after he missed Game 5 with bruised ribs. That will get rid of some of the spacing that hurt the Magic in Game 5. But perhaps Darius Garland found a rhythm and perhaps Max Strus found a rhythm. That will completely change things.

Just like the Magic played better in their second trip to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, expect the Cavs to play better in their return to Kia Center.

This is going to be 48 minutes of war that comes down to which team executes better and overcomes the inherent pressure in a game like this.

Magic Cavs Game 6 Prediction 05.03.24. 104. 38. Prediction. 102. 156

3 Keys To Watch

Tempo and Pace Wins

When you have two teams that are excellent at defending, finding a way to break through is one of the biggest challenges. If either team can get its half-court defense set, scoring is going to be pretty difficult. That is what good defenses are.

So how do you beat a good defense? You have to get down the court and beat them before they can get set up. You make them get into switches and mismatches because they are still getting set up.

This series has surprisingly been about tempo and which team is able to control the pace and speed of the game. It is not something that is quite quantifiable, but it is clear to see who is the one getting down the court.

Fast-break points have been a surprising indicator of victory in this series. The team that wins fast-break scoring has won four of the five games — the only loss is from Game 1 when the Magic outscored the Cavs 18-12.

Tempo was a major point of emphasis for Cleveland in Game 5. The Cavs outscored the Magic 19-7 in fast-break points and had 17 points off 14 turnovers. That was a big factor for the Cavs to have their best offensive game in the series.

Whichever team is able to turn their defense into some offense and begin running sets before the defense can settle in will be the one to grab control of this important Game 6.

The Darius Garland Breakthrough

The Cleveland Cavaliers had the advantage in the backcourt with Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland. It was an area that many believed would be a difference in this series. Indeed, the Orlando Magic have not gotten much scoring out of their guards -- and Gary Harris is now QUESTIONABLE with a right hamstring strain.

But the Magic have done a good job defensively. They have largely kept Donovan Mitchell in check, especially in the second half. That has opened the door for the Magic to compete in this series.

Where Orlando has been especially effective is in silencing Darius Garland.

Garland is averaging only 14.2 points per game and 5.8 assists per game. He is shooting 45.8 percent from the floor on just 11.4 field goal attempts per game. That is not the aggression of a future star player. The Cavs have missed him.

Game 5 was his breakthrough then. He scored 17 of his 23 points in the first quarter for his best offensive game of the series. He made three of his five 3-pointers and nine of 16 shots overall for a +9 in the game. That set the tone for the Cavaliers' win, especially his back-to-back threes late in the first quarter.

Orlando cannot let Garland get going like this again or it could be a long night for the team's defense.

Turnovers Turnovers Turnovers

The Orlando Magic's biggest weakness as a team this season has been its turnovers. The Magic finished 26th in the league with a 15.0-percent turnover rate. That will be the biggest thing the Magic have to correct as they aim to improve their offense.

While Orlando only had 14 turnovers in the Game 5 loss, But each one stung in such a close game. And the Cleveland Cavaliers scored 17 points off those 14 turnovers, pummeling the Orlando Magic for every mistake they made.

In Games 3 and 4, the Magic did better limiting their mistakes. Orlando had nine turnovers in Game 3 and 18 in Game 4. But the team gave up only 10 and 15 points off turnovers. Ultimately, the Magic need to keep their points off turnovers to less than the number of turnovers they commit.

Lineup change for Game 6 05.03.24. A simple lineup change could make difference in Game 6. dark. Next

Mainly, Orlando cannot let the little mistakes add up again as it did in Game 5. Limiting these self-inflicted mistakes will be the key to securing the win.