Orlando Magic vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (April 25, 2024): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

The Orlando Magic return home to the Kia Center hoping to defend their homecourt and pick up their first win in the series against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Franz Wagner and the Orlando Magic are still seeking a way to get around Jarrett Allen and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Franz Wagner and the Orlando Magic are still seeking a way to get around Jarrett Allen and the Cleveland Cavaliers. / Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

NBATV, Bally Sports Florida, Bally Sports Ohio. Magic Cavaliers Matchup 04.25.24. 0-2. 7P. 2-0. 156. April 25, 2024. 38. Magic by 2 (O/U 198.5)

Tickets: $49-$526 on StubHub
Playoff Series: Game 1 -Cavaliers 97, Magic 83 in Cleveland; Game 2 - Cavaliers 96, Magic 86 in Cleveland; Game 3 - Tonight in Orlando; Game 4 - April 27 in Orlando
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 2-0


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OMD Prediction

Our Record: 54-30/41-43 ATS (1-1/1-1 ATS in Playoffs)

Down 2-0 in a series, Game 3 takes on so much added importance.

On one hand, the Orlando Magic are right to say that a series does not begin until the road team wins. The Cleveland Cavaliers did what they were supposed to do by winning on their home floor. If they want to end this series sooner, they will have to win at Kia Center, where the Magic have the sixth-best home record at 29-11 this season.

On the other hand, the Magic were not competitive on the road in Cleveland. The Cavaliers were stifling defensively as the Magic missed open shot after open shot. They had enough spurts offensively and enough tough shotmaking from Donovan Mitchell to build a lead and maintain it. The Magic could only chip at the edges of that lead.

Will things be different at Kia Center? Game 3 is usually the game where the homecoming team, even if overmatched, makes their best stand. Orlando needs to make its stand in this game and prove that the team can make this a competitive series.

Will the Magic carry over the good defense from the opening two games and add a few more shots on the home floor? Or do the Cavs truly have the Magic completely figured out? That is the question left to figure out on the Kia Center floor on Thursday night.

Magic Cavs Prediction 04.25.24. 105. 38. Prediction. 95. 156

3 Keys to Watch

The Start is Everything

All four of the Orlando Magic's losses to the Cleveland Cavaliers have followed a similar pattern. The Cavaliers jumped out to strong starts and never really looked back with the Magic unable to challenge the Cavs in the end.

In December, Cleveland led 37-20 after one quarter and not even Paolo Banchero's 42 points could make it a tight game. In January, the Cavs led 38-19 after one quarter as they built a 30-point lead in the win at Kia Center. In Game 1, Cleveland led 33-26 as they ended up winning by 14 points. In Game 2, the Cavs led 30-18 in what turned out to be a 10-point win.

Those two first quarters marked the only two 30-point quarters in the series so far.

In the regular season, Cleveland ranked eighth in the league in first-quarter net rating at +4.0 points per 100 possessions. They scored 117.2 points per 100 possessions. In the Playoff series, they are scoring 126.0 points per 100 possessions.

That only makes the Magic's defensive efforts the rest of the game seem that much more impressive. But Orlando has found itself down too much to make that matter.

If the Magic are going to win in this series, they at least need to make the first quarters close. Especially coming home for Game 3, the Magic need to get the crowd engaged early and bury the Cavs in the same avalanche of energy and emotion that they buried the Magic in at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

What kind of game this ultimately becomes starts in the first 12 minutes.

Jarrett Allen on the interior

If the Orlando Magic have one issue they need to solve repeatedly -- and it is one that lasted from the regular season too. They have had no answer on the interior for Jarrett Allen. Their decision to go for spreading the floor with Jonathan Isaac may have been some concession they cannot match physically with Allen.

Allen has grabbed 18 and 20 rebounds in the two games respectively, including nine offensive rebounds in the Cavs' Game 2 win. Allen is averaging 16.0 points per game and 19.0 rebounds per game with 6.0 offensive rebounds per game.

Orlando has simply been unable to get into the paint and unable to challenge him at the rim or keep him off the glass. The Cavs have dominated the Magic on the glass with a 30.6 percent offensive rebound rate. The Magic have gotten their share of offensive rebounds too. But with the Magic struggling to score so much, those margins feel very small.

And Orlando, which was second in the league in defensive rebound rate in the regular season at 73.7 percent, is grabbing only 69.4 percent of defensive rebounds now and 69.5 percent against Cleveland in the regular season.

Home Cooking

The Orlando Magic are feeling at least a little bit more confidence coming home to the Kia Center. They have been a much better team on their home floor than on the road.

The Magic went 29-11 at the Kia Center this year. Their offensive rating jumped from 112.9 to 115.5 and defensive rating jumps from 110.8 to 107.7.

You expect teams to play better at home. You expect the shooting to be a bit better and the energy to be up. Especially with a young team.

In a lot of ways, this game feels like the Orlando Magic's regular-season finale against the Milwaukee Bucks. They had their backs against the wall after three straight losses on the road. They needed to win that game to clinch their spot in the Playoffs and avoid the Play-In Tournament. The Magic responded in that game with a resounding win over the Bucks (even with another typical slow start).

This scenario is different. The Cleveland Cavaliers have been tough on defense and locked the Orlando Magic out of their typical offensive pet plays and designs. But the Magic got beat up by the Bucks in a game Wednesday only to turn around and trounce them at home (as injured as the Bucks were).

Next. Anthony Black Game 3 04.25.24. Anthony Black should be part of Orlando Magic's Game 3 plans. dark

There is a different energy at the Kia Center. And Orlando wants to ride that as far as it will take the team. The Magic must win Thursday to keep the series alive.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

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