Orlando Magic vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (April 27, 2024): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

The Orlando Magic look to build off a momentous Game 3 victory and even the series with the Cleveland Cavaliers heading to the pressure-packed back half of the series.
The Orlando Magic rolled to victory in Game 3. Now they have to find a way to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers again in Game 4 to even the series.
The Orlando Magic rolled to victory in Game 3. Now they have to find a way to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers again in Game 4 to even the series. / Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

156. TNT, Bally Sports Florida, Bally Sports Ohio. April 27, 2024. 1-2. Magic by 2 (O/U 201.5). 1P. 2-1. 38. Magic Cavaliers Game 4 Matchup 04.27.24

Tickets: $52-$642 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 - April 27 in Orlando; Game 5 - April 30 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 2-1


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OMD Prediction

Our Record: 55-30/42-43 ATS (2-1/2-1 ATS in Playoffs)

Everyone could easily expect the Orlando Magic to return home to the Kia Center and look a whole lot better. Everyone expected the team to get an emotional and spiritual lift.

But a rollicking 38-point blowout? The third-largest win in the franchise's playoff history and the worst loss in the Cleveland Cavaliers' playoff history?

That just felt like the dam broke for Orlando. The team finally found some offensive juice and rode it through the finish line to stake a claim back in the series. All the questions now seem to be on the Cavaliers as they had no answers for the adjustments the Magic made. And now they are the ones who have yet to break through on offense in any game this series.

Of course, all the scores reset. And a loss of this magnitude tends to bring with it a sense of focus and purpose to the losing team.

The Cavaliers know they cannot afford to squander all of their momentum and allow the series to be tied heading into Game 5. The players who struggled -- especially Donovan Mitchell -- cannot be quiet for a second straight game.

Orlando will see a more focused defensive effort and the team cannot revert back to the struggles from Games 1 and 2 again. It makes for a lot of intriguing questions and a true test of mettle for both of these teams.

101. 156. Magic Cavs Game 4 Prediction 04.27.24. 102. 38. Prediction

3 Keys to Watch

The Physical Tone to Start

The Orlando Magic's decision to turn to Wendell Carter at the start of Game 3 proved to be a consequential decision for the Magic. He gave the team a more physical presence against Jarrett Allen. And while his two points and five rebounds do not seem the most impactful stat line, he made it a point to hit Allen on every box out and establish a pocket for others to rebound.

This is the moment the Cleveland Cavaliers were fearing. They lauded Allen and the team for their toughness and physicality in the two wins. But they were always a bit afraid the team would revert to a team that was receiving the dreaded and anomalous "soft" label.

To be sure, the first six minutes of Game 4 should be a war to figure out which team will dictate things physically to the other team. All three games in this series have turned on that question -- the winning team scored 30 points in each first quarter.

This is the plain fact of this series dating back to the regular season. The team that wins the first quarter is the team that wins.

The Cavs put on a shooting display in the first quarter to lead by 17 and 19 in the first quarter of their two regular season wins. Orlando won the first quarter 29-24 in the team's February win and 31-21 in Game 3 (the team lost 29-22 in the win in December at Kia Center).

These games are getting decided in the first quarter with the tone the winning team is setting.

Mitchell vs. Suggs

One of the key adjustments to Game 3 was the Orlando Magic put Jalen Suggs on Donovan Mitchell a lot more. Coach Jamahl Mosley said earlier in the series he did not want Jalen Suggs getting caught in screening actions and slowed down going head-to-head with Donovan Mitchell. To Jalen Suggs' credit, he locked up Darius Garland in their direct matchup and Gary Harris held his own.

But after Mitchell scored 30 points in Game 1 and after he had 14 points in the first quarter of Game 2 and made a bigger impact as a driver to collapse the defense, it was time for Suggs to take the challenge and slow down that deluge.

Mitchell struggled in Game 3, scoring only 13 points on 6-for-16 shooting and 1 for 5 from three. He still had seven assists. According to tracking data from NBA.com, Mitchell scored only four points and shot 2 for 5 with three assists with Suggs defending him.

It is definitely a team effort to contain Mitchell now. The Magic did a better job keeping him from getting to the basket and putting him in tighter corners so he could not get his shot off. But Suggs' initial work is certainly something to take note of.

Getting Ready for the Clutch

So far, all three games of this series have been relative blowouts.

The Orlando Magic cut the lead to five midway through the third quarter in Game 1 before an 18-8 run put the game largely out of reach. Orlando snuck the deficit to nine with about four minutes to play in Game 2. But that was always a long shot. And the Cleveland Cavaliers never made a push in the second half of Game 3.

Series like these often turn on who wins a toss-up game and who wins the close games of the series. A one-point win counts the same as a 38-point win. And everyone should be bracing for that close game to come.

The Magic finished the year with a 21-14 record in clutch situations (games within five points in the final five minutes). They had a 103.0 offensive rating and 100.8 defensive rating. Most of the Magic's clutch wins came when they were playing from ahead rather than trying to make up ground in the last five minutes.

Despite not receiving any votes for the Clutch Player of the Year, Paolo Banchero has quite a resume this year of clutch shots, including that game-winner against the Detroit Pistons. He scored 98 points in clutch situations, 14th in the league. Although his turnovers deserve some consideration and will be his biggest area to improve.

The Cavs went 20-22 with a 106.2 offensive rating and 111.5 defensive rating in clutch situations. They struggled late in games despite Donovan Mitchell's prominence as a closer -- 80 total points, 41.8 percent shooting and 10-for-23 shooting from three with seven assists and eight turnovers.

Next. Magic keep foot on pedal 04.26.24. Orlando Magic have to keep foot on the pedal in Game 4. dark

These are two teams that have had their successes and struggles late in games. it is where their imperfections do come out. At some point in this series, clutch play is going to determine who wins.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

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