Orlando Magic vs. LA Clippers (March 29, 2024): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

The Orlando Magic get their final crack at the Kia Center at a playoff-bound team (before the season finale) as they take on the LA Clippers in a battle of two teams with poor records against winning teams.

Gary Harris is set to return to the lineup after missing two games due to injury. That could be a big addition for the Orlando Magic against the LA Clippers.
Gary Harris is set to return to the lineup after missing two games due to injury. That could be a big addition for the Orlando Magic against the LA Clippers. / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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45-27. March 29, 2024. 42-30. 38. Clippers by 1.5 (O/U 212.5). 77. Bally Sports Florida, Bally Sports SoCal. Magic Clippers Matchup 03.29.24. 7P

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Tickets:
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Season Series:
Clippers 118, Magic 102 in Los Angeles on Oct. 31; Tonight in Orlando

Pace

Off. Rtg.

Def. Rtg.

eFG%

O.Reb.%

TO%

FTR

LA

97.7

118.9

115.3

56.7

28.4

13.3

25.9

Orlando

97.5

112.9

110.8

54.2

29.8

15.1

29.0

OMD Prediction

Our Record: 47-25/37-35 ATS

The Orlando Magic and the LA Clippers have the same problem right now. They are both fighting for their spot in their respective conference's Playoff picture and even fighting for homecourt advantage, but they are struggling to beat teams in said Playoff picture. Both teams are looking for proof that they are Playoff teams.

The Orlando Magic are coming off two straight losses to Playoff-caliber teams in the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors (both close games). The LA Clippers eked out a win at the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday on a controversial call. They had lost their previous four against playoff competitors and six of their previous seven.

Both the Magic and Clippers are looking for ways to rise to the occasion. Orlando is 17-24 against teams with records better than .500. LA is 23-23. That is a sign that while these teams are very good, they have concerns heading into the Playoffs.

Something has to give in this game.

Prediction. 107. 77. Magic Clippers Prediction 03.29.24. 109. 38

3 Keys To Watch

The Gary Harris difference

The Orlando Magic lost the two games to the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers playing without Jalen Suggs. Maybe the Magic can brush that aside. They lost these last two games to the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors without Gary Harris.

Those absences clearly matter. Whether they should or not is another question -- the Magic still feel like a carefully placed tower that can wobble if a piece is removed.

The starting lineup with Harris in it has been killer all year. The Magic are 11-0 when Harris starts with the Magic's core four starters. They have a +14.6 net rating (114.1 offensive rating and 99.5 defensive rating) in 191 minutes this season. That is the Magic's rhythm right now.

With Harris back in the lineup, the Magic should have some added confidence.

The Clippers' Big Three

From a talent perspective, the LA Clippers are flush with talent. They should be a challenge for any team that plays them.

Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and James Harden have all played more than 60 games at this point. Injuries are not the concern with them. They are a dangerous and difficult team to face on offense.

Yet, something still feels off. The Clippers have been good, but still not quite good enough. Do they have enough to get by? Do they have an extra gear?

There is a lot of hand-wringing about the Clippers and their window to win. There is a lot of news and reporting on Paul George's future without an extension with the LA Clippers -- the Philadelphia 76ers seem to be waiting in the wings and reporters have even tried to rope the Orlando Magic in.

Still, the Clippers are very good when their big three shares the floor. When Leonard, George and Harden are on the floor, the Clippers have a +10.2 net rating with a a 121.1 offensive rating (they are +6.1 since the All-Star Break). This is still a handful to play.

Reports of the Clippers' demise may be exaggerated, even if they have been inconsistent throughout the year.

Franz's Struggles

A lot of attention is always going to be on Paolo Banchero. A lot of the Orlando Magic's success depends on how Banchero handles the double teams he faces. But the Magic's success still depends on Franz Wagner providing some relief both as a scorer and a playmaker.

Wagner's scoring average has dipped under 20 points per game to 19.8 points per game. But he is shooting 28.8 percent from beyond the arc. That icy shooting has been especially frustrating because he is often the one making the entry pass to give Banchero some spacing.

Wagner is averaging 16.1 points per game and shooting 16.7 percent from three since the All-Star Break. Yikes.

Next. Magic control destiny 03.28.24. Orlando Magic control their own destiny. dark

The Magic need more from their second star. He gets a heavy shot volume and can attack the basket. But they need that boost to help a sometimes lagging offense.