Orlando Magic vs. New York Knicks (February 14, 2024): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

The Orlando Magic head to the All-Star Break trying to make a big statement at the Kia Center with a win over the active and scorching New York Knicks.
Jalen Suggs and the Orlando Magic hope to grow in back-to-backs and finish the first half of the season strong heading into the All-Star Break.
Jalen Suggs and the Orlando Magic hope to grow in back-to-backs and finish the first half of the season strong heading into the All-Star Break. / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

38. Magic by 3.5 (O/U 211.5). 27. Feb. 14, 2024. Magic Knicks Matchup 02.14.24. 29-25. 33-21. Bally Sports Florida, MSG. 7P

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Season Series:
Magic 117, Knicks 108 in Orlando on Dec. 29; Magic 98, Knicks 94 in New York City on Jan. 15; Tonight in Orlando; March 8 in New York City


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OMD Prediction

Our Record: 33-21/28-26 ATS

Orlando Magic fans were disappointed with Tuesday's loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. They were frustrated that this is what the Magic looked like in their lone national TV appearance. It was not putting their best foot forward.

The Magic did not seem too bothered by it. They recognized the mistakes they made and where they were pressing and perhaps not playing up to their standard. But they understood the Thunder are a really good team and played a really good game. There was some resignation that the Thunder beat their game plan.

Momentum is truly the next day's pitcher. There is not much time to linger on the loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder with a big Eastern Conference showdown with the New York Knicks on Wednesday.

Orlando has an opportunity to beat New York to clinch the season series and build some real momentum for the All-Star Break.

The Knicks have struggled since the trade deadline and announcing OG Anunoby's injury. They are a different team with Anunoby. This is still a team coming together. They will surely be playing with some fire after their contested loss to the Houston Rockets on Monday.

But this is a hurt New York team.

The Knicks are without OG Anunoby (right elbow surgery), Julius Randle (dislocated right shoulder) and Mitchell Robinson (left ankle surgery). But they also may be without Bojan Bogdanovic (sore left calf), Donte DiVincenzo (sore right hamstring) and Isaiah Hartenstein (left Achilles tendinopathy). They are all QUESTIONABLE for Wednesday's game.

The Magic will be without Markelle Fultz (left knee) and Gary Harris (right calf) for injury maintenance. But this is not a Magic team to play that undermanned even with how good Jalen Brunson can be.

Magic Knicks Prediction 02.14.24. 108. 38. Prediction. 102. 27

3 Keys to Watch

Turnovers, Turnovers, Turnovers

The Orlando Magic are always going to put the blame on themselves first and foremost for any defeat. They are going to look at what they can do, knowing they are largely good enough to compete against any team in the league.

And so the first place the Magic looked after losing Tuesday was at turnovers. Orlando had 16 turnovers that turned into 16 Oklahoma City points. That is not a crazy amount, but the turnovers were painful and momentum-killing.

The Magic had five turnovers for six points in the first quarter and 11 turnovers for eight points in the first half. It was not that Orlando gave up a ton of points off these turnovers, it is just when these turnovers took place and the momentum it killed.

Turnovers have remained the biggest issue for the Magic. They are 26th in turnover rate at 14.8 percent. That number is the same regardless of wins or losses.

The difference is the cost of those turnovers. They lose shot opportunities. And for a team that struggles to score and shoot from the outside, they cannot afford to lose those opportunities.

Trade Woes

The New York Knicks were one of the hottest teams in the league. They won nine in a row and 10 of 11 games heading into the trade deadline. They rose to the 4-seed and were competing for the 3-seed in the Eastern Conference. This was the it team.

And the Knicks pushed some chips in. They made the deal for OG Anunoby after the Orlando Magic defeated them in December. They further added veterans in Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks at the trade deadline. And that has taken some adjusting to get all the way back.

Some of that is Anunoby leaving the lineup for surgery on his elbow -- something that will cost him three weeks and was planned to occur during the All-Star Break to minimize the games missed. Anunoby has made a real difference for the Knicks. They have a +24.6 net rating (123.5/98.9 offensive/defensive rating) in 500 minutes this season with Anunoby on the floor.

Since the trade deadline, the Knicks have gone winless in three games with a 112.2 offensive rating and 122.6 defensive rating. That is a -10.5 net rating. Jalen Brunson missed one of those games but scored 39 and 27 points in those two games. He still scores a lot of points.

But the defense has dropped off with Bogdanovic on the floor (130.1 points allowed per 100 possessions). And the Knicks are still trying to figure out who they are with all the moving pieces on the roster.

The Back-To-Back Problem

The Orlando Magic are still a young team learning how to play and win when conditions are not ideal for them. That starts with trying to figure out how to be better in back-to-backs.

The Magic are 2-8 on the second night of back-to-backs this year. Their offense craters to 108.8 points per 100 possessions in those games and their defense struggles, giving up 118.8 points per 100 possessions. Orlando loses a bit of its identity in these games.

Some of that is because of the travel inherent in back-to-backs. The Magic have struggled with some really bad road trips.

But that is a double-edged sword too. One of the Magic's best wins of the season was on the second night of a back-to-back -- a win over the Denver Nuggets in a home-home back-to-back. And one of the team's worst losses was the second night of a home-home back-to-back -- the devastating loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Next. Shaq looms large 02.14.24. Shaquille O'Neal remains as large as ever for Orlando Magic. dark

The Magic are still holding out Markelle Fultz and Gary Harris due to injury. And nobody knows how much Jonathan Isaac will play in this game. That is part of all of this too. But the Magic have to be better in these situations to grow.