Orlando Magic vs. Portland Trail Blazers (April 1, 2024): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

The Orlando Magic close their season-long eight-game homestand against the Portland Trail Blazers as they aim to clinch a winning trip and set themselves up for the final push this season.

The Orlando Magic look to finish their homestand with another resounding victory as they take on the struggling Portland Trail Blazers.
The Orlando Magic look to finish their homestand with another resounding victory as they take on the struggling Portland Trail Blazers. / Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

19-55. 38. 43-31. Magic by 16.5 (O/U 209). 7P. 34. Bally Sports Florida, ROOT Sports. April 1, 2024. Magic Blazers Matchup

Tickets: $22-$357 on StubHub
Season Series: Magic 102, Blazers 97 in Portland on Oct. 27; Tonight in Orlando


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OMD Prediction

Our Record: 48-26/37-37 ATS

The Orlando Magic have feasted on the worst teams in the league.

They are 26-6 against teams with records worse than .500 -- tied with the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks for most wins in the league. The Orlando Magic are good at one thing, dominating the teams they should -- and five of those losses are to two teams (the Atlanta Hawks and Brooklyn Nets).

The Portland Trail Blazers are certainly at the phase of their season where they are not pushing guys back from injury and filling out the roster with a lot of G-League and end-of-bench level players. The exact thing that happened Saturday when the Orlando Magic ran roughshod over the Memphis Grizzlies, leading by 40-plus at one point.

The Portland Trail Blazers are coming off a 60-point loss to the Miami Heat on Friday. That is the task facing Orlando tonight.

The Magic have been playing some excellent defense throughout this homestand. And if they bring the same attention to detail and intensity on defense as they did Saturday, they should see similar results -- regardless of whether the shots fall as they did Saturday night.

The Magic are a better team if they take care of business.

94. 34. Magic Blazers Prediction 04.01.24. 115. 38. Prediction

3 Keys to Watch

Orlando Magic's Defensive Foundation

The Orlando Magic have hoped to spend their time during this homestand establishing their foundation and who they are for the road ahead. Five of their final seven games are on the road and then the Playoffs are beyond that. The Magic are second in the league now in defensive rating, giving up 110.4 points per 100 possessions.

Orlando has dominated teams on defense during this homestand. In the last seven games, the Magic are giving 102.5 points per 100 possessions. Even in the losses to the Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors and LA Clippers, the Orlando Magic's defense held firm. This is not just about dominating the bad teams.

Having said that, Orlando is dominating the bad teams defensively. The Orlando Magic gave up 98.0 points per 100 possessions to the Toronto Raptors, 98.9 points per 100 possessions to the Charlotte Hornets and 87.1 to the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday.

The Portland Trail Blazers will have a tough time scoring if the Orlando Magic stay this locked in on that end. It makes up for a lot of defensive shortcomings and is a good sign for the Magic heading toward the Playoffs.

The Scoot Struggles

Scoot Henderson was long considered the clear No. 2 behind Victor Wembanyama entering last year's NBA Draft. It felt like he was a can't-miss prospect at the point guard spot. When the Orlando Magic were struggling, he certainly looked like the perfect complement to the wings the Magic have.

Henderson has had a rough rookie season. A really rough rookie season.

Henderson is averaging just 13.3 points per game and 4.9 assists per game. He is shooting 38.0 percent from the floor and 30.5 percent from three. Rookies notoriously struggle with their first year -- especially rookie guards. But this has been especially rough.

It has been a rough season.

There is still hope to recover of course. It is just a rookie year -- and on a team in transition of course. But Henderson has not delivered and the Blazers are trying to figure out how to recover him as the season winds down for them.

The Turnover Question

If there is one thing the Orlando Magic seem concerned about with the Portland Trail Blazers, it is their ability to force turnovers. That is the biggest area of life for the Portland Trail Blazers' anemic offense (29th in the league... the Memphis Grizzlies are 30th).

The Blazers though are fifth in the league in opponent turnover rate at 14.6 percent. The Magic are 26th in the league at 15.2 percent. Portland is 19th though with 16.1 points off turnovers per game. The Blazers do not convert on the miscues they create.

But this is a point of weakness and one to watch. If the Magic are sloppy and turning the ball over, they could keep the Blazers hanging around.

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On the flip side though, the Magic are excellent at forcing turnovers (second in the league with a 15.3 percent opponent turnover rate). And the Blazers cough the ball up a lot -- the worst in the league with a 15.5 percent turnover rate.