This Friday night matchup features two teams on the opposite ends of the Eastern Conference standings as the Orlando Magic travel to Ohio to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers. This is a second game in a row for the Cavaliers at home in the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse with tip-off set for 7:30 p.m. EST.
The Magic are coming off a 125-108 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, and are at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with a 5-17 record. Despite the record, they have shown promise with Bol Bol emerging, and he will need to continue that against the Cavaliers with Wendell Carter Jr. out for this game. The Magic are also getting Cole Anthony back, which should help with their scoring issues, and they need that right now.
The Cavaliers have been on an opposite trajectory, winning six of their last eight games, most recently a 113-85 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. The Cavaliers have been able to adjust and keep the win streak going, even with Jarrett Allen out. They have a balanced team with players on the bench that have been stepping up to help get them to their 14-8 record.
How Orlando Can Win: They need to find some sort of production on the defensive side of the ball. They are already allowing 114.4 points per game, and now face a Cavaliers team with a duo of Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland, who both average 28.4 and 22.8 points per game respectively. The Cavaliers are coming off a dominant offensive game against the 76ers where they were 60.8% from the field, 51.7% from the three-point range, and 80% from the free throw line. Bol, Paolo Banchero, and Moritz Wagner average 6.3, 5.9, and 4.3 defensive rebounds per game and will need to be on top of that in this game to not give the Cavaliers more scoring chances.
How Cleveland Can Win: Keep playing a well-rounded game. Mitchell and Garland are the top two scorers on offense, and their defense helps them out tremendously by only allowing 106 points per game. Banchero is the scoring star for the Magic, as he is the only one averaging over 20 points per game. Limit Banchero, while keeping up the scoring on the offensive side, will lead to the Cavaliers gaining a lead early.
Prediction: Cleveland Cavaliers 114, Orlando Magic 100
The Cavaliers have only lost one game at home this season, and that won’t change to two here. The Magic have young talent, but they aren’t fully developed yet. The Cavaliers have talent that is, and that is what will lead Cleveland to a victory.