East Playoff Picture Takes Shape, Magic Tripped Up By Western Opponents

Mar 29, 2024

The next two weeks will go a long way in deciding the landscape of both conferences in the NBA. In both conferences, the difference between securing home court advantage in the playoffs or landing a spot in the play-in tournament is only about 5 games.

Two teams that will have a big impact in seedings are the LA Clippers and the Orlando Magic, who are squaring off tonight at the Kia Center. The Magic find themselves in the midst of an 8 game home-stand, where they find themselves 3-2. The first two wins were against the Charlotte Hornets and the Toronto Raptors, two teams that are not in the playoff conversation and looking towards the draft. 

Their third win came against the New Orleans Pelicans, a team that has trended in the right direction, when healthy. The Magic took care of business against the 5th seed Pelicans 121-106, with Brandon Ingram leaving the game with a left knee contusion. Since then, the Magic have dropped 2 straight against Western opponents, Saturday to the Kings and Wednesday to the Warriors.

With the healthy Clippers coming to town tonight, another loss could move things a lot in the East. The Pacers host the questionable Lakers, Knicks head into San Antonio to face the bottom seed Spurs and the Heat host the Blazers, all very winnable games for Eastern teams that are fighting for playoff positioning. 

While the Magic have proven they can put together notable winning streaks, it’s come against very beatable Eastern Conference teams. The Clipper have been streaky as of late, but the magic need to prove they can handle Western playoff teams at home.

That’s why we are leaning on LA to win this matchup on the money line, as TonyBet has them favoured at -120 odds. The Over/Under is listed at 209.5, which seems strangely low. While Orlando is ranked a top 5 defence, we expect both teams to exceed their point totals, with the marquee matchup of Kawhi Leonard and Paolo Banchero having big games, both being listed at 27.5 points + rebounds.

Stay tuned for live NBA coverage from Orlando all weekend, brought to you by the Down By Two crew. 

Josh Elijah

Touring stand-up comic with Yuk Yuk’s. Host of the ‘Down By Two’ Podcast and ‘DB2 Bets.’ Take him on the over.

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