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Orlando Magic

NBA Playoff Prediction: Magic Outlast Cavs in 7 Games?

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Paolo Banchero

The Orlando Magic will be making their first playoff appearance since 2019, taking on the Cleveland Cavaliers in a 7-game first-round series.

The Magic have officially reached phase 3 of their rebuild upon reaching the postseason. Now, the next step for the franchise is to see where their young core will take them in this year’s playoffs.

The Cleveland Cavaliers, who secured the No. 4 seed and home-court advantage on the last day of the regular season, provide a tough challenge for the inexperienced Magic squad.

Led by the All-Star backcourt of Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland, the Cavs enter this year’s playoffs looking to erase the memory of their first-round exit at the hands of the New York Knicks last year.

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The Magic may have split their four regular-season games with the Cavs, but it’s evident that Cleveland has a slight edge in terms of experience and home-court advantage.

Crunching the Numbers

The Magic finished the regular season as the No. 1 rebounding team (39.9 rpg) and No. 4 in points allowed per game (108.7), establishing themselves as a bruising, defensive-oriented ballclub.

The Cavs are also among the top defensive teams in the regular season, ranking 6th in opponent field goal percentage (46.3%), 10th in rebounds (42.6 rpg), and 7th in points allowed per game (110.1 ppg).

Players to watch:

Banchero, the 2023 Rookie of the Year, has taken his game to another level this season, averaging 22.6 points on 45.5 FG%, 6.9 rebounds, and 5.4 assists.

Franz Wagner also increased his production in this third season, averaging 19.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.7 assists.

Donovan Mitchell put up 26.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 6.1 assists despite missing a significant number of games due to a knee injury.

Darius Garland, the Cavs’ other All-Star guard, averaged 18.0 points and 6.5 assists and played a significant role in helping the Cavs hold on to the No. 4 spot while missing Mitchell’s services.

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Prediction: Magic in 7 Games

NBA writer Steve Aschburner believes the Magic have a legitimate chance of pulling off an upset if the series goes seven games. The analyst said that, while the Cavs have postseason experience, they are not “peaking at the right time.” In contrast, the Magic, despite their youth, have demonstrated poise beyond their years in some close games. Since their last matchup on February 19, the Magic have compiled a 16-10 record, while the Cavs have gone 12-16.

“The Magic are in the playoffs for the first time since 2020 and haven’t won a series since 2010, but the guys playing well for them now know nothing of that,” Aschburner predicted.

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Orlando Magic

Orlando Magic Linked to Career 38.5 3PT Shooter Player

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Malik Beasley

The Orlando Magic are one of the teams expected to pursue Malik Beasley once he hits the free agency market this July.

The Magic, who have already been linked to several incoming free agents with respectable shooting acumen, are reportedly among the teams showing some level of interest in Beasley.

Other teams linked to the sweet-shooting veterans are the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors.

“Houston has identified floor spacing and shooting as an area of need this offseason privately and publicly and have an interest in veteran sharpshooter Malik Beasley,” a source close to the situation told the New York Times.

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Beasley started 77 games for the Milwaukee Bucks this past season, converting 41.3 percent of his shots from 3-point distance. He’s a career 38.5 percent three-point shooter.

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Magic Have Interest in Sweet-Shooting Point Guard

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D'Angelo Russell

The Orlando Magic has reportedly shown interest in potential free agent guard D’Angelo Russell, the Athletic reported on Wednesday, May 21.

Russell, who can opt out of his $18.7 million player option with the Los Angeles Lakers, is expected to draw interest from teams looking to shore up their shooting in their backcourt.

The 28-year-old point guard averaged 18.0 points, 3.1 rebounds and 6.3 assists in 32.7 minutes per game while shooting 45.6 FG% and 41.5 3PT% during the 2023-24 season.

His numbers dipped in the playoffs as he averaged 14.2 points on 38.4 FG% and 31.8 3PT% in the five-game series with the Denver Nuggets.

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The Magic direly need some reliable shooting in their lineup for next season after shooting 35.2% from deep in the regular-season.

Aside from Russell, the Magic are also rumored as a potential destination for Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson.

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Orlando Magic Linked to Big-Time Scorer in Free Agency

According to reputable NBA insider Ramona Shelburne, the Magic are one of the teams eyeing the service of NBA All-Star Paul George.

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Paul George

The offseason officially started for the Orlando Magic seconds after the final buzzer of their 94-106 Game 7 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday. According to reputable NBA insider Ramona Shelburne, the Magic are one of the teams eyeing incoming free agent Paul George of the Los Angeles Clippers.

“There’s two teams that are paying very close attention to Paul George: the Orlando Magic and the Philadelphia 76ers, because both of them have the money to throw at him and need a wing just like him, a veteran guy,” Shelburne said on “the Brian Windhorst & the Hoops Collective” podcast on May 1.

Sportrac projected the Magic to have a practical cap space of $19 million, but their maximum possible cap space could balloon to as high as $58 million if they forego their team options on Jonathan Isaac, Joe Ingles, and Moritz Wagner.

Despite turning 34 once the free agency window opens, George is expected to be a hot commodity on the market because of his reputation as a flat-out scorer and above-average wing defender. He’ll be looking for his final max-level deal of at least $45 million per year before he enters the twilight years of his career.

George averaged 22.6 points on 47.1 FG%, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game during the regular season with the Clippers. His scoring production dipped a bit during the six-game series against the Mavericks, putting up 19.5 points on 41.1 FG% and 36.7 3PT%.

NBA experts expect the Magic to bring over either a legitimate shooter or a scorer who will help address the lack of shooting on their roster. George, a career 38.5 3PT% shooter, would be a solid addition to a resurging team like the Magic.

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