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Cleveland Cavaliers-Orlando Magic NBA first-round preview | News Article by


While the NBA is still sorting out the first-round matchups through the new Play-In Tournament, some of the opponents have already been set. The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Orlando Magic are the four-five matchup on the Eastern Conference side of the bracket.

This draw might not have some of the household superstar firepower that some of the other first-rounders feature, but it should be an excellent battle for true hoop enthusiasts: those that enjoy midrange scoring and defense.


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The Cavs and the Magic are two of the best defensive teams in the entire league. Orlando ranked third in defensive rating at 108.4 points allowed per 100 possessions, while Cleveland clocked in at seventh with 112.1. The Cavaliers are led by Jarrett Allen, top-five Defensive Player of the Year candidate, and Evan Mobley, a roamer who can destroy offensive game plans singlehandedly.


  • Spread: +4.5 -110 Magic – Cavaliers -4.5 -110
  • Totals: o207.5 -105 Magic – Cavaliers u207.5 -115
  • Date & Time: Saturday, April 20th, 2024 1:00 PM ET
  • Location: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland, OH
  • Watch: ESPN


The Magic have excellent defenders across the board, from Jalen Suggs, a bulldog who can swallow opposing ballhandlers at the point of attack, to Wendell Carter Jr., their versatile anchor that can protect the rim and guard on the perimeter with equal aplomb. They have plenty of size between those two to wall off drives and eclipse passing lanes, too.

It’ll be a coaching masterclass to see how J.B. Bickerstaff and Jamahl Mosley try to solve each other’s smothering defenses. Bickerstaff will undoubtedly lean on the creation ability of point guard Darius Garland, who has proven to be one of the most creative floor generals in the history of the game. Most of their offense will come from Donovan Mitchell, though, who’s a proven offensive engine and playoff riser.


Betting Trends
CavaliersThe total has gone UNDER in 5 of Orlando’s last 6 games against an opponent in the Central Division division.


Mosley runs a creative motion offense, with plenty of player movement and screens to free up Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner, his two towering point forwards. These young wings led Orlando back to the playoffs for the first time since 2020, and they’ll need to do even more if the Magic are to advance to the second round.

While Banchero and Wagner are excellent scorers, Orlando’s lack of shooting and floor spacing could make it difficult for them to find driving lanes against Cleveland’s vaunted defensive big men. On the other end, Suggs will only be able to guard one of Garland and Mitchell.

The other Magic guards can hold their own on D, but none have the juice to shut down a scorer on par with Mitchell or even Garland. From a pure personnel standpoint, the Cavaliers have the edge in this series.



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| Title: Cleveland Cavaliers-Orlando Magic NBA first-round preview
| Author: Andy Quach
| Date: April 19th, 2024


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