Orlando Magic May Still Have A Trick Up Their Sleeve

In his last 3 games Jason Richardson has been playing his best ball as a Magic

Superman may be the most valuable player to the Orlando Magic but with all the talk surrounding other contenders it would seem that this team will have to pull a Houdini if they want to make a serious run this postseason.

Maybe not.

After last night’s tight game versus Portland, the Magic showed that minus their superstar they have the ability to make a fairytale run without the assistance of something miraculous.

On Friday night, Dwight Howard picked up his 16th technical foul of the season, which meant a one game suspension. Tough break for the Magic who so heavily rely on the big 7 footer each and every night on both ends of the floor. Following a loss to the Chicago on the second night of a back to back and the subsequent suspension of Howard, their date in Portland on Monday night was chalked up as a loss by most.

A loss may have been the end result but this game was about more than an inadequate result. The Magic proved to not only everyone, but to themselves that they can hang with a playoff team without their most important player. The Blazers may not be a true championship contender, but this is a team that is still one of the better ones in the NBA, especially with the recent addition of Gerald Wallace.

With the Magic starting undersized power forward Brandon Bass at the center spot, there was every reason for us to believe that Orlando wouldn’t be able to hang with extremely well-coached Blazers.

To say that Dwight Howard’s supporting cast this season has been less than stellar would be just a bit of an understatement. Poor play from intricate components of the original 2010-11 Magic cast prompted GM Otis Smith to make a bold move, acquiring Hedo Turkoglu (again), Jason Richardson, Gilbert Arenas, and Earl Clark. Although that move hasn’t turned out as well as Smith might have liked, last night was as good a reason as any to still believe in the Magic.

For a team that depends on the open looks provided by the attention Howard receives down low, it was promising to see the team compete at the level that they did last night. Down by as much as 14, the Magic battled back on numerous occasions without their superstar.

Role players stepping up. It’s the mark of any great team. The Magic got that last night.

Fight. It’s the mark of any great team. The Magic got that last night.

People tend to forget that this group of guys practically became a new team halfway through the season. They’re still trying to figure it out, much like their cousins, the other, more attention seeking Sunshine State team.

Even though Gilbert Arenas isn’t 100% healthy yet he may actually be finding his groove. Three of his last four performances have been solid bench outings. The Magic probably need a bit more than solid from him, but it’s a good start.

Jason Richardson is beginning to shoot the ball like Jason Richardson can. In his last three games, J-Rich has been an eye-popping 14-19 from beyond the arc. Scary.

You add to the mix a possible return to all-star form from Jameer Nelson, 3 point sharp-shooting from Ryan Anderson and J.J. Reddick, the hustle and heart of Brandon Bass, and a playoff intense Hedo Turkoglu, this misshapen roster may be one to keep your eye on.

Inconsistency, which obviously is not the mark of a great team, is something that has plagued the Magic and will be their biggest obstacle to overcome.

Nevertheless, with Dwight Howard playing the best ball of his entire career there’s no telling what this Orlando Magic team can do if they can put it all together. Monday night could just be the day that Orlando Magic fans look back upon as the spot where it all changed for the better.

This is a team that isn’t ready to compete with the league’s best and they aren’t at the level of a Chicago or a Boston.

At least not yet.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. You can also follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favor.

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About Chris Ross
Questions, comments, suggestions? Send yours to cross_can15@hotmail.com. Follow me on twitter @paintstheblack

13 Responses to Orlando Magic May Still Have A Trick Up Their Sleeve

  1. Bheise says:

    The Magic are starting to feel a lot like the Cavs in Lebron’s last few years. They have a superstar headed towards free agency and they’re desperate to keep him and compete, even if it means making bad trades and talking themselves into liking certain players… just like the cavs did. This is a decent team, but unfortunately I agree, they aren’t a title contender anymore. Definitely a tough out in the playoffs, but after Howard there is no real depth inside. That’s a problem and it was very apparent last night.

  2. Mike says:

    Besides Howard, the Magic are a jump-shooting team. And like my dad always said, if you live by the jumper, you die by the jumper.

  3. berger987 says:

    I’ve been a believer in the magic for a while, but no one else seems to stick with me. Maybe history has indicated I’m wrong, but I would love for the Magic to emerge out of the East and shock the Heat and Celtics.

  4. txtmstrjoe says:

    Heh, we think alike.

    I fancy Orlando more than I ever did Miami.

    But as Mike said a couple of comments up, the key to their success seems to be their shooters’ ability to keep on making their shots. If all of their shooters get cold, Dwight Howard simply doesn’t have enough in his offensive arsenal to sustain this team. Also, I’m a little suspect about their ability to play lockdown defense. Except for Howard, none of these guys seem too committed to playing championship-caliber defense.

    Good post.

  5. Howard isn’t everything to the Magic. They’ve got a great team even without Howard. They showed that vs. Portland.

  6. Brian Serra says:

    You say they aren’t ready to compete against Boston… yet. The thing is, they haven’t been ready to compete against Boston in almost 2 seasons. Hard to believe it will come in the next month.

  7. tophatal says:

    Chris Ross

    I’m still waiting to see if Van Gundy can pull a rabbit out of his rear end ! The team isn’t as good as some believe it to be . Turkoglu is having a nightmare at present it’s almost as if he’s gunshy !

    tophatal ……………

  8. Matt Johnson says:

    Pretty reasonable statements generally here. The Magic remain a great dark horse team that you could see clicking and going all the way. I remember last year watching the Magic lose to the Celtics thinking that it sometimes seemed impossible that Dwight Howard’s team could lose. Then you see Howard do something silly, and you remember that Nelson’s court vision is a fraction of say, Rondo’s.

  9. chappy81 says:

    How awesome were my Warriors last night! They beat them at their own game!

  10. Pingback: Are the Magic still title contenders? | Our View From The NoseBleeds

  11. I agree with Matt. They are a bot of a dark horse team, but it’s still a DARK horse. The East is rough this year and I don’t know that when Joakim Noah went down with that injury that ANYONE knew the Bulls would be as good as they are today.

    I don’t think they can hang with Boston either.

    Meehan

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