The Magic really like to hit big teams
With a seven-game winning streak before facing Orlando last night, the Sixers looked invulnerable behind their Joel Embiid – James Harden duo. But this was without counting the Magic, who came to Philadelphia to impose its law. Certainly, Paolo Banchero’s band likes to hit the big guys!
21 points behind the second best team in the East and the most in-form team at the moment? No problem for Orlando, who came back from a 48-27 deficit in the first half to win on the Philly floor after a second period of pure dominance (67-47 for the Magic after the break).
We have to get used to it, this version of Orlando is no longer a team that can be ignored.
Philadelphia just found out the hard way, but Other big men have also fallen against Florida’s fine youth this season: specifically the Celtics, the best team in the NBA but lost three times (!) to the Magic in a month. The defending champion from Golden State also lost two games against Orlando. The Clippers – with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George – also lost their only matchup against Mickey’s favorite team, either for Dallas, Phoenix or New Orleans.
Four of the Magic’s last six wins have come against teams currently in the playoffs.
◻️ W vs. philadelphia
◻️ W vs. Boston
◻️ W vs. New Orleans
◻️ W vs. Golden State pic.twitter.com/e1LQRYVG7V
— The Athletic NBA (@TheAthleticNBA) January 31, 2023
Little Magic is getting big. In early January, in a poll by major Big League media, Orlando’s youth core was voted the second most promising in the entire NBA behind Memphis. A somewhat surprising result when you think of other franchises like Oklahoma City, New Orleans or Cleveland, but it becomes more significant due to the recent results of coach Jamahl Mosley’s gang.
Don’t sleep on the Orlando Magic. After beating Philly on the road tonight the young Magic are 15-11 in their last 26 games after a 6-20 start. The improvement is impressive and Jamahl Mosely deserves a ton of credit.
— Stan Van Gundy (@realStanVG) January 31, 2023
Orlando’s current good results don’t go unnoticed by former Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, who is quick to talk “amazing progress” for the Florida team. This development is clearly symbolized by Paolo Banchero’s excellent rookie campaign, the rise of German nugget Franz Wagner in his sophomore season, or even the Bol Bol revelation.
“We have a very good team. We just have to learn to play with the same intensity every night. We must take an example from this match and do the same in the next match, regardless of the quality of the opponent.
What we’re seeing this season in Orlando is a rebuilding franchise taking real steps forward in its rebuilding project. And big wins against Boston, Philadelphia and Co. is there to illustrate it.
When a team has a core of up-and-coming kids like the Magic, we may think that collective development is automatic but we clearly see this year that it does not happen everywhere. The Houston Rockets are still not moving up despite the accumulation of big draft picks, the same goes for Detroit which once again finds itself at the bottom of the Eastern Conference (yes we know, Cade Cunningham is injured, but still) . So you have to give credit to this Orlando franchise, the young players on the field and Coach Mosley (not your Last Chance U, Jamahl) putting them in a good position to succeed.
Proof of the Magic’s progress, some insiders are now talking about Orlando as a team that could be aggressive at the trade deadline. We talked about the rumored Fred VanVleet recently, he who could come to strengthen the youth in Florida to give him a chance to hang the play-in tournament in the East.
Because that’s what we’re talking about in Orlando today. Play-ins, future Playoffs, and less Drafts.