Pivotal Month for Magic

February may prove to be one of the most pivotal month's of the season for the Orlando Magic. Through one day of the month, the Magic have picked up an extra game on Washington and now hold a 4.5 game lead on the injury ravaged Wizards.

As we take a closer look at the schedule, the Magic have a golden opportunity to put some distance between themselves and Washington in the race for the Southeast division crown. Orlando has 12 games remaining in February, and only 5 of them are on the road, all against Eastern Conference opponents. The Magic have just one more pair of back-to-back games later this month. Among those 12 remaining games in February, Orlando has dates with Philadelphia twice, New Jersey twice, a home game against Sacramento, and tonight's tilt at Indiana. Basically six easily winnable games. The rest of February's schedule features Dallas, L.A. (the good L.A.), Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, and Toronto. All difficult games, but they can surely win some. Orlando has a legitimate opportunity to finish February with 9 or 10 wins.

The Washington Wizards have 13 games remaining in February, and 9 of which are on the road. Their travels will take them to Philadelphia early next week (not the toughest place in the world to play), but then they will head out west and visit Denver, Phoenix, Golden State, and L.A. (The bad L.A.) before heading back home for a break with Isiah Thomas' D-league team. Following that scrimmage, Washington finishes the month with three out of four games on the road which include trips to play the savior (Cleveland), the best team in the west, otherwise known as the New Orleans Hornets, Houston, and Chicago. Sprinkle in some not so easy home games against the good L.A. team and San Antonio in the next four days, and the shortest month of the year could feel like the longest for the Washington Wizards. It's more than conceivable that the Wizards could finish February with just five victories.

By the looks of the schedule for these two teams, this can certainly be the month that the Magic give themselves some breathing room in the Southeast division race. If Orlando can take care of business at home against some of the teams that aren't anywhere near .500, and split with some of the Western Conference contenders, they could find themselves with a 10+ game lead when March 1st rolls around.