As I write this, I'm attempting to cover the Magic-Knicks game from Madison Square Garden. The selfish, misdirected, untalented Knicks usually set the game of basketball (and all professional sports) back decades, and Orlando has successfully taken their level of play down to New York's level.
Orlando has some real issues entering the playoffs, mostly stemming from their inability to rebound the basketball. The Magic are currently getting outworked on the glass for the fourth consecutive game, and this time it's by a team who has packed in their season months ago. Each and every Magic big man tends to be fundamentally defunct as no one can seem to box out.
The Magic will also have issues in the playoffs if Dwight Howard gets into foul trouble. Howard is one of the very best help defenders in the NBA, and the Magic have virtually no shot-blocking presence when he's not on the court. Adonal Foyle is the only other true big man in the Orlando rotation, and he's more or less an afterthought.
Getting back to tonight's game, I can't tell whether or not New York is playing fairly well, or if Orlando is simply that bad. Through two and a half quarters, Orlando is trailing by 4 points while getting outrebounded by 10, and turning the ball over 10 times to a team who plays anything but pressure defense. The Magic have missed half of their free throws and Maurice Evans is the second leading scorer. Point guard Jameer Nelson has as many assists as I do, and four more turnovers. This is nearly unwatchable.
Mercifully, the Magic have just five more meaningless games left in the regular season before their playoff run begins against either Washington, Philadelphia, or Toronto. Magic fans should hope that the level of play picks up then, because win or lose, any more games played like tonight shouldn't be televised.
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