Going through the summer and the preseason, you knew things were too good to be true for the Orlando Magic. Everything was going too smoothly, and the wins were coming too easily. There was no drama surrounding the team — so little drama, in fact, that following the Magic was borderline boring at times.
For much of their existence, Orlando Magic fans were subjected to coaching controversies, selfish shooting guards and inconsistent play. It’s sad to say, but outside of a couple years in the mid-90s, there wasn’t a whole lot of goal-fulfillment going on with the Orlando Magic. Magic fans expected the worst, and they usually received it.
So, naturally, it’s a little bit different around here with an ultra-talented team, a smart coach, a decisive general manager, a quality group of guys and some national recognition (something that most Orlandoans will argue they don’t get enough of, but everyone around the country acknowledges the fact that the Magic are one of five teams capable of winning the NBA title).
But when the Magic drop a game like they did on Sunday night — an almost-embarrassing, 102-74 loss to Oklahoma City — it really starts to make you wonder.
Sure, the Magic were down to nine players because of suspensions and injuries, but to see them quit like that? Is that what this team is made of?
This Magic team looked invincible two weeks ago, destined for a smooth ride to the No. 1 seed and the Eastern Conference Finals, and now they’re getting drilled by a likely non-playoff team?
OK, I can’t fake it anymore. I am absolutely, 100 percent not worried about this team.
Sure, Stan Van Gundy will bemoan about the team’s lack of energy in the fourth quarter, and Dwight Howard will say the team quit, and Jameer Nelson will say the team needs to come out with more intensity. But really, is anyone alarmed about this team?
I know there is a small collection of Magic fans showing concernment about the team’s overall sloppy play over the last week, but I really feel like there is some nitpicking going on. I understand that, as someone who blogs for the Orlando Magic, it’s kind of my job to nitpick. But I just can’t do it right now. There hasn’t been a large-enough sample size of poor play or negative trends.
I’m not going to make excuses about Sunday night’s loss — and there were plenty of valid excuses, most of them obvious — but it’s hard to get riled up after the Magic looked so good in the preseason and the early part of this year. And it’s really hard to get riled up when the Magic don’t have 40 percent of their starting lineup active. For now, I’m just enjoying the fact that we have a little bit of drama on our hands.