Now keep in mind most of these came out before Monday night’s loss to the Pistons, but here is where the Magic stand according to various experts around the NBA. ESPN’s Mark Stein:
4. Orlando Forget all the Shaq stuff. This week’s real SVG story is why the coach chose to loudly lament the media’s supposed lack of respect for his team right after it nearly blew a 22-point lead to the injury-riddled Celts.
Intersting that Stein ranks the Magic so high, yet manages to take a shot at Stan Van in the process. NBA.com’s John Schuhmann
4. Orlando Though the Celtics were shorthanded, Sunday’s win was a big one for the Magic and one of their best defensive games of the season. Who would have thought when Jameer Nelson went down that this team would still have a shot at the two seed in the East and home court in the Conference Semis?
Schuhmann gives the Magic some props, and I have to agree with him about the team’s success without Nelson SI.com’s Chris Mannix
5. Orlando Orlando as the No. 1 seed in the East? It could happen. The Magic are three games out of the top spot and have a cushy March schedule with games against Chicago and Washington and home-and-home matchups with New York and Milwaukee. They also get two more cracks at Cleveland and one more at Boston before the end of the season. And here’s a scary thought for teams planning on employing the Hack-A-Dwight strategy on Dwight Howard: He is 18-20 from the free-throw line in the last two games.
It’s nice to see that people around the league are taking notice of Dwight’s improved free throw shooting. Let’s hope he can keep it up. Hoops World’s Eric Pincus
5. Orlando With the Celtics struggling with injury, the Magic are in striking distance for the two seed.