Now that the season is over, it is time to review the last five months. This is our yearly look back at what went right and what went wrong during the 2013-14 season.
In 2013, the Magic went 12-29 at Amway Center. Yes, Orlando finished with the worst record in the league so a bad home record was not to be unexpected. Someone has to have the worst home record in the league. That team in 2013 was the Magic.
Jacque Vaughn made it a clear goal for the team entering this season that they would do a better job defending their home floor. This was going to be the base for them to make improvements. The road might be difficult for a young team, as it usually is, but the Amway Center would not be an easy place to play.
Back-to-back wins over the Thunder and Pacers in the course of three days and wins over Brooklyn (twice), the Clippers (and the Lakers for that matter, although not nearly as impressive) and the Trail Blazers. These were impressive wins for a young team that had just 23 wins on the season.
The Magic, in fact, finished nearly .500 at Amway Center. They had a 19-22 record at Amway Center, tied for ninth in the Eastern Conference. Orlando almost had the home record of a Playoff team!
As noted, the wins were memorable. Fans who showed up at Amway Center — and the team finished 23rd in attendance according to Basketball-Reference — were treated to an exciting team playing hard and getting up and down the floor. At the Magic’s zenith at home — likely those two wins over the top teams in the East and West and then the overtime win over the Knicks — Amway Center was as loud as it has ever been.
The Magic averaged seven more points per game at home than on the road and posted an offensive efficiency rating of 102.4 points per 100 possessions, more than six points per 100 possessions better than they were on the road. Their defensive rating was not impressive, but the Magic’s offense just felt more comfortable at home in the Amway Center than anywhere else. There was a feeling the Magic could beat anyone so long as they had the comforts of home.
It was a question that sort of dogged the team the whole year (as I will get into in the next part of this series . . . you can see where things went wrong, I hope). What made this team so successful at home? So drastically more successful at home?
Hardly a great shooting team anyway, the Magic had a 50.0 percent effective field goal percentage at home. Things were just better. More so than they usually are for a young team playing at home.
Again, some of this was expected. But not to this level. Not to this encouraging level.
When Magic fans sought to look for hope toward the future, they only had to find the next homestand. They were sure to see in those stretches some reason to grasp onto the future. Whether that was Victor Oladipo flying to the rim or Nikola Vucevic attacking the glass.
More than the statistics and the bare fact the Magic were better at home, the hope it gave fans who could watch them in person is big for sales and for building the fan base back up.
During the 2013 season all the big wins for the team happened away from Amway Center. There were not a ton of reasons to get excited about attending Magic games.
This year that changed. That is an important point of progress for the team as it tries to get back to the top. The Magic gave their fans a reason to show up most nights. It was not just the Legends Nights and revisiting history. It was the team’s play that earned that respect and gave Magic fans a reason to believe again.