Orlando Magic on Hiatus: The top 10 games of the 2020 season (so far)

Markelle Fultz and the Orlando Magic made a strong first impression in their season opener. (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images)
Markelle Fultz and the Orlando Magic made a strong first impression in their season opener. (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images) /
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7. Staking A Claim — at Nets (Feb. 24)

Final. 115. 38. 113. 147

Our Coverage: Grades; Orlando Magic got their swagger back and a reminder of their identity

FOX Sports Florida Re-Air: April 8, 8 p.m.

By late February, the battle lines were already pretty clearly drawn. The Eastern Conference had separated itself into the very top tier with the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics. A middle tier was settling in with the Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers.

The Brooklyn Nets and Orlando Magic were left fighting for the final two playoff spots. And they had both gotten plenty of separation on the teams fighting to stay in the picture for one of those final playoff spots.

The fact the Magic and Nets would play each other four times starting in late January — including two that would have been played next week — only added to the intensity of this game.

This was shaping up to be a heated playoff battle to avoid that matchup with the Bucks in the first round.

And each one of these games clearly had playoff intensity. Or at least it should have.

That is not how the Magic came out in Brooklyn in late February however. They were lethargic and uninterested in playing defense. They found themselves in a deep hole. The Magic were struggling at this point and needed a spark.

If a meaningful game was not going to wake them up, something else had to.

Whatever the Magic did in the second half changed everything for them and the season. Orlando erased a 16-point deficit with 74 points in the second half to secure a big 115-113 win that would give the team the inside track to win the seventh seed.

Aaron Gordon scored 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. He scored or had an assist on the team’s final seven baskets. He took over the end of the game, hitting tough fadeaway jumpers and 3-pointers throughout the final moments of the game. That put Orlando over the top.

Orlando got a boost from Terrence Ross off the bench to spark the comeback. Like he had last year, he changed the tenor of the game. And the Magic finally had a hint of the confidence and swagger that made their 2019 run to the playoffs so thrilling and exciting.

Orlando was starting to look like that team again. The Magic found a bit of that confidence again. And in a big moment too.