Orlando Magic 35th Anniversary: Ranking every Orlando Magic playoff series

The Orlando Magic have been to the NBA Finals twice in their franchise history and have made plenty of playoff memories and heartaches along the way. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
The Orlando Magic have been to the NBA Finals twice in their franchise history and have made plenty of playoff memories and heartaches along the way. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /
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Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics
The Orlando Magic suffered a stunning and dispiriting loss in the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Griffith-USA TODAY Sports /

Ranking every Orlando Magic Playoff series

Rivalry Row

Who are the Orlando Magic’s rivals? That is a fair question. Probably one we should answer later on this month as we celebrate the team’s 35th anniversary.

But a lot of the Magic’s biggest rivals have been born through multiple playoff battles. Or the lingering feelings that come from postseason battles. That is how rivalries are supposed to be made. And the Magic have made a few in their time in the league.

16. 2010 Eastern Conference Finals: Lost to Boston Celtics, 4-2

The vibes were very good when the Orlando Magic took on the Boston Celtics in the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals. The team was its free-spirited and jovial self as they ran through the first two rounds of the Playoffs with back-to-back sweeps. The Magic were also feeling good from their series victory over the undermanned Celtics in 2009 and their good season series record.

The Playoffs are different. Maybe Paul Pierce was right in questioning the Magic’s overall toughness in the 2009 Finals. But that team had to learn. And they took a hard lesson that they never quite followed through with.

The Celtics knocked the smile off the Magic’s faces with two upset wins in Orlando to open the series. They blew out the Magic in Game 3. Only Jameer Nelson’s heroic overtime effort in Game 4 helped the team avoid the sweep.

The only silver lining of this series was that Orlando closed the Amway Arena with a blowout victory. But the Magic did not have enough to beat the Celtics and the seeds of discontent were laid.

15. 2019 1st Round: Lost to Toronto Raptors, 4-1

The Orlando Magic spent a long time in the wilderness after trading Dwight Howard before the 2013 season. They struggled to land the right draft picks or put together the right team to rebuild.

The breakthrough into the 2019 Playoffs behind a 22-9 closing kick to the regular season was just downright cathartic. Everyone in the organization felt how needed the arrival in the postseason was. The fans certainly greeted the team back home for a raucous Games 3 and 4 at the Amway Center.

The highlight though came in a stunning Game 1, capped off with D.J. Augustin’s game-winning three with less than five seconds to play. The Magic were probably not going to beat the eventual champion Raptors, they just had too many flaws and too tight a margin for error.

But they got one and it felt like they belonged.

14. 2010 2nd Round: Defeated Atlanta Hawks, 4-0

The Orlando Magic found some relief after a rough and tumble series with the Charlotte Bobcats in round one by absolutely dominating the Atlanta Hawks. At the time, it was the most lopsided sweep in league history. Orlando won by an average margin of 25.8 points per game. The closest game was 14 points in Games 2 and 4.

But those games were not even that close. The Magic were just too dominant with four players averaging 17.0 points per game for the series.

It was frankly almost too easy for the Magic. And made the 2011 playoff defeat all the more stunning.