Second-Half Orlando Magic games the NBA should put on national TV
Feb. 6: at Miami Heat
The Orlando Magic's playoff chase is going to come down to winning several key games against teams they are competing with in the standings. And there may be no game bigger on the Magic's schedule than the one that closes out the team's five-game road trip next Tuesday against the Miami Heat at Kaseya Center.
But the reality is that this finale in the Sunshine State rivalry could be huge for the tiebreaker to host the 7/8 game in the Play-In Tournament. The teams are still neck and neck for that spot, and it does not seem either team is going to gain much separation.
For the Magic, this game is even more important. Orlando needs it to tie the season series and at least open the potential to force things to a third tiebreaker should it come to that -- that would be the division record with the Heat sitting at 9-2 in the division and the Magic at 6-4, so there is still ground to make up to pass the Heat in a tiebreaker scenario.
Granted, both the Magic and the Heat have struggled in the last few weeks to find themselves in this position. Still, there is definitely intensity to these matchups that would appeal to a national audience. Especially since the Heat are a more known commodity -- not to mention there is at least the potential storyline of Paolo Banchero making the All-Star team and Bam Adebayo missing it or vice versa or Jimmy Butler missing the All-Star Game entirely.
The early TNT game next Tuesday is Kyrie Irving's potential return to Brooklyn as the Dallas Mavericks face the Brooklyn Nets. But Irving has missed several games lately with a wrist injury. And the Nets have almost played themselves out of the Play-In chase.
From a record and playoff importance standpoint, the Magic's game against the Heat next Tuesday is far more important. And bigger than any game in that early window.