5 questions for the third quarter of the Orlando Magic's 2024 season
Can the Orlando Magic gain any ground in the East?
There is quite a gap in the Eastern Conference between the haves and the have-nots in the Eastern Conference. The Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers are in a class of their own on top of the conference.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks, Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers would probably be the next tier.
The Orlando Magic find themselves somewhere between that group and the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks of the world at the bottom of the play-in.
The Magic are right up there with the Pacers and Heat, fighting to avoid the Play-In Tournament. Both teams, and the Knicks as well, have recently made moves to get better. The Magic have the talent to compete with them, but it is also clear they might need a bit more to break into that group permanently.
The best part about the third-quarter schedule is the Magic do not have games against those top-tier teams. Having already played the Celtics, Bucks and 76ers a fair amount, they will not see any of those teams again until the last week of the regular season.
This is the time to make a run. A great goal would be to avoid the Play-In Tournament altogether by grabbing the 5- or 6-seed. They are only 1.5 games back of the Heat for the 6-seed and 3.5 games behind the Knicks at 5.
A little relief in the schedule and guys returning from injury may create the perfect opportunity to go on a streak. The Magic have the easiest schedule remaining in the league. They can indeed take advantage of it.