How the Orlando Magic can attack the last three months of the season
Win key Eastern Conference games down the stretch
The Orlando Magic's biggest advantage - and disadvantage -- is the jumbled-up Eastern Conference at this point in the season.
The Magic are just 3.5 games from the 5th seed and five games from falling out of the play-in completely. While that difference is relatively large, there is still a ton up for grabs between the six teams sitting 5-10 in the standings.
Orlando has recently begun to show its stark contrast between the top of the conference and teams closer to the play-in.
Two bad losses to the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Philadelphia 76ers in the last week show they are not at the level consistently, even with the early season surge against the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics of the world.
On the flip side, they have handled the New York Knicks (fifth in the conference) and Miami Heat (sixth) well, with a 3-1 record vs those teams in the last month. The Magic have seven remaining games against those six teams currently, with another four combined from the Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets.
These are games Orlando needs to win down the stretch. The fight in and out of the play-in will be tight and head-to-head wins against those teams is something the team needs.
Orlando also has a torrid final three games of the season to deal with: visiting Milwaukee, and Philadelphia and hosting Milwaukee in the team's last game of the season. That is no joke. The Magic could come out of that stretch 0-3 (they are 1-3 against those two teams this season).
It will be a key last few months of the season. Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner will be at the head of a young team that has the opporunity to will this team into the postseason for the first time since the bubble in 2020, showcasing their worth as stars in the league.
They will be fighting above their weight class, but it is familiar territory for this team.