The Orlando Magic were riding high a month ago. Nothing seemed to go wrong.
Except for the Boston Celtics embarrassing the Chicago Bulls and kicking the Magic out of the In-Season Tournament. That gave the Indiana Pacers the stage as the it young team in the Eastern Conference and a grand stage to announce themselves to the league -- never mind their record since then heading into Saturday's rematch with Orlando.
To be sure, Orlando has been the story of the Eastern Conference so far this season. Even after cooling off following their nine-game winning streak, the Magic are still in the thick of the playoff race and in the early fight for homecourt advantage in the first round.
The Magic, even after this rough spot, are likely going to be in that race for the remainder of the season.
That is a pressure the team has not faced in quite some time. Every game feels very important and the Magic are thinking about the playoffs already. It feels like the team is a playoff-caliber team but still one with some serious flaws.
And those flaws are coming to the front during this rough stretch for the team.
Regardless of anything else, everyone is eager to see the Magic take that all-important step forward. Everyone can see the team's future in focus and a path to contention in the Eastern Conference.
That has everyone excited and anticipating the next steps.
Back during the final day of the In-Season Tournament, I hosted a live watch-along as we waited to see whether the Magic would advance and win East Group C and took your questions on X Spaces and on the Locked On Magic YouTube channel.
Even though that game was more than a month ago now, a lot of the questions everyone asked during that time still feel very relevant today. And now that the trade window has opened and we are inching closer and closer to the trade deadline, everyone is starting to get trade fever and put the future of this team in mind.
There is a lot for the Magic to explore and grow in the coming weeks. And there is a lot of season left to play before even the Feb. 8 NBA Trade Deadline.
With that in mind, it feels like a good time to revisit those questions and what comes next for the Magic. These questions are edited from their original forms to