Orlando Magic's playoff series relegated out of the national spotlight

The Orlando Magic will open the NBA Playoffs on Saturday in Game 1 as their full schedule against the Cleveland Cavaliers was officially released (at last).
Jalen Suggs and the Orlando Magic will again be operating in anonymity as the Orlando Magic's series with the Cleveland Cavaliers is largely relegated to NBATV.
Jalen Suggs and the Orlando Magic will again be operating in anonymity as the Orlando Magic's series with the Cleveland Cavaliers is largely relegated to NBATV. / David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Orlando Magic are not the team in the spotlight very much. They had just one national TV appearance on their schedule this season. They are not a team in the limelight.

It is no surprise then that they were an afterthought when the NBA released their national TV schedule for the Playoffs. The Magic will once again be working largely away from the public eye, even in their Playoffs.

The matchup between the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers does not exactly bring with it marquee NBA players or marquee franchises with history and large fan bases. And so, as most attention-starved Magic fans assumed, this defensive battle between two up-and-coming teams is mostly going to take place away from the spotlight.

The announcement that the Magic would play Game 1 in Cleveland on Saturday at 1 p.m. to open the slate of first-round games on ESPN was probably a clear sign of that. Only the series' weekend games will get the full national TV showing.

Viewers not in Orlando -- or Cleveland -- will have to settle for NBATV if they cannot access the game on their local Bally Sports outlet. All of the Magic's games in the first round will still air on Bally Sports Florida (unless one of the later games airs on ABC).

The Magic will need to play a long series to get off the NBATV bench and onto TNT or ESPN this postseason.

The Magic and Cavs will play a fairly brisk series with the teams opening Game 1 in Cleveland on Saturday followed by Game 2 on Monday.

Orlando will debut in the Kia Center for the Playoffs on Thursday, April 25 at 7 p.m. Game 4 will take place April 27 in another 1 p.m. tip for an afternoon game -- that is the only game scheduled for TNT so far.

Game 5 will take place in Cleveland on Tuesday, April 30 with Game 6 happening quickly back in Orlando on Friday, May 3. Game 7, if necessary, is Sunday, May 5 in Cleveland.

The series will happen fairly quickly then, with a day between each game and an extra day for travel except between Games 6 and 7. But that is the next two weeks for the Magic in what is expected to be a very competitive series between the Magic and the Cavaliers.

Orlando and Cleveland boast two of the top defenses in the league. It is expected that this will be a drag-out, low-scoring series. That may not be enough to gain the attention of the national audience.

Paolo Banchero is not yet a household name and he will have to work in relative privacy as he has throughout his first two years. Even the Magic's nationally televised games will happen early in the 1 p.m. slot when fans are likely settling in and waiting for the "bigger" games on the schedule.

If anybody wanted to use this playoff series as a chance for the Magic to get their welcome to the big stage, that will unfortunately not be the case. Not unless the series goes long and TNT and ESPN have no choice but to put them on TV.

This will not be the Magic's grand pronouncement to the national world unless someone on the team demands attention with a big performance or two. Not even Donovan Mitchell and his strong Playoff performances were enough to help this series get into the national spotlight.

But that is how things go. It was easy to predict that this would be the series relegated to the NBATV dustbin.

The only other first-round game scheduled to air on NBATV other than the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers' Games 2 and 3 is Game 2 between the Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers. With the league needing to fill the late time slot with Western Conference games, every Western Conference Playoff game will air on traditional national TV.

Those are the breaks of both the perception of this Magic team and geography. Orlando is still going to be fighting for attention.

They still clearly have a task ahead of them though. They still clearly have their work cut out for them and an opportunity to win this series against the Cavaliers. That is the only focus the team should have, even if fans are a bit perturbed by the lack of recognition even now that the team has made the Playoffs.

Next. Magic 2009 ECF look back 04.17.24. Orlando Magic's 2024 series brings back memories of 2009 victory. dark

The way to get national attention is still to win games. And the league will be forced to feature the Magic if they win the series. That will be the goal. Everything gets proven on the court.