Ranking the Orlando Magic's potential first-round playoff matchups

The Orlando Magic are set to return to the Playoffs for the first time since 2020. They are not fighting to the end of the season to make the field. They are fighting for homecourt advantage. So it is time to consider their best matchups.

Orlando Magic v Indiana Pacers
Orlando Magic v Indiana Pacers / Justin Casterline/GettyImages
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Ranking the Orlando Magic's potential Playoff matchups

Best case scenario: Indiana Pacers

Throwing out any of the Play-In teams like the Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls, the Indiana Pacers are the best-case first-round series for the Orlando Magic.

I am not saying this to fault the Pacers in any way, I just think the contrasting styles and individual player matchups benefit the Magic in more ways than one. And the team's games this year have born that out as the Magic beat the Pacers twice in Indianapolis earlier this year -- albeit before Pascal Siakam arrived in the Circle City.

The Pacers score the ball at an insane rate. They are second in the NBA with a 120.3 offensive rating, are sixth in assists per game and have one of the best playmaking guards in Tyrese Haliburton. This offense is not one you mess around with.

They proved that too in the In-Season Tournament where Haliburton's shot-making was exceptionally dangerous in single-elimination games. They rose to the occasion to reach the championship game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

On the flip side, the Pacers do start to crack on defense. They are a bottom-five team in defensive rating and have shown all year they really cannot stop anyone. The Pacers' best chance at winning a playoff series is to win games by scoring in the 120s.

That just does not happen in the Playoffs.

The Magic certainly will not be letting that happen.

We all know that the game slows down when the playoffs get here. Games become more deliberate, offense shrinks into the halfcourt, and scores drop to the low 100s and even into the 90s at points.

This type of game favors the Magic. They have guards to throw at Haliburton defensively and the Pacers really do not have anyone who can guard Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner consistently.

The Magic are 2-0 so far versus the Pacers this season with both games relative blowouts. Siakam was not on the Pacers yet for either of those games and he changes things. But this is a matchup Orlando should feel confident about.