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

Worst case scenario: Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics look to be a juggernaut this year and should be everybody’s favorite to come out of the East if not win the title outright. They are first in offensive rating, second in defensive rating and have a net rating of 11.3 points per 100 possessions. This is nearly four full points above the second team, the Oklahoma City Thunder.

They have one of the best and most balanced starting lineups in years, assuming Kristaps Porzingis stays healthy. They play defense, they score and they have game finishers (Tuesday's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers notwithstanding).

There is really not much to hate about Boston.

To make it even worse, they are not just a good regular-season team. They are battled tested in playoffs and it does seem like it is time for this group of guys led by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to get over the hump.

There are a lot of playoff scars they are eager to put behind them. Every championship team has them.

After some intense games early in the season, the Orlando Magic sparked a bit of a rivalry with the Boston Celtics as part of the In-Season Tournament. There does not seem to be any true animosity between the teams -- Paolo Banchero and Jayson Tatum are notably close and worked out together in the offseason -- but the Magic are the young and hungry team trying to prove themselves.

On paper just about anyone would lean Boston and Vegas would have them as heavy favorites, but when the ball is tossed up people may be a little surprised.

The Magic have always played the Celtics tough. And their win in November was a sign of how feisty the Magic can be.

Orlando has Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner, who in a perfect world could go shot-for-shot with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. That might be a few years away.

Jalen Suggs and Moe Wagner are going to be real pests to any opponent and could provide some real friction for the Celtics. Those players are X-factors in the playoff chase.

The Magic would be able to keep things close, but it is hard to imagine them having the shooting or firepower to beat Boston in seven games. Facing the Celtics in the first round would also mean the Magic had to survive the Play-In Tournament and suggest the team struggled to end the season.

Orlando certainly hopes this is the team's second-round series, as the bracket sets up for now.

dark. Next. embracing the struggle to find wins. Orlando Magic are embracing the struggle to find wins

Crazier things have happened and if Banchero continues to play at this level, he could be the best player in the series.