What the Orlando Magic's playoff competitors have left on their schedule

The Orlando Magic ample opportunity to take care of their business and secure a high seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. They, like everyone else, will spend their off nights scoreboard watching. It might be just as important what everyone else has left too.

Franz Wagner and the Orlando Magic are preparing for their stretch run to the Playoffs. They will navigate a difficult schedule on the way.
Franz Wagner and the Orlando Magic are preparing for their stretch run to the Playoffs. They will navigate a difficult schedule on the way. / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
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Paolo Banchero could not lie, he is excited for the team's eight-game homestand that began with Sunday's win over the Toronto Raptors. Just 14 games remain this season. And the team will spend two and a half weeks and half of those games during this homestand.

Considering Orlando is 23-8 at the Kia Center, the team certainly enjoys playing on the home parquet. The eight-game homestand is an opportunity to climb the standings and establish themselves in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

Orlando has firmly put itself in that picture and it is unlikely the team will fade or fall out of the postseason picture, provided the team takes care of its business. The Magic are one win away from clinching not only a winning record for the second time since 2012, but one win away from clinching a spot in at least the Play-In Tournament.

The ambitions for this team are certainly a lot higher than anyone could have imagined back at the beginning of the season.

The standings are tight. The Magic are in the thick of a neck-and-neck race for homecourt advantage. They have a little cushion over the Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat for sixth, seventh and eighth. Even a two-game losing streak could turn the standings on their head.

The Orlando Magic are even chasing the Cleveland Cavaliers for the 3-seed! The Orlando Magic are as close to the 3-seed Cleveland Cavaliers as it is to the 7-seed Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat.

Off days like Monday night are exciting now because everyone can sit back and fret over results elsewhere in the league. Especially when the Cavaliers face the Pacers and the 76ers take on the Heat in matchups that have a direct impact on the Magic.

Orlando's schedule still feels favorable with the homestand getting going. The Orlando Magic will face one of its most difficult stretches remaining when they take on four straight Western Conference playoff opponents beginning Thursday with the New Orleans Pelicans -- and continuing with the Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings.

And that does not get to the difficult closing stretch that will see the Magic go on the road for five of the final seven games.

Orlando knows it has to get its wins now. Other teams are feeling the same way.

Just like we know the Magic's schedule will play a role in where they end up so too will the schedule for their direct competition. With most teams having 15 or 14 games remaining, it is time to put into perspective what everyone else has in store in addition to the Magic on the road to the playoffs.