ORLANDO FL - NOVEMBER 03: Vince Carter #15 of the Orlando Magic smiles during the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Amway Arena on November 3 2010 in Orlando Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and or using this Photograph user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Owing to the cancellation of their preseason finale and the postponement of a game earlier this week against the New York Knicks, the Orlando Magic haven't played many games lately, suiting up just three times in the last eight days and ten times in the last 31. That's strange enough. Potentially weirder, though, is the Magic haven't so much as played a competitive game in far longer.
Orlando dominated the preseason, going 7-0, outscoring its opponents by 27.6 points per game, and holding a lead of at least 18 points in each game. In the regular season, it beat the Washington Wizards by 32 in its opener, lost to the Miami Heat by 26 one night later, and crushed the Minnesota Timberwolves by 42 two nights ago.
Going back to last season, the Magic lost Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals when the Boston Celtics, led by Nate Robinson off the bench, dealt them a 96-84 defeat and ended their championship run. The Magic forced that series to a Game Six by cruising to an 11-point win on their home floor in Game Five. Indeed, we have to go back to May 24th--a 96-92 overtime Orlando win over Boston in Game Four--to find the last compelling contest the Magic played. That's 165 days without a particularly competitive Magic game.
The one-sided Games Five and Six against Boston merited attention due to their presence on the playoff stage, and maybe the preseason home opener against the New Orleans Hornets, the team's first game in the new Amway Center, gave viewers an incentive to watch. But based solely on what transpired in the games themselves, and discounting the external factors driving their narratives, they weren't exactly ones for the time capsule.
So, no, it's not just you: it's been far too long since Orlando played a game that went down to the wire. And while there's nothing wrong with dispatching one's opponents with ruthless efficiency, I know I'd certainly enjoy evaluating this team in a game in which they faced some sort of adversity.