The Orlando Magic pound the undermanned Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night, stretching their season-high winning streak to seven games.
Vince Carter realizes that the playoffs are near.
There are 16 regular-season games remaining for the Orlando Magic. Although they haven't officially clinched a postseason spot, you can see the pending playoffs written all over Vince Carter's game face. [...]
"Been a while but I've been there [to the playoffs] and I know what it takes," Carter said. "You have to take the necessary steps to get there. Right now we're playing out best possible basketball and it doesn't matter the opponent." [...]
Carter looked invigorated. Maybe it was the playoff push. Then again, maybe it was something else. "I think had too much Red Bull before the game," he laughed.
Orlando Magic are set to scout the teams they might play in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
Brian Schmitz writes that the scouting staff for the Orlando Magic is going to start to scout possible first-round opponents as the regular season winds down.
The club went into Thursday night's game against the Chicago Bulls positioned as the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race. If they held the spot, they would begin the postseason facing the No. 7 seed, which is currently a grab-bag of possibilities.
Toronto, Charlotte, Milwaukee, Miami and the Bulls are all in the mix at No. 7. The Magic might have to see how the season plays out before knowing their opponent.
"You just don't know the way teams are bunched down there," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We'll start watching them more and more intensively."
More after the jump.
Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose injured his left wrist when he collided with Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard for the second time in the teams’ last two games
Dwight Howard wishes Derrick Rose, a fellow adidas-endorsed basketball player and friend, a speedy recovery.
Magic vets to Derrick Rose: Be smart when attacking big men
Tania Ganguli gathers the thoughts of several Magic players, as they explain why Rose should be smart next time when attacking the basket against Howard or other big men in the NBA.
Injuries play havoc with Chicago Bulls rotation
Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune notes that the Bulls' rotation is becoming slimmer with each injury to one of its starters.
Sprained wrist sidelines Rose
John Jackson of the Chicago Sun-Times describes the uphill battle Chicago had to face against Orlando in last night's game.
Entering their game Thursday against the Orlando Magic, the Bulls knew they would face an uphill climb playing without center Joakim Noah (plantar fasciitis in left foot) and small forward Luol Deng (strained muscle in right calf).
But when point guard Derrick Rose went down with a sprained left wrist late in the first quarter -- courtesy again of a hard foul by Magic center Dwight Howard -- the Bulls' task went from an uphill climb to an uphill climb on a sheet of ice while carrying a piano.
Howard says Rose injuries not his fault
One word: Classy.
Before the game, Rose met a 13-year-old fan from nearby Kissimmee who recently wrote a letter to him detailing how he nearly died in a bicycle accident and how looking at a poster of Rose above his bed helped him focus on getting better.
Rose took photos with Isaiah Walter and his family and took him into the locker room to meet the rest of the Bulls.
While watching the Magic clobber the Bulls by 29 points on Thursday for their seventh consecutive victory, I started thinking about the differences between this season's Orlando team and the one that reached the NBA Finals a year ago. What stands out to me is the fact the Magic might struggle in the playoffs without Hedo Turkoglu around to initiate the offense. Yes, he is playing poorly in Toronto, but he was Orlando's top player in the playoffs last year. He was their best playmaker.
In the playoffs when teams crank it up on defense, you need guys who can create on their own. You have to be able to create off the dribble. I don't see many guys on the Magic who can do that.
Bulls' nightmare comes true
Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago explains that the Bulls are having a rough go of it lately with injuries to three of their starters.
Savage & Cohen: Magic-Bulls Postgame Analysis
Dan Savage and Josh Cohen of OrlandoMagic.com provide analysis of the Magic's win.
Behind the Box Score, where Portland is all over the place
Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don't Lie recaps Orlando's victory.
Baseline to Baseline (last night's game recaps)
Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk "spares you the gory details" of yesterday's game.