ATLANTA - MAY 08: Head coach Stan Van Gundy of the Orlando Magic enjoys a laugh after a play against the Atlanta Hawks during Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on May 8, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. 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 Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
There's no denying that the Orlando Magic are on a roll. As ESPN's Marc Stein pointed out yesterday on Twitter, they're 16-1 since a buzzer-beating loss to the Atlanta Hawks on March 24th, with the lone loss coming on the second night of a back-to-back against the San Antonio Spurs in which Manu Ginobili erupted for 43 points. And tonight, with a victory over the Hawks, they can record their second straight playoff sweep.
So, how good have the Magic been during this stretch, which spans the final 6 games of the regular season and all 7 playoff games? I checked the Four Factors to find out.
|Team||Efficiency||eFG%||FT Rate||OReb%||TO Rate|
|Green denotes a stat better than NBA regular-season average;|
red denotes a stat worse than NBA regular-season average.
Uh, yeah, the Magic are dominating on both sides of the ball; just look at that 17.9 efficiency differential! Defensively, Orlando is holding its opponents to below league average in each of the Four Factors as well as offensive efficiency. More impressively, the Magic are beating league average themselves in three of the Factors, with the only slippage coming in the turnover area.
If you want to disregard the regular season, then consider this: Orlando scored 114.2 points per 100 possessions against the Charlotte Bobcats, the league's most efficient defensive team, in the first round. And in their current series, the Magic have limited the Hawks, owners of the league's second-most efficient offensive attack, to 95.2 points per 100 possessions.
So it's clear that Orlando's success of late is no fluke. It's truly firing on all cylinders, so to speak, on both sides of the ball. The Magic's top-notch execution, coupled with their singular focus on winning a championship, has made them as lethal a team as any other in the league. And yet they remain squarely under the radar, as stories about LeBron James' elbow, the Hawks' pending summer shakeup, and the fall of the Spurs' dynasty have dominated the headlines. I'm sure that's all just fine with coach Stan Van Gundy and his Magic, though. They're biding their time, studying film, and constantly looking for ways to improve. Though it's far too early to consider them--or anyone else, for that matter--the "favorites" to win the championship this season, they're putting themselves in position to be part of that conversation when it happens.
Finally, for fun, here's a table showing the Magic's victory margin during that 16-1 stretch:
|Margin of Victory (Range)||Times Recorded|