I talked a little bit yesterday about the Orlando Magic's dominance over its 17 games prior to last night's Game 4 against the Atlanta Hawks, which Orlando took by 14 points, thus advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals. Today, John Hollinger, in a piece entitled "Nobody is playing better than Orlando," writes more about Orlando's recent play, and widens the scope to include its last 30 games. An excerpt:
See if you can wrap your heads around this one: Orlando has outscored opponents by a whopping 421 points over its past 30 games. To put this in perspective, the Lakers, Suns and Celtics -- who could be the other three teams left standing when the conference finals start next week -- didn't outscore the opposition by 421 points over the entirety of the 82-game regular season, much less in the final 30 games of it.
That's an average of 14 points per game, which simply isn't done over long stretches -- nobody else in the NBA had an average margin even half that size during the regular season.
This isn't run-of-the-mill good, people. This is blow-your-doors-off, hide-the-women-and-children level domination. The Magic are so good that Stan Van Gundy is in danger of running out of things to worry about.
But as great as the Magic have been, the true test hasn't really started. The Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers, their potential Conference Finals opponents, will offer far more resistance than the Hawks or Charlotte Bobcats. Brian Schmitz has more on that subject here.
So much for flying under the radar.