Entering Friday's game against the Toronto Raptors, the Orlando Magic stand at 12-13, just one game behind the Boston Celtics for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. Orlando's four-game winning streak and much-improved play in December overall has some NBA analysts, including Zach Lowe of Grantland, wondering if the Magic could snag a postseason berth in the first year of their post- Dwight Howard rebuild effort.
Magic guard Arron Afflalo certainly wants Orlando to reach the postseason. "You play to make the playoffs," the veteran told Lowe, "and once you’re in, you play to win the whole thing."
Afflalo's stance is unambiguous: Orlando expects to contend for a playoff spot. The Magic have impressed with their pluckiness, especially defensively, in building that 12-13 record.
"If there’s a mistake the NBA analyst community made in assessing this Magic team," Lowe says, "it was probably forgetting the difference between a sub-par talent team stocked with tough-minded veterans and a sub-par talent team giving heavy minutes to rookies and second-year guys."