The Orland Magic have dropped their last five games, maintaining their position in the standings--third-to-last--and doing little to inspire confidence that they're growing as a team.
Coming off two consecutive losses, Orlando visited the Milwaukee Bucks, who own the league's third-worst record, Monday and blew an 18-point lead to lose by seven. On Wednesday, they faced the lottery-bound Denver Nuggets, only to squander a 13-point lead and yield 120 points on 51.1 percent shooting in their own building.
Friday's opponent, the Washington Wizards, looks bound for the postseason, and on the surface losing by four points in overtime against a playoff-bound club, even at home, wouldn't cause concern. And it's to Orlando's credit that it fought back from a 15-point deficit in the first quarter to even make the game competitive; the Magic absorbed Washington's first punch, so to speak, and worked themselves back into the game.
But the Magic also had a five-point lead with 48.7 seconds to go in regulation, only to let John Wall score five straight points to force overtime. The circumstances around this defeat recalled those of an earlier one against the Cleveland Cavaliers, a loss which Orlando Pinstriped Post readers voted the worst of the season: in that game, the Magic led by nine points with 64 seconds to play in regulation but couldn't close out the game.
I don't intend for this story to offer analysis of the team's struggles; instead, I want to use it as a venue for you to discuss what you think has gone wrong of late. What have you seen from Orlando recently, and how would you suggest getting it back on the right track?
(If you're a tank commander--a fan who wants the Magic to lose in order to improve their lottery odds--then you might take issue with the way I've framed the above question. Don't get cute about it; you know what I'm trying to say.)