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Orlando Magic News for January 7th - The Cavaliers are Better than the Magic...?

  • Believe it or not, we're nearly halfway through the season. As such, some people on the internet are starting to forecast the NBA's postseason by ranking teams. Andrew Ayres of ESPN wrote today that the Magic are the 10th-most-likely team to win the championship this season, behind the Nuggets, the Jazz, the Cavaliers, the Lakers, the Suns, the Mavericks, the Pistons, the Spurs, and the Celtics. I'd play the disrespect card, but Ayres concedes that Dwight Howard "seems to be on the Shaq path of title inevitability." Cool. But behind the Cavaliers this year? Really?
    • Hardwood Paroxysm stood up for the Magic, though:

      So while the Magic, at the bottom of the list, have a better record (you know, above .500), and a team with more than one guy that can score, they're not as good as a team that is 8-5 in it's last 13, playing Miami and the Bucks?

  • Somewhat surprisingly, Ayres isn't alone in ranking the Cavaliers ahead of the Magic. After the Celtics' 92-85 defeat of the Pistons on Saturday, David Friedman of 20 Second Timeout wrote that Cleveland "[is] the only team that seems like it has the necessary parts to beat either the Celtics or the Pistons in a seven game series." He's careful to note that the Cavaliers would not win that series if it were played today, but that"by May the Cavaliers should be able to get back to playing the way that they did last year defensively and on the glass. The Magic are too inconsistent[...]" I understand David's point about the Magic's inconsistency, but the Cavaliers are still under .500 despite having arguably the league's best player. I'm not sure how anyone can rank Cleveland ahead of Orlando at this point.
  • There's been more confusion in wake of the controversial "no good" ruling on Adonal Foyle's tip-in at the buzzer of Friday's Magic/Rockets game, which would have sent it into overtime. Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said after the game he did not know what the original ruling on the floor was; none of the three officials made a visual signal ruling whether or not the basket counted. The referees insist that they informed Orlando's P.A. announcer, Paul Porter, that their initial ruling was that the basket did not count. Porter has said he never heard any such ruling from the officials.
  • Golden State of Mind is hosting a three-part Q & A with Preetom Bhattacharya, who covers the Warriors and Clippers for HoopsWorld. Here's my exchange with Preetom from the comments:

    Ben Q Rock: Preetom, do you think the Magic are interested in acquiring Mickael Pietrus from Golden State, as is rumored? And if the Warriors do trade with Orlando, with whom would they part?

    pree: The Magic definitely need a swingman and a big man - after Shard and Hedo, they've got a whole lot of nothing on the wing. Pat Garrity and Brian Cook are soft like nice towels and Adonal is D-12's backup.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the Dubs packaged [Patrick O'Bryant] and Pietrus for Redick and Dooling. It isn't much at all - Redick can't guard a traffic cone, but Dooling sort of fits a need.

    It's one of those "whatever" trades - it's not like the Magic will trade Nelson (just gave him an extension, making him BYC, and their GM likes him) and Arroyo is their starter (and is playing well).

    In case you're wondering, Patrick O'Bryant is a 7'0" center from Bradley, currently in his second season with Golden State. He has robust career averages of 1.7 points and 1.3 rebounds in 6.2 minutes per game. If that sounds crappy, it shouldn't. His per-40 minute averages (11.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks) compare favorably to those of our very own James Augustine (10.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 0.4 blocks), and O'Bryant is more than two years younger.