Last night, the Orlando Magic suffered a close and tough loss at the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers and are now down 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.
If you remember two days ago, I stated that Game 3 was extremely important for both the Magic and Sixers because historically, teams that win that game go on to win their series roughly 75% of the time. Well, Game 3 has passed and Philadelphia appears to have the advantage in the series, again (cue in the Pistons series last year).
Does that mean it's time to worry? No.
I know that some Orlando fans are nervous right now because their home team is seemingly flirting with the prospects of elimination but here's the deal, there's a ton of basketball still to be played. Let's be frank, the Magic have not played a complete game yet in the series. If Orlando plays a full 48 minutes of basketball with desire and energy against their opponent in each game moving forward, the team should be fine. Even though the Magic are down in the series, a win in Game 4 evens the score, and Orlando regains home-court advantage. And again, as I pointed out two days ago, there is precedence for the Magic to come back and win the series (again, cue in the Pistons series last year). We all know the story.
If there's one thing Orlando has shown time and again this year, is that when the team's back is against the wall, the Magic react positively, more often than not.
A few quick examples.
Example: Orlando Magic begin season 0-2.
Stan Van Gundy was so peeved after the loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on October 31st, 2008, that he let loose an F-bomb live on Sun Sports after the game.
"[Jameer Nelson] couldn't hit a ******* shot."
This quote fueled the fire for the critics of Nelson, who felt he didn't deserve to start. Yada, yada, yada. What happens after the Magic's 0-2 start? Orlando responds by winning 33 of the next 39 games. Additionally, Nelson leads the charge for the team and busts out of his shell, finally silencing the doubters and haters.
Example: Jameer Nelson suffers season-ending injury.
"It’s a big blow for us," center Dwight Howard said [...]. "I’m trying not to think about it because he’s been playing so well. It’s a sad day for all of us."
Easily the most devastating news for the Magic this season. Nelson was having a special year and as a result, was named an All-Star for the first time in his career. Unfortunately, Nelson tears his right labrum in a game against the Dallas Mavericks on February 2nd and it appears as though the year was lost for Orlando. What happens after the injury? General manager Otis Smith pulls the trigger on a three-team deal (after whiffing on the Tyronn Lue trade), which brought Rafer Alston to the Magic from the Rockets, and the season is saved. Subsequently, Orlando doesn't miss a beat.
Example: Orlando Magic trail Philadelphia 76ers, 2-1, in seven-game series.
The script for this particular story hasn't been written yet. However, if this year has proven anything to Magic followers, it's that Orlando deserves the benefit of the doubt. The team has demonstrated it can respond to adversity at any time.
No need to panic, yet.