In their surprisingly strong 9-14 open to the 2014/15 campaign, the Orlando Magic didn't look like worldbeaters, but they didn't look like doormats, either. They scored solid wins over the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns--two clubs currently at or above the .500 mark--and took care of business against lesser foes like the Charlotte Hornets, Utah Jazz, and Sacramento Kings. On the road, no less, in those three cases.
Indeed, through their first 23 games, Orlando owned a 7-3 record against teams below .500 as of January 8th. That trend has changed for the worse recently, and has contributed to the Magic's slide: Orlando is 4-11 in its last 15 games, with its defeat against the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday tying a season-long losing streak at four. Worse still, each of those four most recent losses has come against teams with losing records.
The Magic have failed to meet even modest expectations of late. A rebuilding team like Orlando ought to at least hold its own against, if not outright defeat, the league's mediocre squads. Instead, the Magic find themselves scratching their heads when they should be hitting their stride.
That Orlando is no longer defeating opponents it ought to no doubt contributes to some of the frustration its fans have expressed in the comments section of this site, on Twitter, and elsewhere. Orlando's next five foes following Friday's game against the moribund Los Angeles Lakers currently own records at or above .500.
In short, unless the Magic find something to spark them, their losing ways figure to continue.