Wins over the Celtics and Timberwolves, along with encouraging performances against the Wizards and Cavs, helped the Magic climb out of the power ranking basement.
And the Magic responded by losing at home to the Kings, one of the few teams ranked behind them. That loss, though, won’t be reflected in the rankings until next week.
Click on each publication for the full ranking....
ESPN - Magic climb from 30 to 29
Sunday’s win in Boston as a double-digit underdog was a real head-scratcher considering how rough of a season it has been for the Magic on the road. Entering Sunday, they had lost 18 of their previous 19 games away from Orlando, including 11 straight. That was tied for the worst 19-game road stretch in franchise history (done multiple times). -- Matt Williams
CBS Sports - Magic climb from 30 to 24
There is a semblance of a good team somewhere inside the Magic. They’re losing games tight, but they just can’t finish off wins. There is talent on this roster that might work elsewhere though. If they can clear up the logjam at center, it would allow them to play Khem Birch more. - Chris Barnewall
SI.com - Magic at 28
Aaron Gordon has cooled considerably from deep after a scorching start to the season. Still, if he settles somewhere in the mid-30%s from distance, that will be a massive improvement over the rest of his career. - Rohan Nadkarni
USA Today - Magic climb from 30 to 28
Take it with a grain of salt, but in their past three games — impressive wins against Minnesota and Boston and a one-point loss to Cleveland — the Magic have the seventh-ranked defense in the NBA in terms of defensive rating. - AJ Neuharth-Keusch
NBA.com - Magic climb from 30 to 29
Somebody woke up the Magic, who picked up two quality wins (over Wolves and Celtics) last week and almost completed a comeback from 23 points down in Cleveland on Thursday, with Elfrid Payton’s game-winner rolling off the rim. (Did his hair get in the way again?) Their best minutes have come with reserves on the floor (Khem Birch had was a plus-13 with 12 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks in the Minnesota win) and the turnaround has come on defense. They’ve allowed just 101 points per 100 possessions over the three games, and while they’re own shooting struggles have continued, their opponent 3-point percentage (29 percent over the last five games) looks like he did when they were winning games in October. - John Schuhmann
UPROXX - Magic climb from 30 to 29
I have no idea how but the Magic have toppled the Wolves and Celtics in recent days. That won’t erase everything that transpired before those contests but it helps from a perception standpoint. - Brad Rowland
Rotoworld - Magic at 28
Heading into Sunday’s matinee matchup with the conference-leading Celtics in Boston, Orlando had lost 16 of their previous 19 games overall. They were also riding a 10-game road losing streak and had been defeated in each of their prior 14 trips to Boston. The last time they’d won a game in Beantown was January 17th, 2011. So, what happened on Sunday? Obviously, the Magic beat the Celtics, 103-95. - Tommy Beer