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Orlando Magic face very challenging second-half schedule

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The second half of the NBA schedule has been released and the Magic have it rough

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Magic’s second-half schedule - which will determine whether Orlando is a playoff team, play-in team or lottery team - has been announced.

Based on how tough the schedule looks, it’s probably going to be quite difficult for the shorthanded Magic to remain in the playoff picture.

Nearly every team the Magic face through March is a current playoff team, with the exceptions being the Heat (the defending Eastern Conference champs who will likely have a much better second half than first) and the Mavs (a .500 team just a game out of the eighth spot).

The Magic close the month of March by kicking off a five-game West Coast trip that carries into April. And April doesn’t have very many lay-ups either.

The Magic have the most challenging strength of schedule in the league for remaining games, with opponents having a combined winning percentage of .534. Opponents the Magic have already played have a combined winning percentage of .458.

Some dates to circle on the calendar:

The Nets’ Big 3 come to town on March 19.

Zion Williamson makes his Orlando debut on April 22.

LeBron James and the defending champs take on the Magic in L.A. on March 28 and in Orlando on April 26.

A regular-season ending two-game set with the East-leading Sixers on May 14 and 16.

But by the looks of it, the most important date of all for the Magic will probably be whenever the NBA Draft Lottery is held.