You Believe In Magic?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – In most every other corner of the sports world, fall Sundays are reserved for football watching. But not here at the hideout.

We do things differently around here. And that means watching preseason NBA games. That’s right. Our eyes are on the prize from the moment training camp begins, even on the preseason games.

And after watching the Orlando Magic demolish the New Orleans Hornets to christen their new arena, the plush Amway Center, we have to ask, what happened to the buzz surrounding this Magic team?

A year ago this time they were the crew most of the pundits assumed would step into the void at the top of the Eastern Conference, surpassing both Cleveland and Boston for supremacy on the other side of the aisle of Kobe Bryant‘s Los Angeles Lakers.

Dwight Howard had assumed his position as the league’s most dominant defensive force and his supporting cast was as good as it had ever been, led by a healthy Jameer Nelson, a recharged Vince Carter and an anxious Rashard Lewis, who never seemed concerned with proving his worth.

For a long time last season those pundits looked wise. The Magic shook off some early season uncertainty and by the playoffs they were back to looking like the team that had fallen to Bryant and the Lakers in the 2009 NBA Finals.

They mowed down to the Bobcats and Hawks in the first two round of the playoffs, toying at times with a Hawks team that won 53 games and owned one of the top four playoff seeds in the East.

Then, inexplicably, some eight games into their postseason run the power went out in Orlando.

A nightmare matchup against a hungry Boston team, the same one (sans an injured Kevin Garnett) they’d eliminated in the East semifinals in Game 7 a year earlier, exposed the Magic’s flaws. We all promptly shoved them aside and watched the Lakers and Celtics battled throughout an epic, seven-game series for the Larry O’Brien trophy.

Instead of the Magic reloading this summer and checking into a penthouse suite in the East, they watched as the Miami Heat put together a dream team of their own and the Celtics reloaded for another run at the Finals.

But that doesn’t mean we should just discount the Magic, does it?

Locally, they are resigned to the fact that their South Florida neighbors and Southeast Division rivals in Miami will no doubt be the marquee attraction this season. George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel tries to put it all in perspective:

Nobody cares about the Magic this season. They are the warm-up act, the acoustic guitar guy opening for the Eagles.

The Heat are the greatest team in the history of planet Earth. The Boston Celtics are a formidable adversary. They will meet in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals. So it has been ordained by the talking heads on ESPN and other media outlets genuflecting at the presence of King James and his noble court.

You’d think the Magic would have no worries coming in way under the Heat Index, but that’s not necessarily so.

The demands to win within the organization will be greater than ever. And it’s not because they are playing in a fabulous new building that makes Amway Arena look like a subsidized housing dump.

The contract extension that the Magic recently offered Dwight Howard looms in the air, clouding the future. Howard remains non-committal.

“I can’t answer that,” Howard told the Sentinel when asked whether he would sign the extension. “I mean, I love Orlando. I don’t want to leave.”

Um. Sounds a bit like the line we heard a few years back, when Shaquille O’Neal said, “Orlando is my No. 1 option.”

It all falls apart if Howard goes. [Stan] Van Gundy and Magic GM Otis Smith will struggle to survive the freefall, since they will be the convenient fall guys left behind.

Still, I wouldn’t jump off the roof of the new Amway Center just yet, Magic fans. Sit back and grab a cold one in the Budweiser Baseline Bar. This is all going to be part of the game within the game that will be played out over the course of the next year.

Clearly, the Magic have more going on than just trying to restore the luster the franchise enjoyed as recently as two years ago. Whether or not this crew is up to the task remains to be seen.

Using each of the past two seasons as a guide, The Magic would appear to be in the perfect position to upset the favorites and find their way back to the Finals to see if they can finish what they started in 2009.

What say you?

107 Comments

  1. 908 says:

    magic vs lakers in the finals

  2. Brian says:

    The Magic are the team to beat in the east. They are established, the only east team to make it to the ECF’s the last two seasons and create matchup problems for everybody. They have the scoring, they have the defense and the depth to make any mid season trade if neeeded. They can ride through injuries, unlike all the other east teams.They are in their prime years etc…. I can go on and on. But, the Magic have the say on who is coming out of the east….. MINUS ALL THE BANDWAGON HYPE!!!

  3. silver bullet says:

    what??? Milwaukee(if andrew bogut is healthy) has way better roster than chicago, besides boozer sidelines for firsth 1-2mo. of the season… no doubt miami and orlando is the beast n d east, but boston??? wew, they’re too old to hold on to d playoffs… yes they’re talented and experienced players but either miami or orlando will shut them down… in the 2nd round…

    my playoff picture:
    1. miami heat
    2. orlando magic
    3. boston celtics
    4. milwaukee bucks
    5. chicago bulls
    6. atlanta hawks
    7. newyork knicks
    8. new jersey nets

  4. bainbridejim says:

    La La Land is still the team to beat, though some calls Howard soft and that must make Bynum a smoothie. Speaking of smooth, the Doc can get though the season by resting his Sr. Citizens again they’ll have a chance. Miami’s a real guessing game it take most teams (there is sr citizen exception) about a year to get to know each other. Right now Lebron and Wade look a little like chip n dale (nooo after you) my guess is that most of the season you’ll see Jekyll and Hyde. You’ll have similar problems in Chicago. I’m surprise no one is giving Milwaukee a chance their young team and their coach is real impressive. Orlando is about at that year mark and might be ready to take the reigns in the east if SVG coaches the team he has and not the team he wants.

  5. Jay says:

    Look every conference has a #2. A team who (depending on an injury from the #1) can claim that #1 spot. But with everything remaining equal they will never win it all and that’s Orlando. They are the eastern conference Pheonix and Denver. They’re that team good enough to compete but not enough to win. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE trust me when i tell you all… eastern conference finals will be Boston v Miami.. the western conference will be LA v Oklahoma City. the NBA Finals will be LA v Miami. all the other (what is it) 28 teams? better start thinkin about how they are going to get Melo and CP3.

  6. Magic-DIOGO says:

    damn guys you just talking miami is over-rated let the ego come out of bron an wade and 0 for miami boston gots a deadly team but old if they keep going hard they can go for the chip bulls overrated boozer is injured and derrick rose will not be the super PG as long as he plays in chicago and orlando is deadly work work work that what vince did to be good or let me say vintage over the hole summer he worked out to be good for the magic so all this carter haters and talkers watch out for carter vs bryant this season in the finals and not for bron vs. kobe or some this and get an little eye on memphis

  7. LOL^ says:

    Seriously, making effing predictions when the season ain’t rollin’ yet is stupid. Miami isn’t the best team till they prove it come post-season. Until then, they’re just the best team on paper. Same with Chicago(They still can’t beat magic imo.).

  8. daez says:

    Magic – They will do very well this season. They have Howard, improving his offensive game all the time while still being a dominant defensive power in the paint, which gives his team an advantage as they can better defend the perimeter. Don’t count them out, they have pretty much had the same team the past 2-3 seasons that have gotten them to the playoffs and able to compete every time.

    Boston – Yes, they’re running out of gas, but they still have gas in the tank to make another run. They also have pretty much the same team they’ve had the past 2-3 seasons. This season they added Shaq and Jermaine O’Neal, giving them solid bodies that are strong proven defenders. Also, they have a young, extremely atheltic guard in Nate Robinson that so far has done well for the C’s.

    Bulls – Good team this season. They added half of that seasons Utah Jazz, but those players will definately contribute to this team. I think it’s up to Derrick Rose to prove himself, become even more of a leader for this young Bulls squad. Scoring is great, and he brings intensity that makes his team play harder and do well, but I’d like to see Rose get his team more involved and dish the rock more.

    Heat – Obviously by having 3 all-star players together in one team, they’re going to be a good team from the get-go. But everyone says “their bench sucks” … Give the bench more credit, they have decent role players who can get the job done. Big Z provides height and is a great offensive rebounder. Eddie House proved himself with a great showing while with the Celtics. Guys like Haslem, Miller, Chalmers and Joel Anthony are good players who will help the “Super friends” have a great season.

    No-one can say that any of these teams WILL make the eastern conference finals because they haven’t played yet, they haven’t proven anything this season. It’s just a case of they were good last year so they will be good this year. Just wait and see. Miami might be a complete fail. Orlando might resurge and get back to the NBA Finals. Boston might run out of gas and fall short. The Bulls might suprise everyone. Just wait and see.

  9. DevilsAdvc8 says:

    kobe24, “rape” any team. well, you sure do know what you’re talking about. the lakers do have a suspected rapist in their midst. as for raping any team in the east, i don’t think you should be so sure. if you haven’t noticed yet, OKC just served a warning to LA last year. i’m not betting on any upsets. but i’m not discounting OKC too.

    as for the east, as long as two of miami’s big 3 are healthy, they’ll top the east standings. as for the playoffs, i’m not so sure. Boston is still the team to beat. Miami still has the same weaknesses the Cavs had when they met Boston last year, so I don’t think they’ll be able to overcome Boston unless Boston sustain injuries at the Center position.

    as for the Magic, they’re potent but they really have no heart. and they rely too much in their 3 pt shooting. howard can only dunk. that’s about his repertoire of moves. if Orlando meats Miami, Miami will beat Orlando because Orlando’s shooters will be choked by Miami’s perimeter defense. i don’t care how many points Howard scores. each dunk is only 2 points. Orlando wins on 3 pt shooting. Lakers showed that in the finals match up vs orlando. if orlando chokes on 3 pt shooting, they’re dead in the water.

    Boston on the other hand can beat both Miami and Orlando. Miami will have problems vs Boston because Boston just poses too many match up problems for them. Rondo alone will run circles around Miami defense. Boston also has a deeper bench than Magic. Miami don’t have a bench worth jack.

    so my prediction? Miami out of east. Lakers out of west. yeah i said boston was the better team in the east. but Miami has Pat. he’s all they really need.

    • daez says:

      Don’t compare the revamped Heat to last years Cavs. The Cavs didn’t have the quickness nor the second and third scoring options. All they had was LeBron to split the D. Now, the Heat have LeBron and Wade that will speed down the lanes and get Miller and Chalmers open. Plus they have a quick, scoring-able PF in Bosh that will run rings around the C’s bigs.

  10. 3Peat,17,6 says:

    1.Miami
    2.Orlando
    3.Chicago
    4.Boston
    5.Milwakee
    6.Atlanta
    7.Washington
    8.Philadelphia
    NY is not makin the playoffs please amare was a star cuz of steve nash

    1.Lakers
    2.Dallas
    3.Oklahoma
    4.Portland
    5.6.7.8 utah?(al jeferson?),phoenix?(hedo?), san antonio?(to old?), memphis?(no bench), clippers?(the curse), denver?(melo still in town?), houston?(yao healthy?),new orleans?(ariza?) all these teams can make the final four spots the west is gonna be interestin…out of 15 teams only golden state sacramento and minnesota have no chance of makin the playoffs and in east we might not know the standings but we know whos makin it and in the west we don’t know either the standing nor whos makin it….i can’t wait 4 the season 2 start rollin

  11. Oliver says:

    Chicago are totally over-rated. They will win about the same as last year, just a bit more. Orlando is still the top seed in the East, Boston won’t repeat this year, they got a perfect shot at a Over-confident Orlando team last year, but this year Orlando will mow past them, especially since they even older and Shaq and his brother are only dead weight. The Heat, it seams will need this year to learn to play together well and i doubt they are gonna be STRONG contenders if they lost to San Antonio so easily. Orlando anyways overpowers them at the Center by alot, Jermaine, at least had a shot which took Dwight out of the post. Orlando has a better point guard and to Bosh they have much better shooters at that spot bringing him out (Lewis, Richardson). Orlando is going to be top 2 definitely, Chicago no were near, and the Heat the only likely contenders.

  12. Jacob From Romania says:

    Magic this season may be one of the best teams in this season

  13. RussGotRings says:

    Celtics are the team to beat in the east

  14. I think the magic are still a real good team,and i predict them fighting boston for the 2nd seed in the East,(sorry but miami’s too talented). they did upgrade a little by getting quentin richardson and chris duhon…

  15. Mor S.A. says:

    The Orlando Magic aren’t strong enough mentally to win it all.
    They’ve got the talent for sure, but they lack that hunger we saw on the Celtics last year.

  16. Kobe24 says:

    GM SURVEY: Phil: Best coach, Kobe-Best shooting guard, Ron-Toughest player,Pau-Best power forward(tied) 2011 champion prediction?-You guessed it.LA.So,my point is.It doesn’t matter if miami,boston,orlando,bulls,or whatever team in the east is the best.LA is just gunna rape any team in the finals.

    • bainbridejim says:

      I guess with your best shooting guard rape is always a possibility…This must be fandom taken to an extreme.

  17. Devam says:

    The magic will win it all

  18. Vlad says:

    Miami…………66-16
    Orlando………58-24
    Boston………..57-23
    Chicago………52-30
    Atlanta………..50-32
    Milwakee……..46-36
    New York……..44-38
    Washington….41-41

  19. EuroSixer says:

    P.S. but they are still much better than the Bulls.

  20. EuroSixer says:

    I agree with Evan-Magic will not be a championship caliber team as long as they have offensively limited D12 and they also lack a go-to shooter. I’d do whatever (and I mean-WHATEVER) is necessary to obtain Melo. If Magic traded Carter and draft picks for Melo and a decent pass-first backup PG, then Orlando would be a formidable force in the NBA. This way, I can’t help but notice they lack one or two pieces to be THE force they want to be in the league.

  21. chrisps says:

    Anybody who is saying the heat won’t be a number 1 seed in the east is a dummy. Lebron lead a worst team to the top seed 2 years in a row and you are telling me he won’t do that with 2 other all stars on the team. Come on I’m not saying they will win it all, but let’s be serious here, if you watch basketball without being biased then you will know that Chris Bosh is not over-rated, he’s the real deal and has a much better offensive game than Howard and Lewis. Everybody is saying Miami does not have a pg, and center, well Anthony is a good defensive center and he really won’t be needed to score anyway. Lebron and Wade will dominate the ball so the pg is don’t matter. Only Boston will give them trouble in the East and I think Orlando ends up the 4th seed after Chicago, it seems to me Orlando has ton of skill, but they are lacking in the heart department.

    • LOL^ says:

      You’re the most non-biased man alive. And you believe that Bosh ain’t overrated. If you see some history on the lewis-bosh matchup it was pretty even. I heard some that bosh plays like the good ol KG. But he lacks what KG does best. DEFENCE.
      If i were to pick the best PF in the league i’d pick Pau all the way,

    • i like ur opinions but still think chicago wont pass orlando…. i also agree with ur miami opinions, the starting PG for the HEAT will most likely be chalmers,and were only gonna need him to bring the ball up-court and catch-and-shoot open shots, same objective as mike miller, eddie house, and james jones…

  22. haroon says:

    first of all season hasnt started yet…cant stand ppl trying to predict who’s who..n who’s gonna win..and when the season finally starts n u see what team is doing what then you all jump on the band wagon…Miami is not gonna win u watch n see..Boston is not gonna win u watch n see…n Orlando…hell noo..u know who is gonna win??? i’ll tell who’s gonna win we’ll find out in april ;) go raps go!!!

  23. anthony says:

    The Heat are the greatest team in the history of planet Earth. what a load of crap, you would be so stupid to think that the magic wont win the eastern conference, as for the heat probably the most hyped team but will be the greatest flop in nba history. Only think u can bank on is orlando in the east

  24. Sallie says:

    I am a true magic fan and I believe in my team. Have you been watching the pre-season games? If Rashsrd and Vince play like they are now, when the season start, hey, Look out. Everyone is talking about the CELTICS, please they are old and wore out, they just lucked up and won the East last year. The Heat have got a good trio but 3 men can’t play alone. I like the heat too, although LEBRON has a attitude problem. he is good, but he was the same player that played on the team that won the most games the last two years.Everyone is over looking the MAGIC, like they did 2 years ago when they was saying the lakers and the cavaliers was going to play the championship. All I am saying is don’t count the MAGIC out. Have you seen the Magic bench players? STOP< LOOK AND THINK. SEE. go magic!

    • look at what the heat were able to get after spending all that money on the big 3: mike miller, eddie house, big z, juwan howard, re-sign haslem, jones,joel anthony and carlos arroyo. the big 3 of the heat do not need to play alone… thats everyones excuse for them, but u gotta actually look at the team to then say something about them

  25. Raffi K says:

    They need someone like Steve Nash to get Howard the ball down low where he needs it. Too bad Howard has not developed a good low post game yet. Vince Carter always disappeared during crunch time. And Lewis is no where near worth the kind of money he is getting paid. I expect to see Boston come out of the East if they stay healhy.

    Raffi K

  26. David says:

    The magic are basically the same team that they were a year ago. The additions that they made were nice pick ups for there team. However, if the magic want ot become a great team, Dhoward has to become a great player. Ya they beat the Cavs and Celtics in 2009, but if KG wasnt hurt, it would have been three years in a row where the Lakers and Celtics matched up in the finals. But who knows with all the talk and bold predictions of the heat being at the top of the east, that might help take the pressure off the Magic. They are going to win a lot of season games and probably have the second or third best record in the east. But its the playoffs thats going to determine how good of a team they really are. I remember friends telling last year that Orlando looked dominate during there first two perfect playoff rounds. and that Boston didn’t have a chance. I didnt count Boston out because they know how to win when it counts (Playoffs). I would try and shop Vince Carter, I dont they wanted him over Hedo. Vince has always been a highlight, not a winner.

  27. d12 says:

    magic will at least get to the eastern conf championships.

  28. Jordan says:

    chicago is nothin. there will be a surprise team like there is every year. orlando can handle miami, bosh and james cant beat orlando its been proven. wade is the only one who can torch the magic. in the end the magic will be the best in the east

  29. Steve says:

    Orlando Magic players are comfortable in their system that has proven to be successful. They have enough talent inside out, great defence starting with Dwight Howard and excellent three point shooting. As far as I know they have no locker room drama and probably wont be disturbed by the excess media attention during the season, so they can just use the regular season to get better and better. Also with the match up against the HEAT, they have just as many match-up problems as the HEAT will have against them, but they could even try a similar zone to the one used by the Suns in the playoffs, with Howard protecting the rim in the middle. The HEAT on the other hand will have a tougher time adjusting to the system through the regular season, they are not set for all of their positions and they lack glue guys besides Udonis Haslem. So if Dwight Howard manages to stay on the floor during the playoffs, they have a very good chance against the HEAT and even a better chance of beating the Celtics. So i really don’t get the drama this article tries to rise.

  30. wilson says:

    i think coach is the problem ! Orlando is a championship team .last season when they lost, it is coach that is to be blame playing lewis with stomach problem . he don’t know how to used his 15 players .

    • panative says:

      What cool aid are you drinking???? Basketball is a team sport., with team members and a coach. Thus you win as a team and coach and loose as a team and coach!!!!!!

  31. EvKo says:

    SMH … all this talk tsk tsk tsk … its all worthless and pointless . U guys all are bunch of idiots for arguing who is better than who and who will win the Championship . Have any of u heard of “seeing is believing” ?! I hate stupid predictions , if u havent seen it , then why talk ?! Miami unstoppable ?! pffff BS ! 3 players dont make a Championship team . Bulls better than Magic ?! The most rediculous thing i’ve ever heard . Celtics top team in the East ? Nonsence . They r old and running out of gas . Here’s the drill , i say just stop trying to come up with all these stupid analysis and predictions , and just WATCH THE DAMN SEASON and let it take care of itself !!! Words r easier than actions , so just sit back grab a cold one and enjoy the season , the players will speak for us . I personally am a Magic fan and would love to see them win a Championship , they have proven many times that being the underdogs works in their favor . But then again , they have showed disappointments as well , so we will see what happens this season , just stop talking and let the players do that for us . Cheers .

    • Jose#8 says:

      My opinion is Chicago has a good team and in the playoffs they show up but theyre still not a Championship team but I belive theyll get far. Boston has sharp shooters and if well played they could beat any team but like everone says theyre old well thats what people say. Miami has 2 new All Star players that cant win a Championship on there own and are “unstoppable” but yet they lost to the Spurs, and once one gets injured its over for them and dont for get that they have no bench which reminds me come playoff time the BIG 3 are gonna need a break. And well Orlando like ever year are know for being the “weak underdogs” but yet they manage to pull though and get pretty far, and Otis Smith you have made some wierd decisons but your the GM so I support you.Any of these 4 Teams are possible finals team but my Heart is with Orlando,

  32. Zach says:

    let me school you ladies. hahahaha i can go for hours about this. listen i keep up with the nba more than i keep up with my life. POINT BLANK the magic are the best team in the nba that honestly cannot overcome the “spot light” fear. shun the non believers honestly. im a die hard magic fan because we destroy any team we play, consistently. we have the best center in the nba that does not need to score whatsoever. BLOCKS AND REBOUNDING LEADERRRRRRRRRRRR. we have the best three point shooters and bench. we can match up with any team. EXCEPT FOR THE LAKERS. THATS WHY WE HAVENT ONE JUST YET. TWIN TOWERS SUCK. LOL. HONESTLY WE DO NEED A POWER FORWARD. LET ME BREAK THIS DOWN THOUGH. the magic can score, make plays, and defend. all around a good team. i just hate the fact that were choke artists that let the media get in our head. pleasssssssssssseeeeeeeeeeeeeeee the miami heat have 4 good players. obviously the three kings and mike miller. these players will make the difference. THATS IT!!! ILGAUSKAS? ANTHONY? AGAINST DWIGHT? AHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH DONT MAKE ME LAUGH. secondly, bosh and rashard match up alll dayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. so wheres the problem with miami from a magic point of view? hmmmmmm bron and wade. yess now how can we stop them? we cant!!! who cares? those two guys will make those 25+ points per game, but if pietrus, carter, and richardson do the job right. we can defend them from making plays because obvioulsy one on one will not cut it. hahahahahah remember when that woman lebron was given hell by the frenchman 2 years ago. EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT
    “PLAYOFF” PIETRUS IS BACK BABY. HE CUT THE FRO. NOW WE ALSO HAVE RICHARDSON WHO IS PAUL PIERCE’S SWORN ENEMY BESIDES RON ARTEST. BACK TO MIAMI BEFORE BOSTON. LEBRON IS A WIMP. THATS FINE MVP GO AHEAD AND BALL OUT ALL YEAR UNTIL THE PLAYOFFS COME AND YOU CANT CLOSE. WHY WOULD YOU CLEVELAND????? THAT TEAM WAS NASTY BEFORE BRINGING JAMISON, BUT I WONT GO THERE. AWWWW LITTLE BABY LEBRON DOESNT HAVE HIS OWN CITY ANYMORE? THATS RIGHT HONEY YOUR THE NUMBER 2 GUY NOW. WELCOME TO WADE COUNTY. D WADE IS SICKKKKKKKK BUT THE ONE YEAR HE WON, SHAQ WAS DOMINATING ALONG WITH ALL OTHER VETERANS. CLOSERS! THEY HAVE TO MAKE A REAL TEAM BEFORE THEY ACTUALLY HAVE A SHOT. YOU ALL KNOW THIS NBA FANS. THE CELTICS LOST WALLACE ALLEN AND OMGGGGGGGGGG PERKINS. THE FIFTH PIECE TO THAT STARTING FIVE IS REPLACED BY TWO WASHED UP O’NEALS? THEY DIDNT WIN LAST YEAR BECAUSE THEY DIDNT HAVE PERKINS FOR GAME 7. NOW WHEN HE COMES BACK MID SEASON, WHAT SAYS HE WILL BE HEALTHY ENOUGH AND ACTUALLY BACK ON HIS GAME. THE CELTICS IF ANYTHING DIDNT UPGRADE. THEY EITHER STAYED THE SAME OR GOT WORSE WITH THESE INJURIES. LAST BUT NOT LEAST THE LAKERS. LETS JUST HOPE THAT OKC TAKES THEM OUT IN THE WEST FINALS OR THAT BYNUM DOESNT RETURN HEALTHY.

    THESE COMMENTS SEEM SO UNEDUCATED. I MEAN I KEEP UP WITH EVERY TEAM EVERY PLAYER. I KNOW THE GAME, AND I DO KNOW THAT YOU ALL KNOW THE MAGIC CAN PLAY BALL. THE ONLY PROBLEM IS GETTING OVER THAT CLIFF, AND FINALLY COMING TO TERMS THAT WE HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO WIN THIS YEAR IN THE NEW ARENA. WERE HONESTLY JUST THAT GOOD. WITHOUT A DURANT MELO KOBE BRON WADE ROSE DERON CP3 OR ANY OF THESE DUDES.

    IN CLOSING. THE MAGIC WANT IT THE MOST!!! I DONT CARE WHAT ANYBODY SAYS, BUT BESIDES KOBE BRYANT, WHO WANTS A CHAMPIONSHIP MORE? WHO PUTS IN THE WORK, DEDICATION, AND TIME TO BE HIS BEST? DWIGHT HOWARD. KTHANKS.

  33. Ranier says:

    babyfacemonster, just admit you’re an orlando hater. dwight howard and jameer nelson will take down miami in those 2 positions the heat are weak. even if LeQueen starts at pg, nelson is much more quicker with his smaller body..and who do you think is capable in that heat roster can contain howard…Big Z? Joel Anthony? Dexter Pittman? Please….give me a break…miami will just be top 3…hopefully 4…orlando or boston at the top..then chicago or milwaukee(if bogut becomes fully healthy)

  34. Derek says:

    Why does everyone say Chicago will beat Orlando? seriously i doubt it,ohhh Carlos Boozer that’s right.he sucks. Magic will take 3 out of 4 if not 4 out of 4 vs chicago.

  35. doomsday20 says:

    to you babyfacemonster and all of the haters of the magic lets see at the end of the season if who’s gonna LOUGH and who’s gonna CRY but for the meantime we have to wait until the finals happens and the nba seasons is over but one thing for sure the MAGIC,HEAT,CELTICS,BULLS,LAKERS, are all favorites to win the larry obrien trophy but we can’t avoi the OKC,PHX,DAL,POR,SAS,at the west at the east are ATLANTA,BUCKS,BOBCATS,PHI but all in all its evey body’s BALL GAME so lets all wait and see who’s gonna LOUGH and CRY at he end of the season….. I’am a magic fan what ever happens…….

  36. Phil Jackson says:

    Miami is weak in the backcourt, but with bosh within the equation can star as there power forward and center. Miami will be Champions!!

    • LEBRON SUCKS says:

      AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is with out a doubt the funniest and dumbest thing i have heard on this website today. So because of chris bosh, and him playing PF and C position the heat can win it all? That my friend is just too funny!!!!!!!

  37. J-Short says:

    I like the Magic but in the playoffs you need quality bench play when the starters get into foul trouble or injured. Besides D Howard i dont see much rebounding in site. And rebounding was key last year in the playoffs, the team that usually had the rebounding advantage won. Overall i see the Magic getting a top four seed and getting bounced in the semi final rounds of the playoffs.

    Deuces…

  38. Lamond you’re a true idot. u have no idea of what ur talking bout do you, the Heat have 3 of the most defensive minded players in the league today. Not to mention 2 of the best basketball players on the planet. Everybody smell the smelling sauce, the gig is up, its over. period.
    Oh and Orlando are chokers, the Bulls will advance before them. Rashad is overpaid and beyond his prime. Too skinny for PF and no defense for SF. Thanks All

    • Marc Gonzalez says:

      NICELY PUT

    • Derek says:

      Bulls suck,seriously.they aren’t real contenders,they will become the new atlanta.

      • Waylon says:

        Ok seriously Lebron and Bosh are not great defensive players at thier respected postions. As I can recall an aging Paul Pierce played his best postseason basketball against Lebron and the Cavs.Lebron gets too much defensive credit because of his chase down blocks. Luol Deng even up his season scoring average in the postseason when he played against Lebron.Bosh has never been a great defensive stopper seriously.Bosh is a good all star but he’s no superstar and once he goes up against say for example KG who is still a great defensive presence then everything will point to the fact Miami is not gonna win it all unless there are some injuries on other playoff teams. Lastly the NBA is a point guard driven league and a league that depends on size to be dominant and among all the playoff caliber teams the Heat are in the worst postion as anyone especially in the east where u got pg/c tandems of Rondo and a combo of both O’Neals and maybe Perkins if he recovers in time,then Nelson and Howard,Bibby and Horford,Rose and Noah,and Jennings and Bogut are all bettern than the Arroyo/Chalmers and Joel Anthony combo.Now theres no doubt in my mind that the Heat won’t wi 60+ games this season but in the playoffs they will struggle against these combos especiall when they face the Magic,C’s,Bulls,and possibly the Hawks who everyone has decided to give up on and the dark horse team the Bucks if they remain healty

    • MagicMike says:

      What??? Defensive minded players? Bosh plays terrible D!! Lebron and wade play average one on one D but good help D… Not sure how that will work out for them. Lewis will have his way with Bosh on the offensive end of the floor and be respectable on the defensive end. Bosh is freakin skinner than Lewis for crying out loud. Not to mention that you’ll be seeing a lot more of the twin towers in Howard and Gortat this season and Bosh doesn’t stand a chance against Gortat down low. Magic will take care of the heat as will the celtics. The real race in the east is between Boston and Orlando which I think Orlando takes this year. Finals will be Lakers vs. Magic with the magic taking it in 6.

    • LEBRON SUCKS says:

      Yea and the heat have great Point gurads and several great centers. LOL, yea right!!!!!!!

  39. James Aban says:

    I believe the Boston Celtics still are the top team to beat in the East until the Miani Heat or the Orlando Magic can top them off. I mean seriously, whatever happened to the phrase, “to be the man, you have to beat the man”. It all holds true here, same with the Lakers in the West. Unless someone topples them, they are the team to beat. This cycle will continue for all time. You cant just expect these champs to roll over. Even the 1999 Chicago Bulls did not go down just because MJ left. They had that much class and pride to fight.

  40. Tomas says:

    I’m an Orlando fan, but i will try not to be biased. My main thought was, who is a better PG, Deron Williams or Derrick Rose? The answer is obviously Deron Williams; With that being said, why does everybody think that Chicago is going to be better than Orlando? Yeah, they got Boozer, but, IMO, Utah was a better team, and Chicago adding Boozer makes them a better team, but not better than what Utah WAS, and Orlando currently is. If you ask me, honestly, 1.Heat 2.Orlando 3.Chicago 4.Boston. But, i firmly believe that they would not beat Orlando or Boston, seeing that Orlando has Dwight Howard and an extremely solid filled team, and Boston having Kendrick Perkins(he is EXTREMELY underrated, i know this cause i am a Magic fan and he does defend Howard superbly) and a team full of quality players, the Heat on the other hand, have 2 superstars, and 1 good all-star, Bosh is very overrated if you ask me, and a bunch of crap players. Does anyone know who the PG is? Who is the C? Writers on here and ESPN say they have quietly acquired a deep quality team, that’s just BS. But they won’t be crap, they do have LBJ and Wade, oh, and Bosh, which will win them around 50-70 games. But the scenario of one of them getting injured, ruins EVERYTHING.

  41. think says:

    This past 2 years, the teams that has beaten the Magic are the two best teams (LA and Boston) in the league right now. More than being underdogs, or having something to prove, this team has learned to lose from the best. If that isnt enough learning theyve gained the past two seasons, then I don’t know what is.

    They’ll be back this year, with just their eyes set to beat the best teams that will come in their way.

  42. Lamond says:

    The Magic are a great team and the will continue to win. I’ll give them fighting for the top spot with Boston. The Heat comes in 3rd in my book and makes a second round exit pure offense wont cut it. Sorry Heat fans didnt work in Phoenix and Denver wont work in Miami. Both Boston have the depth at every postion to top the East and take on LA in the finals… thats my 10 cents

  43. kareem says:

    vince carter was great now he is just good, he wont score 30+ points night in night out or even 20+ like the toronto days, so i think trading some fringe players n getting someone like melo or CP3 or even granger may help us get to the trophy

    • Marc Gonzalez says:

      NOBODY IS GOING TO GIVE ORLANDO YOUNG CATS FOR OLD ONES.. wHO WANTS TO GIVE UP A YOUNG ALL STAR WITH A BUNCH OF TALENT FOR AN OLD GUY THAT RELIES ON HIS JUMP SHOT AND CHOKES??

  44. kareem says:

    sorry that was my friends baby bro, i have been a magic fan since the beginning oneal days n i have lived with them through thick and thin, im just glad they are competing never mind winning t all, it would bw great if they do but just the fact they are up there 4 now should be a good since of the direction they are going in

  45. kareem says:

    i agree with all of u people from the hood! yo yo waz up in the hissle fizzle!

  46. KAQ says:

    to me its really between Boston and Orlando..the Heat are just up and coming in this rivalry, and i do think if D12 can manage a better average in the postseason, and the rest are in health check, they could possibly upset the Celtics.
    and Chicago again is an up and coming infusion of Jazz/ Bulls doubtful enough that they are capable of surpassing Orlando or the C’s for that matter.

  47. young lambo says:

    the heat are, no doubt, going to be the toughest team in the east. Thats if they are healthy. Before i was just a lebron fan, now im a miami analyst. I think the heat are unstoppable, not unbeatable. The magic have the tools to beat the heat, but not to win it all. Vince carter is having a great season in Orlando, but he is losing his steps he had earlier in his career. He is still explosive but he is at the end of his career. Dwight howard is still a beast, but he only gets 10 shots in 4 quarters. Now we all know thats not enough. If the Magice do not get Dwight the ball more within those 4 quarters then i do not see a winning season or a playoff run. The big 3 in Miami are going to put up a fight, but can the magic scrape together a team of their own to prove they still have the fire they had in 2009? Go lebron not the heat lol Lebron ps. i hope kobe make the playoffs so just in case the heat make it, i think they are with no problem, lebron can finally face kobe and give him what he has

    • Marc Gonzalez says:

      Ok dude, you obviously dont know basketball if your saying “IF” the Laker make the playoffs, “IF” Orlando makes the playoffs, “IF” Miami makes the playoffs. EACH OF THOSE TEAMS WILL BE IN THE PLAYOFFS

    • LEBRON SUCKS says:

      You sound like a bandwagon hopper/ lebron sack gobbler!!

  48. monica says:

    orlando is a threat just like the heat and boston are. anything can happen during the course of a long nba season. orlando is better than the bulls. bulls have to prove themselves just like the heat before they get my praise. orlando and boston are the proven teams in the east, the heat and bulls made some key pickups in the off season.

    • Marc Gonzalez says:

      Why in the world do people keep bringing up the bulls????? Their a good team, big deal, The Jazz are a good team, so are the Rockets, the Mavericks, the Hawks, Spurs ect. Their all good teams but how many are REAL contenders???

  49. Ahmed from Egypt says:

    I actually love the fact that the magic is an underdog team , this team just loves to play in this situation , 2 seasons ago no one picked them to make it past the second round in the east and they had a chip on thier shoulders all season long to prove they can do it , and they ended up winning the east and had a hell of a series against the lakers , however last season when VC came to town and they were delcared the east beasts , they just folded , and eventhough they picked up the pace later on last season , they got outplayed and out coached and out hustled by the A Celtics team which on paper got less talent than the Magic did .
    As a magic fan , i love where we at right now , i want us to be the underdogs , i want these guys to be hungry , this will be our motivation to have a shot at a title , as for the Heat , on paper they look great , but they still have to overcome many issues , most imprtant , chemistry and size , they dont have the size to be champions , and no matter how many points lebron and wade could score , i dont think they can defend like the lakers , celts or the magic

  50. ddddd says:

    Hype is just hype. Lets see what happens at the end of the season. Remember that last season nobody outside of Boston expected the Celtics to get to the finals. I wonder who is on the bench for Miami? Beyond Miller and Z that is not a championship bench that can step in if the big 3 of Miami were to get injured.
    The east is wide open. The east is the celtics to loose and the se division is the magic’s to lose. Vegas odds say the Heat will take the east. Vegas odds do not play the season. The players play the season. The injury odds are not in Miami’s favor with Bosh’s mysterious injury that caused him to miss the end of Toronto’s season last year, Lebron’s elbow, and Dwade’s random assortment of injuries throughout his career. There is also the chemistry issue which the magic have pretty well down pact now (as do the celtics)…. Play the season… the magic play like crap when they are expected to win anyways… When they are underdogs they play great. Miami’s hype has now made them underdogs again.

    • Marc Gonzalez says:

      The past years its been all boston and orlando and Lebron in the East. Lebron NEVER was given any help. Mo Williams, Jamison, Shaq ect.. give me a break. NOw lebron has 2 really good players with him, thats all he needs.

      • THEHEATSUCK says:

        Lebron has had plenty of help of the last couple seasons. How does a team that wins 65 plus games not have the pieces to go all the way. Lebron has had the help, he just choked the last two season. Also he is not the dominant player everyone thinks he is. If he was, he would at least have one ring by now. But , he felt he had to join another superstars team to try and get that first ring. Bron is a decent player, but no KOBE or JORDAN. And the heat cant win anything until they get a better bench, which may not ever happen because they have 300 hundred million on the books for the trio

      • daez says:

        @ THEHEATSUCK

        You’re wrong there. Yes, LeBron did have decent enough help with the Cavs to play hard during the regular season and win 65+ games. But think about it, when you go all out during the season, remember he won back-to-back MVP titles, fatigue will set in come post-season. LeBron also averaged nearly a triple-double for the first two rounds; if that’s not leading your team then you tell me what is. And then you say he choked? How does one guy choke? Basketball is a team sport, obviously LeBron wasn’t going to go into every game and score 100+ points and keep the entire opposing team from scoring, was he? Remember, Mo Williams choked big time, he couldn’t buy a basket if he was Bill Gates. Shaq, an old out-dated Shaq, couldn’t provide offensively or defensively, he doesn’t defend the pick-and-roll! LeBron DID have enough help to win the REGULAR SEASON, he DIDNT have enough help to win the POST-SEASON

      • daez says:

        @THEHEATSUCK

        Oh, and “Bron is a decent player, but no KOBE or JORDAN”. That too is a joke. Just because LeBron didn’t have good enough players to help him get a ring, means he’s not a Kobe or Jordan type player? Kobe got titles with Shaq (in his prime) and Pau Gasol, Artest blah blah. Jordan with Pippen, Rodman blah blah. Who has LeBron had? Noone that will ever become future hall-of-famers, that’s for sure. And LeBron James only took 7 years to get his first MVP title, and he got his second the very next year. Kobe has ONE and it took him THIRTEEN YEARS.

      • purpleandgold says:

        @ daez

        LeBron could not produce good players because he is no KOBE or JORDAN…those two elevates the game of their teammates while LeBron does not…
        Who would ever think PAU will be considered the best big man today or will be considered in hall of fame talks when he’s still playing for the grizzlies today?

  51. Troy says:

    The Magic are done man!! D. Howard can’t score, Vince is inconsistent, Lewis cant’ guard anyone!!Their time has past this year!!

  52. Kas says:

    I don’t think a team with Dwight as the main man will ever win a title

    • Marc Gonzalez says:

      EXACTLY RITE

      • Fred says:

        D wins championships period….
        Im not saying he is as good as Bill Russell…
        But he is the best Defending big man in the league…
        and thats a decent piece…
        anything can happen…
        its up to boston and orlando to reach the finals…
        not miami…not chicago…
        chicago has formed a really decent team…i know everyone thinks they are just leftover utah pieces…
        but they r good pieces..however i think 2 undersized front court gives u no D and thats vital for Thibbs scheme…if boozer cant play D….wats the point if he gives u 20-10 then gives up 25 to the opposing big man…very overrated up to this point…

    • Ceejay_B says:

      Well to be honest that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. HOW can you devalue that player? 97% of GM’s voted he was the best center in the game, that’s right that means only ONE GM didn’t think so. This is cause he does SO MUCH for the team: a solid core defence (by far the best in the league) which helps all his team mates defend the perimeter. A pretty solid inside game, despite many critizing his low post shot, which as a result collapses the defence. Surround someone like that with the quality 3 point shooters Orlando have? Basic championship team. That annoyed me so much.

  53. Dean Nelson says:

    MAgic gonna win it all this year. You watch!

  54. NickAnderson25 says:

    All talks about Heat, Celtics and LA. So far i didn`t seen anything special from them. Magic had nice games from bench players and all games were played good in defence. They looked like in midseason shape and i hope that they can continue such consistency level.

    • Marc Gonzalez says:

      well my friend, they look like that because their playing like its a game in the middle of the season. the Lakers are taking it easy; Miami’s taking it easy, Bostons taking it easy letting some of those young guys show what they got. There’s no doubt in my mind that Orlando’s gonna be in t he top 3 of the East. Possibly #2, BUT… The idea is to be better than all the 29 other teams, not 27 of em. Very good squad, but thats where it ends with. Overpaying Rashard Lewis AND Vince Carter. I love you both but if you all REALLY wanted to win you would have reconstructed your contracts and had the money to get another piece to the puzzle

      • Ceejay_B says:

        You sure they ain’t playing hard? What does it matter anyway, Wade is already injured. Also for all those Miami chatterers, i think this is going to be a recurring theme for both miami and chicago, as well as possibly Boston. Orlando? Well Dwight has missed about 3 games in his career, despite being hacked all his life. Lewis won’t be suspended, and Jameer is the only iffy one, but looks good. I’m still believing in Orlando.

      • bigmikesondrugs says:

        not one of the magic starters have played over 25 minutes, so how could they possibly be playing like its the middle of the season?

  55. Observer says:

    Using a little more common sense. The Magic have proven themselves, the heat have not. Sekou even thou you want to essentially say watch out for the magic you really don’t and on top of that you put a negative spin on a team that has done nothing but win my friend. Somebody said that the Magic will finish behind Chicago, get a grip my friend you need to watch more basketball. Why do folks believe in stuff they have never seen but only heard from others. I don’t know if the MAgic can win it all but I DO KNOW they have one hek of a team. Way better than alot of folks realize.

  56. LA AC says:

    The Magic are still a formidable team, especially if their offensive chemistry improves and Dwight Howard develops a consistent low-post game. However, at this point, his minimal work with Olajuwon over the summer has not been proven to produce results, and more weightlifting will not give him that touch around the basket, nor the jump hook and fadeaway he needs to become a viable offensive option in the playoffs. Without that option, and without a drive-and-dish playmaker like Turkoglu (Nelson has not proven he can create in the playoffs), they are still #3 in the East.
    Please don’t give me that Bulls junk. Boozer is overrated; when it matters, fourth-quarter, fadeaway jumpers from 15-18 don’t cut the mustard, and neither does a shooting guard playing the point. I don’t care how many shooters you have if the point guard doesn’t know how to distribute.

  57. Jake says:

    Boston’s running out a gas. Chicago has inherited the Boozer curse, and the Heat are definitely outmatched at the PG and C positions against Orland. Plus, all it takes is an injury to D-Wade, Bosh or Lebron and the Heat are out of the championship picture.

    • MagicMike says:

      Not sure about the Celtics… They are getting older but they have supprised before… The Bulls are just flat out over-rated. The Celtics, Magic, and maybe the Heat (Still haven’t seen them play together except for like 30 sec) will run circles around them. The Magic definately out match the heat at the point guard and, obviously, the center position. Bosh, IMO, is also highly over-rated and will be only a small edge if any over the Magic… Plus we have depth at that position for days. At every position really… Magic will be in it at the end. Count on it!!

      • Marc Gonzalez says:

        hahahahah Only a citizen of orlando would think their going to win the eastern conference. Im sorry man but its just not going to happen. If Dwight Howard developed an offensive game and learned how to shoot than not many would disagree with you buddy. The 90’s had Hakeem the Dream, The Admiral, Patrick Ewing, Shaq. All guys that could score at will whenever their teem needed them to. Though Dwight Howard has hops and is explosive he’s not at that elite level. Offensively. L.A, Boston, OKC, Miami all have that superstar that’s a go to guy at the end of the game. Orlando STILL lacks that go to guy offensively. As you Orlando fans have learned Vince Carter diappears in the playoffs.

    • Jack says:

      dont be stupid. miami will need at least two of their big three to suffer sevre injuries for it to throw their season off track. remember D-wade carried miami by himself the last couple of years, particularly last year. say lebron goes down for the season god forbid, d-wade has bosh, haslem, miller, chalmers and so on to work with so how is that worse than last year, they may not be automatic eastern champions should they loose one of their big three but they will be there at the end

  58. bigmike902 says:

    of coarse u cant count out the magic . they are still going to be a top 4 seed in the east. but im am figuring they will end up being the 4th seed behind miami, boston and chicago. as long as howard stays healthy for the magic they are going to be a beast in the east. i would really like to see the magic make a big deal to trade VCarter and another player and pick to denver for melo. u put melo and D12 together that’d be a deadly combo.

    • tas says:

      why would denver want and old vince carter? ;)

      • Bob says:

        17m expiring contract and Anthony wants to leave.

        I’d prefer the Magic use Carter’s contract and maybe Jameer to land Paul, though.

      • El Gambe says:

        Salary relief you ignorant dumb ass !!!!! Vince is on the last year of an expiring contract, therefore he is extremely valuable right now to a lot of teams including a rebuilding team like Denver

    • hardy says:

      no one in their right mind is going to trade for vince carter and the bulls are over rated. they simply added a chunck of the old Utah team to their roster (Boozer, Brewer, and that shooter with no defense). the top three teams in the east this year will be orlando, Boston, and Miami depending upon which teams have the least injury issues this year.

      • Evan says:

        Magic are being seriously overlooked this year, but I do not think they are a championship team until they can add an established shooter with a good mid range game. All of there shooters are deadly, but only when it comes to catch and shoot. Also I think Nelson is in over his head, he suprised a lot of teams last year after ending the previous season with an injury, he wont be as big of a suprise this year, teams are ready for him. I am a Magic fan, but I think they got lucky 2 years ago playing a distracted Lebron, and an injured Boston team. Last year they had a shot, but they coasted through the first two rounds, and got complaicent by the time they had to go against an awakened Boston team. They need to make a strong upgrade this season if they want to hold on to Howard, and their shot at a championship.

        Chicago will be a pretty good team this year, but a top 3? Not gonna happen they were a .500 team the last two seasons. They did upgrade with Boozer, Korver, and Brewer, but with Boozer injured for the first 2-3 months I do not think this is their year. I would bet on a good season 45 -50 wins with a second round playoff exit.

    • bigmikesondrugs says:

      Behind chicago? lay off the drugs…