Posts Tagged ‘Eagles’

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?