A look ahead to the month of January for the Magic
The month of January promises to be the Magic's toughest month yet, as they play 13 games, 9 of which will come against teams with winning records, with only 4 games against losing teams. The Magic play 7 away games, 5 of which will be against winning teams: Atlanta, San Antonio, Los Angeles Lakers, Denver, and Miami. Two away games will be against losing teams: Toronto and Sacramento. The Magic play 6 home games, 4 of which will be against winning teams: Miami, Atlanta, Boston, and Cleveland. Two home games will be against losing teams: Washington and Indiana.
From January 6th-17th, the Magic play 7 games in a 12 day stretch, including a four game trip out West. The Magic play only one back-to-back this month, but is a brutal one during their road trip as they take on the Lakers and Nuggets on successive nights. The Magic get a much-needed 4 day break from the 18th-21st after their Western swing.
Key games for the Magic include a home-and-home set against the Hawks on the 7th and 9th. The Hawks continue to play very well and are just 3 1/2 games behind the Magic with the 5th-best record in the NBA. The Hawks made the Magic look bad on opening night and traditionally give the Magic a very rough time, so we'll see how the Magic handle them now. Of course, there's the three games against the teams that have better records than the Magic... the Celtics, Cavaliers, and Lakers.
Optimistic outlook of how the Magic fare this month: 9-4
Pessimistic outlook of how the Magic might fare: 6-7
The Magic begin the month Friday night as they host the much-improved Miami Heat and superstar Dwyane Wade, who leads the league in scoring. Rookie G Mario Chalmers has been a pleasant surprise to go along with number two pick Michael Beasley.
For a complete game preview from Yahoo! Sports, click here