A Play-Offs Forecast
As the Orlando Magic is peaking towards the end of the regular season, let’s forecast potential match ups in the play-offs:
1. The four top teams in the East are established with CLE and Magic as first and second seeds while BOS and ATL fighting it out for the third and fourth spots. Magic may not be able to catch CLE while neither BOS nor ATL could catch Magic. Magic is currently 4 games ahead of both BOS and ATL, and since Magic has the tiebreaker over both of those teams, Magic has to lose 9 games while BOS and/or ATL winning all their remaining games to be able to pass the Magic for the second spot. There are 17 matches left for Magic, and in my view, the worse the Magic could do is 12-5. This means that Magic will have the home-court advantage for the first and second rounds of the play-offs.
2. The bottom four spots of the East is still between five teams; MIL, TOR, MIA, CHA and CHI. I think that either CHA or MIA would be the potential candidate to play with the Magic in the first round, but none could take more than one game from the Magic.
3. Magic will face either BOS or ATL in the second round (probably ATL because BOS is slumping, and ATL may end up as the third seed). Magic will probably win in 6 games.
4. Get ready for an East finals rematch of last year with CLE.
5. Forecasting the team coming from the West is not easy. While the world champions could never be underestimated, DAL is meshing together with the new roster. DAL probably would have a hard time in the second round with DEN, and if they come through watch out. My prediction is that Lakers would still come through. If Magic makes it to the finals, the way the team is peaking, it would be a lot different compared to last year. Magic’s front-court is deeper and stronger, and at PG Jameer is finding his all-star form, while Fisher is older and slower. In the two games played with Lakers, Magic has shown that they can match up at PF and SF positions, should have considerable edge at C and slight/moderate edge at PG. The SG edge is the only spot that goes to LA. This scenario provides for an exciting finals which, if happens to be the case, I predict that Magic will win the series in 6 games.