Orlando Magic Blog

Group Blog talking about the NBA 2009 Eastern Conference Champions. Due to the amazing success of the 2009 playoff run comments are now frequently deleted to kill offensive comments, incoherence, or asininity. Comments can no longer be anonymous and require either a Blogger or OpenID account.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Possible first round playoff matchups for the Magic


With the playoffs slated to start in less than a month, here's a look at some of the possibilities the Orlando Magic face in the first round. The Magic remain firmly entrenched as the second seed in the East, and if they finish second, they will play the 7th seed, which currently is Miami, but the Heat are only 1/2 game behind Charlotte for 6th place and 1 game ahead of Toronto, which is the eighth seed.

Since the race for the final 4 seedings in the East is so close, there are 5 possible teams the Magic could play in the first round:

-5th seed Milwaukee (37-30)... Bucks are playing the best of the five teams, and are unlikely to slide down from the fifth seed; Magic are 3-0 against the Bucks
-6th seed Charlotte (35-33)... Magic are 3-1 against the Bobcats
-7th seed Miami (35-34)... Magic are 2-2 against the Heat
-8th seed Toronto (33-34)... Magic are 3-1 against the Raptors
-9th seed Chicago (31-37)... Bulls are ravaged with injuries, and have their work cut out for them to make the playoffs; Magic are 2-1 against the Bulls

Any one of those teams might win one game or even two games of a seven game playoff series against the Magic, as Philadelphia unexpectedly did last season, but ultimately the Magic being the superior team to any of those teams should allow the Magic to win a series 4-1 or 4-2 against any of those teams.

7 Comments:

  • At 5:44 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    Magic still has a chance to catch CLE since CLE has some tough games ahead. Here is a breakdown:

    - If Magic wins the game on April 11th in CLE, it would do two things for them: 1) cut the difference to 5 games; and 2) wins the tiebreak for them.
    - CLE has to play ATL twice (home and away), MIL, @BOS, @NO, @SA.
    - Additionally, CLE has to play TOR and @CHI, two teams which are jockeying for play-offs birth.
    - Granted Magic has to win all remaining games if CLE does not lose more than 5.
    - Here are the Magic home games: MIN, MEM, WAS, and PHI; all should be easy wins since with the exception of MEM all other teams are done for the season.
    - Magic's away games: @PHI, @ATL, @DAL, @SA (tough back-to-back), @IND, and @CLE (which does not count since we are assuming that Magic wins that game, or all bids are off).

    Is it possible for the Magic to catch CLE? Mathematically, yes. CLE may actually lose more than 5 games, in which case Magic could lose any number of games (depending on how many CLE loses over 5).

     
  • At 5:25 AM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Matt, you left out two home games that are also on the Magic schedule... vs Denver and versus New York. The Magic have 12 games remaining to make up the 6 game deficit to Cleveland; if the Magic can somehow win their last 12 games of the season, the Cavs would have to go 7-5 or better to finish ahead of the Magic; if the Magic win 10 of their last 12 games, the Cavs have to go 5-7 or better to finish ahead of the Magic.

    I watched most of the Cavaliers/Bulls game Friday night; the Cavs did not exactly look like world beaters against a Bulls team without Rose, Noah, and Deng; in fact, the Bulls had a 2 point lead in the fourth quarter before LeBron James decided to take the game over and lead the Cavs to victory.

     
  • At 7:28 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    Sorry for missing out on two games. Setting the CLE's game aside (since our hypothesis is based on assuming a win in that game), there are some tough games left for Magic @DAL, @SA, and with DEN. We should not forget that the game with CLE carries the weight of one full game while all other games count as 1/2 game except when combined with a loss on the other side. That is why count relies on 5 losses or more for CLE. With any loss above 5 for CLE, Magic could afford to lose one game.

    The beauty of this approach is not in the Magic catching up with CLE, which has a low probability, but rather taking all the remaining games seriously, which would serve two purposes: 1) getting used to playing focused/disciplined games as they roll into the play-offs; and 2) use the remaining games for taking the wrinkles out, especially in defending guards on the opposing teams, and getting Rashard to his peak.

    CLE has a tougher schedule than we do, as I mentioned, with ATL twice (home and away), MIL, @BOS, @NO, @SA. That is 6 games against top teams, in addition to teams which are jockeying for play-offs, like TOR and CHI. It is possible for CLE to lose 5 or more games, but the question is how many games Magic would win?

     
  • At 8:27 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    The Cavaliers have to lose at least 6 more games for the Magic to have a chance at catching them, as they have 15 losses and the Magic 21 losses.

    The Cavs' magic number to clinching the number one seed is 7; any Cleveland win or Magic loss reduces the number by one.

    Last season, the Magic didn't have anything to play for the final 2 weeks of the season as they lost 4 of their last 6 games, with all the losses coming in double digits, which led to a slow start in the playoffs against Philly.

    I agree it would help the Magic if they still had something to play for the final couple weeks this season, if not for getting the number one seed, then to hold off Atlanta and Boston for the second seed.

     
  • At 9:30 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    With Cleveland's victory over Detroit Sunday, their magic number to clinching the number one seed is now 6.

     
  • At 4:46 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    Mike:

    To keep an accurate and early track of where the two teams are, we need to look for CLE's losses and Magic's wins. The two games which I am waiting for are CLE@NO and CLE@SA on Thursday and Friday. If CLE wins both those games, the opportunity window will become a lot more narrower for the Magic.

     
  • At 5:36 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Agreed; those games will be a tough challenge for the Cavs, as Chris Paul is back for the Hornets, and they always play well at home (as the Magic found out a few weeks ago). Spurs are also playing well. It's possible the Cavaliers could lose both games.

     

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