By Josh Cohen
November 25, 2012

In Cohen Courtside, Josh Cohen examines the state of the Orlando Magic after games this season. He will tackle sidebar storylines and focus on topics that stretch far beyond the box score. There will also be some analysis on league-wide subjects.

ORLANDO -- Thrilling but devastating.

Impressive on one hand, maddening on the other hand.

Spirited yet exhausting.

Emotions are running through Magic fans’ minds like a rollercoaster with all sorts of terrifying yet exhilarating drops and loops.

The glass half full people are spreading the word that this Magic group – despite minus a justifiable star – proved again the eternal heart and hustle they pour out on the court.

The glass half empty souls are bickering that teams like the Boston Celtics are championship-worthy for defined reasons. They have perennial All-Stars and a plethora of experience to close out such stirring contests. And Orlando isn’t equipped to surpass them yet.

It’s a redundant memorandum, but it must be repeated after Sunday’s OT thriller.

The Magic’s intent this season is to be competitive every night as they develop their young talent, mold their veterans into rightful leaders and explore the surplus of options they will have over the next couple of years.

Sunday against Boston verified the ambitions we have of the Magic this season. They never surrendered despite it being clear the Celtics are stacked. They never let the pressure of a back-and-forth heart-racing game interfere with their purpose.

Those are good signs. There are a handful of teams around the league right now that wouldn’t have battled continually to challenge the C’s until the final buzzer.

But enough sentiment for now. Let’s chat about what Orlando eventually aspires to be.

There was a time not long ago that the Celtics were in the midst of a renovation. In fact, it was just five years ago.

Like Orlando, Boston endured a rebuilding campaign. It was developing a glut of young talent such as Rajon Rondo. It was preparing to utilize financial flexibility and other retooling options to reestablish excellence in Beantown.

Things seemed rather dark in Boston.

But then suddenly out of the blue, the C’s struck gold.

In a matter of about three months, Boston went from the gutter (second worst record in 2006-07) to being an instant title contender.

And to make the entire process worthwhile, the Celtics captured the championship the very next season.

Boston saw an opening and took full advantage of it. It acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in two separate deals in the summer of 2007, convinced Paul Pierce the talent was present to chase a championship and the progression of Rondo sealed the deal.

Bear in mind, however, that what the Celtics accomplished isn’t the only method to pursue titles. San Antonio and Oklahoma City, for instance, will try to persuade to you that the draft is where all the gold is buried. Miami, meanwhile, will smile proudly when the term “free agency” is mentioned.

It’s all a matter of taste and philosophy.

For now, we need to applaud the incessant effort in Orlando. The Magic are giving it 100 percent every night. That’s what you want for a rebuilding team to do.

But as this young and gritty squad continues to improve and develop, it’s also important to give a quick stare at some adversaries like the Celtics to realize what we all want the Magic to be is not that far away.

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