Cohen Courtside: Magic vs. Bobcats (4/25/12)
By Josh Cohen
April 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 -- There is no greater emotion in the world than that of “relief.”
For the past two days following Orlando’s loss in Denver, there was some ambiguity regarding the Magic’s ultimate playoff seed.
The math was always simple. Win either of the last two games or have New York lose either of its final two and the Magic earn a trip to Indiana for the playoffs instead of Miami.
After Wednesday, we can all get comfy and sleep peacefully.
There will be no fretting the final day of the regular season.
There will be no nightmares about a clash with the almighty Heat in the First Round.
There will be no reflecting back on any disappointment after playing one of the worst teams in NBA history at home.
Instead, we can recharge and get excited about a matchup with the Pacers – an adversary the Magic beat three of four times this season.
Yes, all those meetings included Dwight Howard and no, Superman won’t be reenacting Willis Reed from the 1970 NBA Finals by making an unsuspecting appearance out of the tunnel.
But, let’s be honest, the Pacers are not the Heat. They are good, but not great.
The Magic can beat the Pacers.
It won’t be simple or uncomplicated, but Orlando can surprise some people and eliminate Indiana.
Listen, without Howard, the Magic have problems limiting opponents in the paint. It’s a solution Orlando is desperate to discover.
But, it’s been more than noticeable and proven since Howard’s injury started that the Magic are extremely multifaceted on the offensive side.
Jameer Nelson, above all others, seems even more comfortable in a system that allows him to be sovereign. There is no methodical formula like dumping the ball down low and playing inside out. Nelson is in charge and determines the result – good or bad.
It’s imperative for Glen Davis, who sprained his right ankle during Wednesday’s game, and Hedo Turkoglu, who is recovering after having surgery to repair facial fractures, to be healthy and ready for battle.
Roy Hibbert and David West will be demanding down low. Danny Granger and Paul George have the size to be daunting on the perimeter. Tyler Hansbrough and George Hill are serviceable role players off the bench.
It will be tough, but doable.
We can analyze all day what it will take for Orlando to pull off the upset. You can insinuate the prerequisite to make as many threes as possible. You can imply the importance of pushing the pace and not allow Indiana to establish its half-court defense.
All in all, the goal for now is to just get one in Indiana. If the Magic can steal one at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Game 1 or 2, Amway Center will be rocking and as electric as ever for the next two games. If it can prevail on its home floor, Orlando can quickly have momentum in the series.
What will be the outcome of the Magic's First Round series against the Pacers?
Follow Josh Cohen on Twitter here