Cohen Answers Popular Questions

By Josh Cohen
April 1, 2011

I have kept track of some of the more popular questions that Orlando Magic fans have at this point of the season and decided to provide my answers and analysis to a few of the more striking curiosities.

QUESTION: Do you think it is a foregone conclusion that the anticipated top four seeds in each conference will advance to the conference semifinals?

ANSWER: If I had to make a prediction right now, I would say that seven of the eight anticipated top four seeds would advance.

Especially after recent disappointments in the opening round, the Dallas Mavericks are not automatic to win a series. Considering the fact that they may have to play against the Portland Trail Blazers, who probably would be a higher seed if they had Gerald Wallace the entire season, the Mavs may be ousted again in the First Round.

If Dallas avoids Portland, on the other hand, and squares off against either Denver or New Orleans, than I do presume it would advance.

Moreover, I expect the Bulls, Celtics, Heat and Magic to be the Final Four of the East and the Spurs, Lakers and Thunder to advance in the West.

Although, if the Heat clash with the Knicks in the opening round, I think there is still a possibility New York pulls off a monumental upset.

Josh Cohen
QUESTION: Assuming the Magic advance past the First Round, who do you think they best match up with in the conference semifinals?

ANSWER: I think just about every Magic fan hopes the Chicago Bulls secure the No. 1 seed, which would then set up a likely Orlando-Chicago series in the second round.

I talked briefly about this on a recent webcast here on, but to restate my thoughts I think the Bulls’ lack of postseason experience and the fact that compared to the Celtics and Heat, Chicago just simply doesn't have as much talent are two primary reasons why it would be most beneficial for the Magic to clash with the Bulls.

I recognize how extraordinary Derrick Rose has been this season and I think the signing of Carlos Boozer – in spite of him dealing with injuries throughout the year – was one of the more intelligent acquisitions this past summer.

I also think Chicago’s front office made an astute decision to withstand temptations to trade Joakim Noah in a Carmelo Anthony proposed deal.

But ultimately when you examine the rosters and analyze the assortment of facts, the Bulls don’t seem to have the makeup of a club that would advance far into the playoffs. They have a first year head coach, they lack supreme quality at the shooting guard position and they don’t have enough size to contend with Dwight Howard for an entire seven game series.

On the other hand, the Bulls have proven all year to be a tenacious defensive unit and in their past meetings with the Magic, have denied Orlando from having outstanding shooting performances from 3-point distance.

I am sure, however, that Stan Van Gundy would feel a greater sense of confidence to avoid the Celtics or Heat until the conference finals. By allowing Boston and Miami to play each other in the conference semifinals, it’s possible that the winner of that series may be burned out by the time the conference finals roll around.

QUESTION: How much concern should there be about the different injuries that are plaguing the Magic?

ANSWER: Any time it is April and a team is dealing with an assortment of injury issues, there should be some concern.

However, I think we should all trust the Magic’s training staff and coaches to appropriately have their players ready to be at full strength by the start of the playoffs.

J.J. Redick’s abdominal strain has become a more significant problem than anyone originally expected, but I still believe he will be back at some point prior to the postseason.

More of an issue, perhaps, is the pain that Gilbert Arenas continues to persistently feel in his left knee. Since joining the Magic in December, Arenas has struggled mightily and his recession makes it difficult for Orlando to plan ahead.

Though it had been a few years since he was one of the most electrifying scorers in the league and a perennial All-Star, some felt that Gil’s confidence would be soaring after leaving Washington and joining a championship contender.

Arenas plans to spend a good portion of this upcoming summer working out with renowned trainer Tim Grover in an attempt to strengthen his left leg. As a result, I think to be optimistic about Arenas’ contributions, Magic fans should view the Tampa Bay native as an upgrade for next season after he has an entire summer to regain his abilities.

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Do you think the top four seeds in each conference will all advance to the conference semifinals?
Do you think the top four seeds in each conference will all advance to the conference semifinals?
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Should the Magic advance to the conference semifinals, who do you prefer they play in that round?
Should the Magic advance to the conference semifinals, who do you prefer they play in that round?
Latest Opinions