Steele: Nearing the End of March Madness

Sun Sports and FS Florida broadcaster David Steele is in the midst of his 22nd season of Orlando Magic basketball, and his 13th as the play-by-play announcer for the team's television broadcasts. He was named television play-by-play voice for the Orlando Magic in March of 1998 after handling radio play-by-play duties for the team's first nine seasons. Steele shares his unique take on what's happening with the Orlando Magic and more with his newest blog.

Posted by David Steele, Sunday, March 27, 2011, 10:30 AM

Nearing the End of March Madness

When the NBA schedule for the Orlando Magic came out last summer, it took just a quick scan to understand that the month of March would be a challenge for the team. 14 games, 9 of them on the road. West coast trip. At Miami early. At New York and at Atlanta late. Home games with Chicago and Portland. Then, in November, a game against the Knicks was postponed due to falling debris from the ceiling of Madison Square Garden. It was rescheduled for late March, and the month got even more difficult.

Well, here we are, near the end of the March madness, and the Magic may have taken a few lumps along the way, but all in all, have come through fairly well.

Friday night’s 95-85 win over New Jersey was a struggle. It took a supreme effort by Hedo Turkoglu to escape an embarrassing upset. Turkoglu rescued the team in the 4th quarter with steady ball handling and timely shots, recording his second consecutive double-double. The win gives Orlando a 9-4 record for the month, 6-2 at home, 3-2 on the road.

There have been road victories this month at Miami, Phoenix and New York. There have been home victories against the Knicks and the red-hot Denver Nuggets.

There have been injuries to J.J. Redick, Gilbert Arenas, and Friday night, to Quentin Richardson and Jameer Nelson.

There was a one game suspension to superstar Dwight Howard that likely cost the Magic a home court victory against Portland.

The Portland game aside, Howard continues to put the Magic on his broad shoulders. The Eastern Conference Player of the Month in February, Dwight is a strong candidate for the award again in March. His averages of 22.5 points, 16 rebounds and 3.7 blocked shots per game are MVP worthy. While other mere NBA mortals are slowing down with an assortment of typical late season injuries, Orlando’s superman seems to be gaining strength, accelerating his game towards his ultimate challenge, the post-season.

One more March road trip awaits the Magic this coming week. Another date with the Knicks at the Garden, the makeup game from November, dots Monday’s calendar. A showdown with likely first round foe, Atlanta awaits on Wednesday. Victory in both cities will not come easy.

Injuries will continue to plague the team. Redick’s abdominal strain. Nelson’s sore left knee. Ditto, Gilbert Arenas. Quentin Richardson’s back spasms may persist. But Howard will be there, anchoring the floor, on both ends. Turkoglu seems to be sensing the end of regular season finish line too. Hopefully the final two and a half weeks of the season will be time enough for the ailing to heal. The March gauntlet is almost over. April, and the playoffs, loom ahead.

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