Cohen Courtside: Wednesday vs. Pistons

By Josh Cohen
November 21, 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 -- Just bear with me as I sort through some teams and who they have beaten and lost to so far (going into Wednesday’s action):

Milwaukee (6-3):
Home Wins: Cleveland, Indiana, New Orleans
Road Wins: Boston, Washington, Philadelphia
Home Losses: Memphis, Boston
Road Losses: Charlotte

Philadelphia (7-4):
Home Wins: Denver, Utah, Cleveland, Toronto
Road Wins: Boston, New Orleans, Toronto
Home Losses: New York, Milwaukee, Detroit
Road Losses: New York

Chicago (5-5):
Home Wins: Sacramento, Orlando, Minnesota
Road Wins: Cleveland, Phoenix
Home Losses: New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Boston
Road Losses: L.A. Clippers, Portland

Charlotte (5-4):
Home Wins: Indiana, Dallas, Washington, Milwaukee
Road Wins: Minnesota
Home Losses: Phoenix, Memphis
Road Losses: Dallas, New Orleans

It’s a bit tedious, but spend a few minutes glancing over each list.

Now check out Orlando (4-7):
Home Wins: Denver, Phoenix, Detroit
Road Wins: Detroit
Home Losses: Brooklyn, New York
Road Losses, Chicago, Minnesota, Toronto, Atlanta

So what’s the point of this?

The four aforementioned teams are teams the Magic will be competing with for any of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.

The Bucks, Sixers, Bulls and Bobcats have arguably TWO statement wins COMBINED. Milwaukee’s victory at Boston and Philadelphia’s win also at Boston were impressive, but after that, every other triumph was either predictable or simply insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

Orlando’s game against Detroit was the first time this season the Magic played against an inferior Eastern Conference team at Amway Center. They beat the Nuggets and Suns at home to start the season as well – two generally substandard or average teams from the West.

It’s imperative – if the Magic hope for any chance of qualifying for the postseason – for Orlando to win practically every home game against the bottom half of the East.

That relatively lengthy list includes the four teams already discussed, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Chicago and Charlotte, and adversaries such as Indiana, Toronto, Atlanta, Cleveland, Washington and Detroit.

Only Miami, New York, Brooklyn and Boston are guarantees to make the playoffs in the East. Four slots are up for grabs.

This examination is by no means intended to imply that the Magic – as currently constructed – are built for playoff success. But, as a result of the rest of the conference being so indistinct, any team can advance this year.

So here is the hope if you are a Magic supporter and would prefer the team sneak into the playoffs rather than net a high draft pick in the lottery:

Orlando must win approximately 65 percent of its home games this season and beat practically every mediocre opponent inside their building.

If it did that, it would probably just need to win about 25-30 percent of road games. If that were to happen, the Magic would finish with between 35 and 40 victories. Just for reference, in the 2010-11 season (last season was shortened to 66 games), the Pacers were the No. 8 seed in the East playoffs with 37 wins.

So this idea that suddenly a bunch of teams have jumped the Magic in the conference may not be as authentic as what records imply.


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