As the Orlando Magic head into their Sunday night match-up with the Dallas Mavericks, few can know what to expect. Orlando is in the midst of losing 12 of its last 14 games, but have been competitive against the league’s best and uncharacteristically bad against the league’s worst.
The Magic had lost 10 in a row prior to last Sunday when Orlando erased a pair of 13-point deficits to defeat a Los Angeles Clippers that at the time was tied for the best record in the NBA. The ship appeared to be righted. Orlando had forward and second-leading scorer Glen Davis back from injury back from injury as well as key reserve guard E’Twaun Moore.
Orlando followed up their come-from-behind emotion win against the Clippers with a 29-point road loss against the lowly Washington Wizards. Two nights later, the Magic put forward a dominating performance against the Eastern Conference’s third best team, the Indiana Pacers with a 97-86 victory in Orlando’s return home from four-game road trip.
Most recently, the Magic fell at home to the Charlotte Bobcats 106-100. Over the last 14 games, the Orlando Magic have been without a doubt a mystery. The Magic not only beat a NBA Finals contender in the Clippers, but the Magic also took the defending champion Miami Heat and what was at the time a red-hot Portland Trail Blazers team to overtime.
The Magic have a two-point loss to the Chicago Bulls, who are 23-16 and a three-point loss on the road to a Denver Nuggets team that is competing in the Western Conference. The Magic even led after three quarters against the New York Knicks, who possess the second best record in the Eastern Conference.
The Magic have a pair of wins over contenders during this stretch. Over the last 14 games however, the Magic have two losses to the Washington Wizards, who have a total of eight wins on the season. Orlando has accounted for a quarter of Washington’s total wins this season including a 29-point beat-down on Monday night.
Orlando has also accounted for three of the Toronto Raptors’ 14 wins this season. Two have come during this recent slide including a 123-88 loss at home on December 29th, Orlando’s largest margin of defeat this season. Last place teams like the Bobcats and New Orleans Hornets have also defeated the Magic over Orlando’s last 14 games, both at the Amway Center.
Six of Orlando’s 12 losses over the recent stretch have come by four points or less. The Magic have proven that on a given night, they can go toe-to-toe with some of the better teams in the NBA. Orlando has also proven that on a given night that it can be just as bad as some of the seemingly inferior competition.
Following Sunday’s game with Dallas, the Magic’s next three games will feature two against the Detroit Pistons and one against the Toronto Raptors who are 3-0 against the Magic this season. While it seems like a short stretch that could be favorable for the Magic, one thing seems for sure: Orlando won’t make it easy.
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