Saturday, November 10, 2007

Orlando Magic : Eastern Conference Contenders?

Just finished off a 4-0 road trip that included a tough game @ Toronto.

Apart from that, a relatively easy trip, and they did get smashed at home by Detroit earlier this year but all four main players on the team are under 28 or younger (Dwight, Lewis, Hedo, Nelson).

With games against Phoenix and Boston in their next five, Orlando's young starting five will be tested early at home as they look to establish an identity.

Let's face it, Orlando is a team on the cusp right now. They're a team with one of the dominant young forces in the NBA and a lot of other young guns surrounding him. I think bringing in Lewis helped a lot because they now have a sharp-shooting scorer that they can turn to late in the game when Dwight is getting smothered by the double-teams that he still has trouble shaking. The early results look good for Lewis, he's shooting above 58% from both the field and behind the 3pt line and is nailing his free throws as well, a problem that fans of the franchise are all too familiar with, dating back to the infamous Shaquille O'Neal days.

For right now, Orlando is playing with a lot of momentum and a lot of heart, winning games that are hotly contested up until the fourth quarter. We've seen some defensive lapses and some tepid offensive stretches, but every participant of the starting lineup is contributing night-in night-out (including Bogans hitting long shots and playing solid defense) and hopefully this trend continues.

One thing's for sure, Dwight Howard has arrived. I can't wait to see this guy control a post-season series for the first time.