With the NBA schedule release for the second half of the season Orlando Magic fans now know one thing for sure: the Magic have it tough!
This period will determine if the Magic are a playoff team, joining the play-in tournament or looking at their lottery odds.
Time for us to break down what it means for our Orlando Magic.
THE SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON BEGINS – MARCH
Orlando resume after the All-Star break with two difficult road games in Miami and San Antonio on a back-to-back.
There is absolutely no let up in the March schedule with a home game versus Miami. This is followed by a flying visit to New York to take on the Knicks, returning home to play Brooklyn in the Amway on another back-to-back.
The Magic take a trip North to play Boston on the 21st.
Orlando return home for a 3 game home stand against Denver, Phoenix and Portland. The Nuggets and Suns fixtures will be Orlando’s third back-to-back in the month.
To close out the month Orlando embark on a long West Coast trip, starting out in Los Angeles to take on both the Lakers and Clippers.
As the month opens the West Coast trip continues with stops to play the Pelicans, Jazz and Denver over Easter. The final two games of that trip are on another back-to-back.
Orlando return home a four game home stand in the April schedule. It sees visits from the Wizards and Pacers, finishing on another back-to-back with the Bucks and Spurs.
Road games with the Bulls, Raptors and Hawks are punctuated by a home game with Houston.
Orlando return home for a matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans prior to the back-to-back with Indiana and the Lakers to close out this mini home stand.
April closes on the road in Cleveland and Memphis.
THE REGULAR SEASON ENDS -MAY
The May schedule opens at home to Memphis on the second night of a back-to-back with the Grizzlies.
We then play in Detroit, back to the Amway to face Boston and travel up to Charlotte to face the Hornets.
Orlando’s final home game of the regular season is on May 9th against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Our season closes out on a four game road trip taking stops in Milwaukee, Atlanta and a final back-to-back in Philadelphia.
THE CHALLENGES OF THE SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON SCHEDULE
March is pretty much playoff team after playoff team. The exceptions are the Miami Heat as defending Eastern Conference champions and Dallas who are a .500 team.
And let’s not pretend that there is any easing up as the months progress! The Orlando schedule is universally accepted as the hardest schedule remaining in the league.
Of the 36 games remaining 20 are on the road. There are 8 sets of back-to-backs, of which 5 involve travel for the second night.
WHERE DO WE END UP?
That question is impossible to answer prior to the trade deadline on March 25th. It is not beyond the realms of possibilities that there could be moves made by the Front Office which reset the franchise.
With still significant injuries to the young starting talents of Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz the team are always going to be facing hardship for the rest of the season.
Without meaningful change and as tough as this schedule is; even the most optimistic of Magic fans (I’m normally in that bracket) will be struggling to see the team featuring in the postseason picture.
KEY DATES IN THE NBA.
March 25th is the NBA’s Trade Deadline.
The regular season ends on May 16th.
The Play-In tournament is through May 18th and 21st.
From May 22nd to July 22nd the NBA Playoffs are scheduled to run.
At this point in time there is no date is set for the Draft Lottery. However the 2021 NBA Draft will now be held on Wednesday November 18th.