MMPG: Team of the Week

Orlando Magic

I'll put the team on my back this week, Dwight. (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)

Yes, the Boston Celtics are incredibly flammable right now, a comet that is scorching everything in its path. But no other teams will get recognized if they occupy this spot each week. Which leads us to Orlando, where the Magic is quietly having a great season in the shadow of the Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers. You might not know or even care which team has the NBA's fourth-best record, but it's the Magic.

Orlando has won four in a row, including three wins last week against Golden State, San Antonio and the Lakers. And, after those wins against the Spurs and Lakers, the Magic (21-6) cannot be ignored much longer -- especially when Orlando was able to win without the usually monstrous performances from all-star center Dwight Howard, who averaged just 16 points and 12.5 rebounds in two games against San Antonio and the Lakers. Howard missed Orlando's 109-98 win at Golden State with a left knee injury, which put the pressure to carry the team on the shoulders of its smallest player, point guard Jameer Nelson.

Nelson scored a career-high tying 32 points in the win, but he saved his best performances for later in the week. He scored 24 points in a 90-78 victoy against the Spurs, then had 27 in a 106-103 win over the Lakers. Howard's injury, which forced him to miss two games, may have long-term benefits for the Magic, since it taught the team that it doesn't need Superman to save the day all the time.

By Michael Lee |  December 22, 2008; 9:29 AM ET MMPG: Week 8
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please discontinue MMPG.


Posted by: prescrunk | December 22, 2008 9:54 AM

Most of my Wiztix are up for sale on StubHub and I'm starting to scout college ball and Europe for prospects other than Ricky R.
BTH's cast comes off today and Gil is shooting around, but the lottery pick seems safe, especially since Young and Blatche keep making the same rookie mistakes over and over.
Very relaxing around here...none of the competitive tensions of a possible playoff team or surprise coaching changes.
Happy Holidays!

Posted by: joe2chase | December 22, 2008 10:13 AM

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