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News » Orlando Magic Getting Inside 2008-05-29

Orlando Magic Getting Inside 2008-05-29

Orlando Magic Getting Inside 2008-05-29
The Magic are a team on the climb, but a good season sure had an unhappy ending.

For the second consecutive year, the Magic ended the season with a playoff loss to the Detroit Pistons, leaving a bitter taste in their mouths after showing considerable improvement.

They reached the second round of the playoffs for just the first time in 12 years. They won 52 games, the most since the 1995-96 season. Yet in three of their four losses to the Pistons, they blew opportunities to win.

The year before, they were just blown away. They have closed the gap with the Eastern Conference power. They just haven't eliminated it all yet.

The Magic didn't feel like they lost to a better team. They just lost to a more experienced team, learning a number of lessons along the way.

Their hope is that All-Star center Dwight Howard can develop a more versatile offensive game. When the Pistons took away his power moves, he had nowhere to turn. A nice little jumper could have solved the problem.

By next season, they want to add another power player, someone who can help Howard on the boards. Whenever Howard went to block a shot, it left them vulnerable to offensive rebounds by the Pistons. They need another rebounder.

They also expect to redo their backcourt, finding a shooting guard who is more reliable defensively after getting torched by Richard Hamilton in the last two playoff games. They need one who can make a mid-range jump shot.

Since they committed a long-term contract last summer to Jameer Nelson, he is likely to remain their point guard, but they better find a bigger one who can help them defensively with the guards Nelson can't handle.

SEASON HIGHLIGHT: Dwight Howard emerged as the league's next great center, setting a foundation from which they can build. He had 10 games of at least 30 points and 15 rebounds. The emergence of Hedo Turkoglu was surprising. He went from a career as a role player to a reliable, late-game go-to-guy.

TURNING POINT: Everything was going so well, an outstanding regular season and a stomping of the Toronto Raptors in the first round. Once the series with Detroit began, it all turned sour pretty quickly. The Pistons were too experienced and too tough for the free-flowing Magic with all their three-point shooters. The Magic lived and died with the three-pointer all season long, but it didn't work in the playoffs against the Pistons.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 29, 2008


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