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Orlando Magic clinch the East's 2nd seed

Apr 7, 2010, 12:25 PM EDT

The Atlanta Hawks (sans Joe Johnson and Mike Bibby) dropped a game to the Charlotte Bobcats last night, which locked in the Orlando Magic as no. 2 seed in the East. It’s not exactly an unexpected development; the Magic are at least the Eastern Conference’s second best team, and with the way Orlando has played over the last two months, this moment seemed like an inevitability.

It seems increasingly likely that the Magic will match up with the aforementioned Bobcats in the first round, but even more important is Orlando dodging Cleveland until the Conference Finals. Don’t get me wrong, the Magic stand just as good a chance as waltzing into the Finals as the Cavs do, but if they can preoccupy themselves with the Hawks or the Celtics and put off the collision with LeBron and co. until the ECF? I don’t think Orlando would mind. Not one bit.

The West may be fireworks from the start, but in the East the big payoff may not come until those two ridiculously talented teams meet. The Magic locking up the 2nd seed brings us one step closer to that reality.

  1. khandor - Apr 7, 2010 at 2:52 PM

    Those who are simply conceding this year’s NBA title to Cleveland, as the team with the best overall regular season w-l record in the entire league, are being wholly premature … when, in reality, the Cavaliers might not even be the best team in the Eastern Conference, if/when all the players for each team are healthy.
    If the playoffs were to start today, Orlando SHOULD actually be listed as the betting favourite to represent the East in this year’s NBA Finals.

  2. khandor - Apr 7, 2010 at 3:11 PM

    re: the big payoff in the East
    It would be a serious mistake for either Cleveland or Orlando to under-estimate the abilities of Boston, Atlanta, Miami or Charlotte, should they happen to meet in the 2nd Round of this year’s playoffs.
    The Celtics’ overall level of experience, the Hawks’ and the Bobcats’ overall level of NBA talent, and the Heat’s overall level of team cohesiveness, assembled around their transcendent superstar and the Bobcats … makes each of these 2nd Tier opponents a very “live dog” against either Cleveland or Orlando, in a Best-4-of-7 series.
    If Bogut/Milwaukee and Bosh/Toronto hadn’t both sustained recent injuries, each of the 4 series match-ups in the East had the potential to be highly entertaining and [perhaps, surprisingly?] competitive.

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