- “Can the Orlando Magic actually make the playoffs?” That’s the headline of today’s profile on the Magic by Zach Lowe of Grantland — a must-read. Lowe lists three trends that suggest Orlando has a chance to reach the postseason. Here’s one of them: “Orlando’s own fantastic defense. The Magic, having lost Dwight Howard and a defensive mastermind coach in Stan Van Gundy, rank sixth in points allowed per possession. Each member of of last year’s top-10 overall in that category made the postseason, and 91 of 100 such teams did so in the last 10 seasons. It’s very hard to miss the playoffs with a top-10 defense. They’ve been even better since getting Nelson back, re-jiggering their rotation, and getting better minutes from Nikola Vucevic, Gustavo Ayon, and some other unheralded pieces; over their last 10 games, the Magic have given up just 95.2 points per 100 possessions, a mark that would top the league for the season.”
- Matt Dollinger of Sports Illustrated: “After winning four in a row, Orlando is just one game away from the No. 8 seed in the East. (For those scoring at home, Howard and the Lakers trail the West’s No. 8 seed by 1.5 games.) If the Magic are serious about the playoffs, they’ll need to do something to improve their offense, which ranks 29th in points per possession and just lost co-leading scorer Glen Davis for 4-6 weeks with a dislocated shoulder — another blow given that Al Harrington and Hedo Turkoglu remain out indefinitely.”
- Reactions from head coach Jacque Vaughn and J.J. Redick on Glen Davis’ injury (sprained left shoulder).
- Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Magic coach Jacque Vaughn wouldn’t reveal after Friday morning’s shootaround whom he will start for injured power forward Glen Davis, but rookie Andrew Nicholson might get the call. Shooting guard J.J. Redick sounded as if Nicholson would face the Toronto Raptors tonight, making his first pro start. No matter if he starts or not, he will need to be a factor.”