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Via Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:
City officials and Orlando Magic employees have spent weeks making sure that Amway Center will be ready for its first NBA regular-season game this Thursday.
But even after countless dry runs and four preseason exhibitions, no one can definitively answer a fundamental question: Just how loud will the new arena be when the Magic play a game that counts? [...]
Magic President of Basketball Operations Otis Smith hopes that fans already have found reliable driving routes to the arena and explored the new building during the preseason. Smith wants fans to be in their seats just before tipoff of regular-season games.
Magic players expect no problems in the building, which holds 18,846 people for basketball.
The Magic sold-out their last 76 regular-season and postseason home games. The team also has sold more than 14,000 season tickets, a franchise record.
“Just being around town you can feel the energy,” forward Rashard Lewis said. “A lot of the fans stop you and tell you, ‘Good luck.’ They love the arena. The fans are just as excited as we are.
“I can see it in their eyes.”
If you’re a fan of the NBA, you probably witnessed the Boston Celtics’ victory against the Miami Heat last night. No, it wasn’t a pretty display of basketball and there will be many cynics that will ride the wave of “overrated” chants that were audible at the end of the evening and directed towards the Heat. But it’s one game. Even though the Celtics flexed their muscles in impressive fashion, there’s another elite team in the league that’s ready to do a little flexing of their own.
That team, of course, is the Orlando Magic.
Tomorrow, the Magic will face off against the Washington Wizards in their regular season home opener at the Amway Center. That much is known. And although the preseason showed a glimpse of how good Orlando can be, it’s not something that people haven’t seen before. The Magic have been there and done that. No, this season brings a lot of question marks.
Will Dwight Howard fully evolve into a dominating two-way player?
Can Jameer Nelson or Vince Carter be the go-to perimeter scorer on the team?
How involved will Rashard Lewis be in the offense this season?
There’s many more questions that can and will be asked as the year progresses but when it comes down to it, the spotlight for Orlando is going to be directed towards the four All-Stars on the roster. Yes, the spotlight will be much brighter on someone like Howard than, say, Lewis but their roles carry significance. Howard, Nelson, Carter, and Lewis will have to answer the call in different ways.
That’s how it was last year. That’s how it’ll be this year.
Will the end result be different?
Tomorrow, it’s the Magic’s turn to start finding those answers for themselves.