Nearing Halfway Point, the Magic are the NBA's Hottest Team

Joey CinquegranaContributor IJanuary 18, 2009

As you can see from the picture at the top, you can tell this Orlando Magic basketball team is having tons of fun. Well the Orlando Magic have played half their season after their recent win against the Denver Nuggets. They currently have a 33-8 record. 

How can you not have any fun when your team is this good?

They are virtually ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers, so they currently own the first seed in the Eastern Conference, and they're also ahead of the heavily-favored, and defending champion, Boston Celtics as well.

People always wonder if this Orlando Magic team is legit, and they keep winning, and everyone keeps putting this legit question off.

They have done amazing things recently. Swept the last NBA dynasty, San Antonio Spurs for the season series. They also swept the Los Angeles Lakers, who happen to be the favorite out of the West this season.

Remember this team started this season 0-2, losing games to a very tough divisional opponent, in the Atlanta Hawks, and a very pathetic Memphis Grizzles team.

After that loss to the Grizzles, I am sure Magic fans were thinking last year was a fluke, but with the chemistry this Magic team has, it's no wonder they have only lost six games since then.

Jameer Nelson I believe is the biggest reason this team is as good as they are. Without his production in the first half, this team wouldn't be where they are right now.

Sure Jameer Nelson isn't going to give you the numbers that Chris Paul, or Deron Williams give you, but he does what he has to do to win his team some games.

The other players playing well, like Rashard Lewis, Dwight Howard, and Hedo Turkoglu, you're getting the typical production you'd get from them.  Courtney Lee has also been great this year, since becoming the starter.

But if anyone has exceeded anyone’s expectations, it's definitely Jameer Nelson.

I personally haven't been disappointed with any players, but if I had to mention one, it'd be Mickael Pietrus, but that's not because he's playing awful, it's because he can't stay on the court with the injuries.

The defense has also been fantastic this season. Dwight Howard doing his usual on defense, and even then some with leading the league with rebounds and blocks.

A game I would consider their most memorable win this season thus far is that comeback really late in the fourth quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers.

They were down late, and the game looked pretty much out of reach, being down 108-100 with 2:20 left in the game.

Jameer Nelson got a three with 1:57 left to make it 108-103. Rashard Lewis hit a three with 29 seconds left, to make it 108-106. Portland then had a shot clock violation, and it gave Hedo Turkoglu a chance to win the game, and he connected from three to win the game 109-108.

They also swept the Spurs and Lakers as well, so those games were also very memorable. I also was a fan of the last game against the Hawks, you know the one where they were at one point leading by 50 points.

A game I think I would consider their most memorable loss would be the game against Boston. Before that game the Magic were playing very sloppy basketball, just winning games against teams they should be dominating.  They lost to the Celtics by the score of 107-88.

Since then the Magic have been 17-3, and have taken over first place in the Eastern Conference in that span. 

Another tough loss I think they had was the game against Phoenix. That was a game I really thought they should have had, but it wasn't meant to be.

During this season the Magic have had some record breaking moments as well. They just beat the Sacramento Kings the other day, and they Magic hit the most three-pointers ever in a game, with 23.

The Magic also don't seem to get much respect on ESPN either. Most notably one guy giving them problems is Avery Johnson. Even after the Magic beating the Lakers, still on that very day he still ranked the Lakers ahead of them.

This brings me to my favorite quote this season, which was said by Orlando’s head coach, Stan Van Gundy.

He said, "If you don't think we're good, that's fine."

He couldn't have said it any better than he did right there. This Orlando Magic team plays better when they're being doubted.

So on behalf of the Orlando Magic fans, keep doubting this team, and they'll keep proving you wrong.