I've been thinking about the Magic's 1-3 hole in the first round of the playoffs, and I'm finding myself surprisingly calm. If the Magic turn it around and win, it's a great comeback. If they lose in five, six or seven games, then, to me, it's a disappointment, yes, but certainly not something on the level of a disaster.
Magic fans have been spoiled the last three years with anything but first round exits in what has been arguably one of the best stretches in the franchise's history. Playoff victories over Toronto, Philadelphia, Boston, Cleveland, Charlotte and Atlanta, not to mention an Eastern Conference title are nothing to be ashamed of.
Compared to the franchise's other "era" of success ('94-'96) in which the Magic also won an Eastern Conference title and became one of only two teams to beat a Michael Jordan led Bulls team in the 90s during playoff time (not to mention four other series wins), this current stretch has been fun, though short of the ultimate goal.
Would a ring be nice? Yes. Would a second round appearance this year feel good? Of course. But if it were to end tonight (Tuesday) or in the next few nights, then I think I can live. It's an off-year, and the midseason shake-up, after an initial nine game winning streak, indicated as much.
The Magic need to retool for next year no matter what happens this year with the Hawks and/or Bulls/Pacers and onward. I'm not giving up because, even by the smallest margin of error available, the Magic are still alive. But losing in the first round to the Hawks would not be anywhere near the worst moment in Magic playoff history. Not even close.
Here are 10 moments in Magic playoff history that will live in infamy.