After intense comment battles between myself and other Bleacher Creatures throughout the entire playoffs, I have remained strong right beside my team. Even though it has taken weeks for me to convince others that the Magic are legit contenders at winning the championship, it really seems like some of you guys are finally starting to realize it.
I pleaded my case and in the end, Orlando won.
Once the Magic beat Boston in the second round, writers that I have never seen on the site before began commenting and bashing the Magic, stating that Cleveland would whoop them and possibly sweep them in four games.
But now that the series is in Orlando's hands, three games to one, I just want to say that it feels amazing to be a fan of the Magic. Despite what anybody has said or still says, the Orlando Magic are really that good.
Why, might you ask, are they that good?
The Magic live and die off of the three-point shot
In the series, Orlando has shot an unbelievable 42 percent from beyond the three-point arc, draining 42 trey balls on 98 attempts.
It is undeniable that Orlando can literally win a championship off of simply hitting the three-point shot.
With shooters surrounding Dwight Howard, the Magic are an extremely scary and deadly team to face up against in the playoffs.
The impact of Dwight Howard
Believe it or not, but Howard truly deserved to be the Defensive Player of the Year. D-Howard does one thing on the court that does not show up in the stat book, but it is locked inside every opposing player's head each and every time they attack the rim: Superman alters shots.
As long as you're in the paint, he is going to either deflect the shot, or distract you to the point that you are clearly no longer focused on hitting the shot but instead wishing for a foul call.
To go along with Howard's remarkable defense, he is an absolute beast on the boards and on the offensive end. He is averaging a ridiculous 22.8 PPG, 13.5 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.2 BPG, shooting 61.5 percent from the field, and 71.1 percent from the charity stripe.
The dude is virtually unstoppable!
The one-two punch forward combo
Three words for you, Shard and Turk.
Both standing 6'10" and weighing around 220 plus, these two extremely versatile forwards have the rare ability to rain threes from anywhere on the court and attack the basket for a quick bucket as well.
In the series thus far, Lewis is dropping 19.3 PPG, 4.8 RPG, shooting 55.6 percent from the field, and is lights-out from beyond the three-point line (57.9 percent). He hit the game-winning shot in Game One of the series and drained a clutch three-pointer to give Orlando the two-point lead with only four seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of Game Four. Shard has been no short of spectacular for Orlando so far.
Turk is Orlando's go-to-guy during the ending moments of any basketball game. It seems like many doubt his ability to close out games, but it has been absolutely no surprise that Turkoglu continues to knock down big shots for Orlando. He is averaging 16.0 PPG, 8.3 APG, 6.3 RPG, shooting 41.5 percent from downtown and 87.5 percent from the charity stripe.
This former Most Improved Player of the Year truly has what it takes to win a championship and ultimately become the MVP of any series that he plays in.
The Bench that does it all
Let's start with the point guard position.
Anthony Johnson is a 12-year veteran that comes off of the bench and gives it his all during each and every game. AJ, a.k.a "No neck Johnson," is a player that does the little things that go unnoticed on the court and really makes his team better when he is out there playing.
On the series, Johnson is shooting an above-average 46.2 percent from the floor. He has averaged two assists per game with only .25 turnovers per game, so his assists to turnover ratio is outstanding.
Moving onto the center position.
Marcin Gortat is a seven-foot Polish center that has had a remarkable rookie campaign thus far. During this Eastern Conference series, Gortat has averaged 3.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG, and 0.8 PPG for every 11.8 minutes he plays, not to mention he is shooting a phenomenal 87.5 percent from the field.
When Howard is on the bench, Gortat certainly picks up the slack and does nothing but produce for Orlando.
Last but not least, the shooting guard/small forward position.
Mickael Pietrus has been the X-factor in this series against the Cavaliers. He is averaging 14.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.0 BPG, shooting 48.6 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from beyond the three-point line. Pietrus has scored more points than the Cavaliers' entire bench with 56 points. He has really stepped up his production after somewhat of a disappointing season and has proven that he is the real deal.
So there you have it. Orlando is not messing around this season. Many did not believe in magic, but once they beat Cleveland, there will be no doubt that fans will start rooting for the Orlando Magic.