Orlando Magic Fall Short in NBA Finals, But Are Set for Long Run

Brandon Ribak@reebokforthreeSenior Writer IJune 16, 2009

It has been a few days since the Magic were defeated by the hardworking Los Angeles Lakers, and you know what, you gotta give Kobe and co. some credit, because they played nothing short of spectacular throughout the entire series.

They played like champions, but, more importantly, they acted like themselves, and that kind of caliber is exactly what wins NBA titles.

As a Magic fan, you have to be tremendously proud of what your team had accomplished throughout the entire year.

Before the '08-09 NBA season even took liftoff, Orlando was not even projected to end the season within the top four seeds in the Eastern Conference.

Despite professional predictions and personal preferences, the Magic excelled and continued to all year long.

They ended the season one game short of 60 victories, ranking third best in the East and fourth best overall.

Dwight Howard finished off the year winning the Defensive Player of the Year Award and rightfully so, averaging a freakish 20.6 PPG, 13.8 RPG, and 2.9 BPG, leading the league in both rebounds and blocks per game.

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Once the regular season was complete, the Magic advanced to the first round of the playoffs, facing up against the Philadelphia 76ers. After winning in six games, many believed that the Magic truly did not have what it took to win the NBA Title.

Advancing to the second round of the playoffs, Orlando matched up against the defending champion Boston Celtics.

All over ESPN, NBA analysts gave their predictions of the series, and the majority chose the Boston Celtics.

Subsequently, the Magic defied the outrageous NBA history odds, winning the entire series after being down two games to three and heading into Boston for Game Seven (the Celtics had a 32-0 record when holding the series lead 3-2).

Orlando had not made it past the second round of the playoffs since 1996, and even though they had just beaten the defending champs, they still had an extremely tough task ahead of themselves.

During the Eastern Conference Finals, the Magic played against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Literally every ESPN analyst predicted the Cavaliers to win this series (Why didn't anybody show the Magic any love?).

After only five games, the Magic had officially shocked the NBA world, advancing past the incredible LeBron James and heading to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1995.

Through thick and thin, regardless of how many points this team went down by, and despite practically the entire world not giving Orlando any chance throughout the entire playoffs, the Magic went onto the court each and every night and did what they love to do.

Each and every player played their role to perfection and they did it with passion, overall succeeding and surpassing millions of peoples' opinions.

Hopefully, fans will now realize the Magic are legit.

We all know how the Finals went down, so let's congratulate the Magic for a historic season and hope the best for next year!

'09-'10 Preview

First thing first, Hedo Turkoglu will be re-signed for whatever money he wants.

Turkoglu is the go-to-guy for the team, and without him, the Magic could never be what they were last season.

If Orlando can give him a four-year contract, they will have Turk, Lewis, Howard, and Nelson all set in stone until at least the '12-'13 NBA season.

That would give the Magic a consistent opportunity to compete for the NBA title for years to come, especially with D-Howard, C-Lee, and J-Nelson still emerging into their true NBA form.

Point guard Jameer Nelson will be back to 100 percent, full strength, and ready to drop the numbers that he did during the first half of last season, while Courtney Lee will see a big increase in numbers, highly due to the outstanding amount of experience he learned during his rookie campaign.

Lee defended players like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen, and other superstars throughout the entire season, and just doing so will definitely improve his overall game heading into next year.

More likely than not, Marcin Gortat will not be on the Magic's roster next season. Gortat had an excellent playoff run, and you can bet he wants a pretty hefty contract since he is now a free agent.

The Magic will need to sign a true power-forward that can come into the game and strictly grab boards and defend on defense.

If they can get a big man like that, it will help the team immensely while Howard is sitting on the bench.

I expect Shard and Turk to have another stellar season, as I believe both are in the midst of their NBA prime.

Season Predictions

65-17 (first in Eastern Conference)

GM Otis Smith said before the start of last season,

"There is nothing wrong with raising the bar. Organizations and companies that have success raise the bar. If you expect a C that’s generally what you are going to get. You will get C-work. But if you expect an A, then we are going to die trying to get there.”

Let's raise the bar again next season. Go Magic!

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