Despite being down 2-0 to Boston in their Eastern Conference Final series, the Orlando Magic are still very much alive. Game two was a close one and a solid improvement from the poor play of game one. One thing is for sure, the Magic aren't going to go down without a fight.
They have the skill, they have the determination, and they have the depth to pull off a comeback in this series, and no one should count them out.
Raptors fans such as myself know the pain that Orlando felt when shooting guard Vince Carter missed BOTH free throws with less than a minute on the clock, late in the fourth quarter. Carter's inability to step it up in the clutch is one of the main reasons the Magic didn't pick up the W.
Orlando was with the Celtics all game: in the paint, on outside shooting, and they kept it close throughout. However, when the game was on the line, Carter couldn't finish. Wow, that sounds familiar.
So, VC screwed up. The Magic aren't going to cry about it, and neither should their fans. I can still hate on Carter about his terrible departure from Toronto, but Orlando as a team cannot be blamed for nervous, late-game foul shooting. They were in the game from start to finish, and that's what is important.
The Magic are still very much in this series.
They lost game one by four points and game two by three, numbers that hardly reflect them not being able to come back in the series. Orlando knows they can beat Boston, as they have before, and come Saturday, things might be very different for the two teams.
They have been doubted all along: playing bad teams in the playoffs, no talent beyond Howard and Nelson...and so on. The fact of the matter is, that the Magic are doing a hell of a lot better against the Celtics than the original Eastern favorites, the Cavs.
When Cleveland was up 2-1 on the Celtics in the second round, everyone had written Boston off. Then the Celtics came back to win the next three games by an average score of 17 points.
Cleveland was thought to be the number one team in the East to make it all the way, and they just couldn't cut it. Orlando, on the other hand, is playing toe to toe with the Celtics and keeping it close. Being down 2-0 could be an insurmountable feat for some teams but not the Magic.
Look for Orlando to come out strong in game three and not let this one get away from them. The Magic are for real, whether you believe in them or not.