CHRIS BONANNO: Orlando Magic Deserving of Brevard’s Support

By  //  October 31, 2019

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The Magic were Division Champions last season and poised to have a strong 2019-2020 campaign

SPACE COAST DAILY TV: Space Coast Daily’s Chris Bonanno and Matt O’Hern report live from the Amway Center after the Orlando Magic defeated the New York Knicks.

ORLANDO – It’s time to believe in the Magic once again, Brevard.

On August 10, 2012 the Orlando Magic traded then-franchise center Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers as part of a four-team trade. While one can argue pretty easily that the Magic made out the best of any team in the deal, it unfortunately sent the franchise spiraling into a seemingly endless rebuild that saw Orlando enter miss the playoffs for six straight seasons.

And with that deal, Brevard’s interest in the Magic declined – a lot.

Suddenly, it became difficult to drive around the county and find any real evidence that there was a franchise in American sports’ second most popular league roughly an hour or so away. In truth, it at times feels as though Orlando City Soccer has far more support locally despite the fact in it’s in a far less popular league.

But things have begun to change, despite there still not being a star player anywhere near the level of Last year, a lot of the younger players the Magic have amassed via lottery picks from those losing seasons started to come together as a team and the Magic actually won the Southeast Division.

In short, this team is worth your attention, Space Coast.

The evidence that this team is a force to be reckoned with was on display on Wednesday evening as Orlando defeated the New York Knicks by a 95-83 score.

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The team is long and rangy defensively and they showed that against the Knicks as the Magic were able to suffocate New York defensively, holding them to 37.8 percent shooting in the game.

Perhaps most eye-popping statistically is that the Magic held New York shot just 7-for-31 (22.6 percent) from 3-point territory, with Orlando’s quickness and length an asset as important as any in today’s three-point shooting-happy league.

The Magic didn’t set the world on fire offensively, but they demonstrated that they have a variety of offensive weapons they can turn to. Newly re-signed 2018-2019 All-Star Nik Vucevic (who had a game high 21 points and 13 rebounds), the versatile Aaron Gordon (15 points and 11 rebounds) and the reliable Evan Fournier (14 points)

From the outside at least, the team seems to have great team chemistry as well, and that’s perhaps due to the fact they have many contributors who were either drafted by the team (Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac and Mo Bamba) or who are embracing their opportunity with Orlando after being deal (Terrence Ross, Evan Fournier, Markelle Fultz and Vucevic, the latter whom the Magic received in the Howard deal).

And did you know Bamba, the second-year, seven-foot center has a good looking three-point shot? He figures to be a problem for the NBA as he continues to develop.

It’s also impossible to watch or listen to many of the players and not want to root for them. How can you not crack a smile when watching or listening to Aaron Gordon?

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It also doesn’t hurt that Orlando is led by an outstanding head coach in the personable Steve Clifford, who turned in one of the best coaching jobs in the NBA a year ago and seems to have given the franchise some stability in the position. In particular, he’s helped instill the Magic with an identity as a hard-working, defensive-conscious team that other clubs don’t enjoy playing against.

The Magic are a quality basketball team and fun to watch.

As much of the past decade has shown, it’s best to not take that for granted. Check them out.