If you want to know all about the Magic, you ought to be reading Orlando Pinstriped Post, the blog formerly known as Third Quarter Collapse, penned by Friends-of-StR Ben Q. Rock and Excellent Eddy Rivera. Even stat guru Jon Nichols pitches in! A true buffet of talent and hard work there.
The Magic smoked the Hawks before veering Westward. Prior to that win, Orlando had lost four straight ... to some bad, bad teams: at Chicago, at Indiana, at home against Toronto, at Washington. Let me rephrase that sentence, aka REMIX!!!! Prior to that win, Orlando had lost four straight ... to some bad, bad teams: at Chicago (what!), at Indiana (whatter!), at home against Toronto (whattest!), at Washington (stop lying).
But the Magic is still 25-12, with the league's No. 6 SRS rating. Outsiders have called this season a disappointment to date, and that's likely based on the lack of an additional leap skyward for phenom Dwight Howard, and an underwhelming entrance by Vince Carter. Still, 25-12, holding off the incredible Hawks ... not too shabby, in my opinion. We'll find out in April, May and perhaps even June.
Sacramento will be the least intimidating stop on the Magic's Western trip. Denver, Portland and Evil L.A. finish the jaunt. The Magic whipped the cream off the Kings last season at ARCO (I seem to have blacked out after the 89th made three ...). The teams will meet in Orlando in 10 days.
KEVIN MARTIN UPDATE
I have heard Martin will definitely not play tonight, as Paul Westphal would like for Kev to practice with the team first. Team has practices scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, before heading out on the six-game road trip. Martin has been cleared by doctors. I wouldn't be surprised if he dressed tonight, but I'd be really if he came in. (Think Tyreke's injury DNPs.) Bank on Friday at Philadelphia, though possibly off the bench.
Dwight Howard vs. Everyone. In the New Magic World Order, Howard is getting fewer touches than in any season since his 19-year-old rookie year. That's a problem for Orlando ... but a boon to the Kings, who simply have too much trouble defending the paint against the league at large, let alone such a wunderkind performer. Despite the offensive contraction, Howard still averages 10 FGAs and 10 FTAs per 36 minutes. That could be severe trouble, my friends. Hack 'em up.
Kings by 14.
7 PM tip, with the second game thread coming at 8. Post-gamer at 9:45.