The Orlando Magic have now lost five of their last six games and have been held under 70 points in three of those losses. After a loss to the New Orleans Hornets Friday, Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy thought this was the worst stretch of games since he’s been coach of the Magic. After losses to the Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers, it’s only gotten worse.
“It’s a bad stretch for us,” point guard Chris Duhon told reporters. “Probably for most of us, the worst one of our careers.”
It’s not just that the Magic are losing games – it’s the way they’re doing it. It started last Monday in Boston when the Magic set records for futility – they scored just 56 points on 24.6% shooting – both franchise-lows. They followed it up with a perhaps surprisingly easy win over the Pacers in Indiana. Thursday, the Magic set out for revenge when they hosted the Celtics and it looked like they were going to get it as they built a 27-point first half lead. That lead quickly disappeared as the Celtics rallied for a 91-83 win. The Magic then played one of the league’s worst teams, the New Orleans Hornets, Friday and were blown out 93-67. They followed that up with a 106-85 home loss to the Pacers Sunday and 74-69 loss in Philadelphia against the 76ers Monday night.
“It’s been a miserable week overall,” Magic guard J.J. Redick said.
The Magic have been one of the elite teams in the league since Van Gundy arrived on the scene. Many analysts wrote the Magic off after a first round playoff exit last season, but the Magic began to silence many of those critics with an 11-4 start. Now that the Magic are just 12-9, the critics are returning and the talk surrounding Dwight Howard’s situation has been turned up.
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(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider (http://ESPNFlorida.com) and is the co-host of the ESPNFlorida.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him onTwitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here)