If you're on this page, you don't need to be told. The Cleveland Cavaliers are in Orlando today to take on the Magic. It's a huge game, and ABC is giving it their full attention (unlike TNT Thursday night, which actually did a split-screen of the Cavs/Denver in OT with the tipoff of the Boston/Lakers game....really)
Today's game should have the new-look Cavaliers in full force. Mo Willams and Delonte West are now fully recovered from their injuries, and Antawn Jamison has had a full day off to practice and read the playbook. Things should go much smoother than they did in the previous two games.
But on the other side of the aisle, the Magic will be the same team that they were in our two earlier meetings (both won by Cleveland, each by 9 points). But the real question is....why are they the same team?
Orlando made no serious attempts to add to their squad at the trading deadline, seemingly content with the team they are right now.Yes, the Magic are an elite team, and they are the defending Eastern Conference Champions. But I do not believe that they are the same elite team as last year when they closed out the Celtics and Cavaliers in back-to-back series wins. Losing Hedo Turkoglu, Rafer Alston and Courtney Lee weakened Orlando, and Vince Carter does not appear to fill the gap left behind.
As the trade deadline approached, I watched patiently as the Cavaliers made their trade offers. Being the best in the league wasn't enough for Danny Ferry, and he wanted to fill any potential holes in the lineup. But why didn't Orlando? Do the Magic think that this lineup can repeat the East and overcome the Lake Show this time around?
Of course, Magic fans will tell you that they're fine the way they are, but things are different in the 2009-2010 season than they were last year.
These are the three teams the Magic are most likely to face in very late May/early June, and the difference has dramatically shifted. The only three teams with better records than the Magic, and Orlando has lost all four meetings this year so far.
If Orlando falls today against the Cavaliers, expect to hear some rumblings down south. My first thought would be "why didn't they at least TRY to make some moves before the deadline?"
At 1pm today, we'll know more.