May 12, 2010
If there's one team that's looked completely and totally unbeatable this postseason it is the Orlando Magic, and that's only partly because they remain completely and totally unbeaten so far. After taking care of business against the pesky Charlotte Bobcats, the Magic eviscerated the Atlanta Hawks, winning all four games by a combined 101 points. Yeah, they're good.
Now that they've gotten through the first two rounds unscathed, they're starting to think they could do the unthinkable — go undefeated in the playoffs.
"When you're playing this well, you don't want to lose at all," said Vince Carter(notes). "You want teams to always have fear in their minds and think: We can't beat these guys. You never want to have a nick in your armour. When you're playing this well, why not stay flawless if you can? I'd like to go 16-0."
Why not, right? Shoot for the stars and you'll end up maybe winning an NBA championship depending on how things shake out, as the old saying goes. 'Tis better to have tried to go 16-0 and lost than never to have tried to go 16-0 at all.
Of course, as Basketball Reference tells us, the odds of the Magic getting through the playoffs undefeated are pretty poor. If the Cleveland Cavaliers advance to the Eastern Conference finals there is a 4.5 percent chance the Magic sweep, and if it's the Boston Celtics that number becomes 13.9 percent. From there, things get a little better with the Magic having a 7.3 percent chance of sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers and a 9.9 percent chance of taking all four games from the Phoenix Suns. Put that all together, reinsert your brain into your head and you'll find that the chances of the Magic going undefeated in the playoffs are less than 1 in 1000.
So it's not terribly likely that Orlando is going to Moses Malone through this playoffs no matter how great they've looked thus far. However, it's good to see a team going for it, and acknowledging that they're going for it. That's a big part of the reason why they've looked so much better than anyone they'll be facing in the next round.
Well, that and Stan Van Gundy's mock turtlenecks, but that's another story.