Locked into the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, the Orlando Magic have two games remaining to tune up for the playoffs.
Based on their latest performance and recent body of work, they probably don’t need much more time to work on things.
Coming off a win at NBA-leading Cleveland, Orlando looks for its fifth straight victory when it plays its final road game Monday night against the streaking Indiana Pacers.
Orlando has won seven of eight and is 21-5 since the All-Star break.
The Magic can still beat out the Los Angeles Lakers for the second-best record, which would give them home-court advantage if the teams meet in the NBA finals for the second straight year.
“It’s going to be hard to get back to the finals, but if you do, you want to give yourself every advantage,” coach Stan Van Gundy said. “History bears that out.
“You’d be doing the team and the organization a disservice to not do everything you can to give yourself the best possible chance to win.”
Out of the playoffs for the fourth straight year, Indiana (32-48) is playing its best basketball of the season. The Pacers have won four straight and 10 of 12, beating New Jersey 115-102 at home Saturday night.
They’re averaging 108.8 points over those 12 games - 119.3 during the win streak.
“It just happened a little bit too late,” said forward Danny Granger(notes), eighth in the NBA with 24.4 points per game. “We’ve shot the ball better, our defense has been a little better. Our offense has really been helping us a lot, even through the rough stretches when our defense was kind of bad.”
“We are spacing the floor and hitting key shots much better now,” Murphy said. “This wasn’t happening early in the year and resulted in some losses for us.”
Indiana has lost two of three to Orlando, winning 97-90 in the lone meeting at Conseco Fieldhouse on Jan. 5. The Magic have lost six of their last eight in Indianapolis, where the Pacers have won 11 of 12.
Orlando closes the season against Philadelphia on Wednesday, when Indiana will play its finale at Washington.