Steve Clifford believes the Magic have a chance to make the playoffs
It has been an up-and-down season for the Orlando Magic but they are looking to finish strong.
Currently sitting in the ninth spot in the Eastern Conference, the franchise is looking to do something they haven’t done since 2012: make the playoffs. In speaking with John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com, head coach Steve Clifford was open about his desire to get the team into the postseason.
Asked what would make the season a success, @OrlandoMagic coach SClifford said: "Make the playoffs now (b/c) we have a chance. We have (20) games left, we’re playing well, we have a way we can play now. When’re right defensively, we’re hard to play against. So, we have a chance."
— John Denton (@JohnDenton555) February 26, 2019
Getting into playoff position isn’t a wild hope for the Magic, who are only a half game out of the eighth seed. They have been on fire lately and that push has gotten them to the periphery of the top eight in the East. Through Orlando’s last ten games, they have gone 8-2.
Normally, teams in Orlando’s position would be looking to focus on the development of their young players. Two big pieces of the team’s future though — Mohamed Bamba and Markelle Fultz — are out indefinitely with injury, leaving the best option on the table for Steve Clifford and the Magic to just go for it.
It helps the team’s playoff aspirations that Nikola Vucevic is playing incredible in his contract year. In the 60 games he has played this season, Vucevic is averaging 20.6 points, 12.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.2 blocks per game. His play was even good enough to earn him a spot at All-Star weekend earlier this month.
For Orlando to make it happen, it will take some backsliding from either the Charlotte Hornets or Detroit Pistons. If the Magic keep playing how they have been, though, they should have no trouble working their way to a playoff appearance.