Spoelstra: Magic are title contenders

Most of us think the Eastern Conference is a two team race.  The Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls are the two best teams in the east and maybe the entire league.  According to one guy close to the situation, the East is actually a three team race. The Sun-Sentinel’s Mike Berardino writes Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra says he thinks the Orlando Magic are going to be a problem for either Miami or Chicago in the playoffs and are a contender for the NBA title.

“Absolutely,” Spoelstra said. “There is no doubt about it. Anytime you have an MVP candidate like [Howard] and then personnel that fits, you’re a contender.”

Had I written this before Monday night’s Chicago-Orlando I might have agreed with Coach Spo, but then the Magic went out and got blasted by a Bulls team playing without Derrick Rose, losing 85-59.  That was the second time this team has scored lower than 70 points this season and the ninth time they’ve scored under 80 points.  They’ve played better recently, but this team has a tendency to get bogged down on offense and relies on the three point shot way too much.  I can’t imagine they can sustain high percentage three point shooting over a seven game series they would need to beat Chicago or Miami four times. 

I understand why Spoelstra is worried about the Magic.  Diwght Howard has the ability to be so dominant, especially against Miami who lack the size to stop Howard.  The other problem is the Heat sometimes do a bad job defending the three point shot.  So yes, the Magic present a tough match up for the Heat, but I still think the inconsistency the Magic have shown, especially on offense gives the Heat the edge over the Magic in any series.