The Atlanta Hawks (sans Joe Johnson and Mike Bibby) dropped a game to the Charlotte Bobcats last night, which locked in the Orlando Magic as no. 2 seed in the East. It’s not exactly an unexpected development; the Magic are at least the Eastern Conference’s second best team, and with the way Orlando has played over the last two months, this moment seemed like an inevitability.
It seems increasingly likely that the Magic will match up with the aforementioned Bobcats in the first round, but even more important is Orlando dodging Cleveland until the Conference Finals. Don’t get me wrong, the Magic stand just as good a chance as waltzing into the Finals as the Cavs do, but if they can preoccupy themselves with the Hawks or the Celtics and put off the collision with LeBron and co. until the ECF? I don’t think Orlando would mind. Not one bit.
The West may be fireworks from the start, but in the East the big payoff may not come until those two ridiculously talented teams meet. The Magic locking up the 2nd seed brings us one step closer to that reality.