Orlando looks even better than they did a year ago when they made the NBA Finals. The Magic are favored in NBA odds in the second round as they face either Atlanta or Milwaukee.
Basketball odds favored the Magic in all four games against the Bobcats in the first round and Orlando covered the spread in three of the four games. They nearly covered all four but in the opener they won by nine points as a ten point favorite. What was shocking about the Magic winning all four games is that All-Star center Dwight Howard was pretty much a non-factor in the series. The Magic swept a playoff series for the first time in their history and they did it without getting much from their best player. Howard was in foul trouble in every game of the Charlotte series.
One player who stepped up for Orlando was Mickael Pietrus. He continually hit three-pointers to bury Charlotte. The Magic got a lot of other players involved as Vince Carter, Jameer Nelson, Rashard Lewis and Matt Barnes had solid games. Howard was constantly in foul trouble and did next to nothing the entire series. And still the Magic swept the Bobcats and covered the basketball odds in three of the four games. Howard even got into an argument with head coach Stan Van Gundy. "He and I got into it," Van Gundy said. "He’s so frustrated now." He may be frustrated but it didn’t matter as Orlando rolled over Charlotte in basketball odds. “If you would have told me that he would have averaged well under 30 minutes for the series and we would sweep, I would have said you’re crazy,” Van Gundy said. “I think it’s a testament to our other guys.”
Howard should have a lot more success in the second round against either the Atlanta Hawks or Milwaukee Bucks. Neither team has a dominant big man nor play great interior defense. Howard could be a major factor against the Hawks or the Bucks. Orlando is still getting a lot of respect in NBA odds and they are favored to make it out of the second round and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second straight season.