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Top Billing….sort of

Posted By Warren Shaw On Aug 8 2010 @ 1:39 pm In Orlando Magic | No Comments

Taking a bite out of the Maverick Carter playbook the NBA released a teaser schedule unveiling their marquee games for the 2010-2011 NBA season this past Tuesday.  The Magic were selected four times according to the league and TV marketing experts to appear in headliner games this season.  Be clear the Magic will be on national TV more than four times but these are the marquee, can’t miss games according to the NBA and TV elite.

The Magic open their season October 28 in the first TNT Thursday night double header against the number one pick John Wall and “his” Washington Wizards. This is a game filled with intrigue and subplots with Wall playing his first professional game, Gilbert Arenas making his return to the league (assuming he is still in Washington when the season commences),  and of course a first look at one of the Eastern Conference finalist in the Magic.  It will also be the nation’s first look at the new Amway Center. I am sure Craig Sager will be parading all throughout the arena in a lemon lime suit with special pieces covering all the nuisances the Amway Center has to offer.  Must see TV!

The Magic will then make the short trip south October 29 to be the first visitor against the “Three Kings” or “Super Friends”, whichever catch phrase nickname they are using at the time.  It’s a little suspect for the Magic to be the Heat’s home opening opponent on the second night of a back to back, but it is too early to quibble over such matters.  This game will be aired on ESPN and of course is an instant rivalry matchup. As many have stated the Magic are no longer favored to even win their division because of the new look Heat.  The players might downplay it as just another regular season game and as well they should to the media. However any player worth his salt should understand that the victor of that game can send an early message to the opponent. Look for playoff level intensity in only the second game of the season for both teams.

In what would appear to be a slap in the face to the Boston Celtics, the NBA will not have the Finals rematch of Boston and Los Angeles on Christmas Day.  Instead the Celtics head to Orlando as the teaser game before the headliner of Heat vs. Lakers on ABC.  Interestingly enough the Magic were disrespected last year on Christmas with the same matchup playing Boston instead of Los Angeles in a Finals rematch.  At least the league is consistent.

I can see families on Christmas day kids fiddling with their new toys, dads reading instructions on their new gadgets while this game plays almost annoyingly in the background in anticipation of its end so the headliner of Heat vs. Lakers may commence.  Nevertheless this is still a game worth seeing no matter how much the national TV audience will be impatiently waiting for it to end. The Magic still don’t know how they really lost in the Eastern Conference Finals to a team full of grandfathers by NBA standards (no offense Rondo).  Regardless of Orlando’s confusion gramps found the fountain of youth and played an amazing series sending the Magic home in a not so close 6 games. The Magic will have the home court crowd behind them this Christmas as the two Supermans (or Superman vs. Bizarro) collide in their first matchup of the season.

Proving TNT does know (over)drama the Magic will again meet the Celtics on Martin Luther King Day, January 17 this time in Boston. This is probably overkill in terms of marquee games, and is the only repeat performance on the marquee matchup schedule. As I play scheduler maker for a moment wouldn’t a Magic vs. Thunder or even better Magic vs. Bulls provide more excitement? C’mon NBA schedule makers, “Your better than that” in my best Mark Jackson impression. In any event it will be another test for the two teams just 3 weeks after their first meeting on Christmas.

The full NBA schedule will be released on August 10 and is sure to have some questionable dates and quirks for all teams.  At the end of the day all the games are marquee and pretty hold relevance. No matter how it is laid out Orlando is no different from the other 29 teams in the league where the schedule is concerned. October 28th we wait for you with baited breath!

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