Two weeks after the return, the NBA playoffs are a go. On Tuesday, the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat will get their first rounds started.
Orlando Could Use Some Magic Against Milwaukee
The Magic finished the regular season as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. This means they get to be the Milwaukee Bucks’ first opponent in the playoffs. The Magic were the eighth seed last year as well when they fell to the champion Toronto Raptors in five games. The Magic enter a little battered, too.
While there is still hope for Aaron Gordon to play, they will be without Jonathan Isaac, Michael-Carter Williams and Mo Bamba. Bamba isn’t the biggest loss for the Magic, but not having Isaac will be felt. If Gordon is unable to play, the Magic would be without two of their top forwards to start the series.
According to ESPN.com, the Bucks are favored in Game 1 by 11.5 points. Getting Gordon back wouldn’t change things by much, but it would allow Orlando to put up a better fight.
Can Miami Heat Up?
The terrible puns are over now.
The Miami Heat play the Indiana Pacers in the first round. These teams are pretty familiar with each other by this point. The Heat and Pacers played each other in two of the last three games before the playoffs. The Pacers won both games. The Heat were held to 92 points both games and lost by double digits both times.
Despite the outcomes of both games, Miami is favored in Game 1. Though, if the Pacers were guaranteed to have all of their top players in Game 1, it might be different. Indiana might be without shooting guard Victor Odalpido, center Myles Turner and forward TJ Warren. However, all three players are listed as day-to-day, so Indiana won’t be without them for the whole series, most likely.
The Heat looked like they would be without a key player. However, per the Sun Sentinal, Kendrick Nunn will be available off the bench to start the series. Not the best-case scenario for the Heat, but better than Nunn being out completely, and it gives them a boost in trying to knock out the Pacers.