The Magic are on the brink of ending the longest playoff drought in the Eastern Conference.
Orlando's 149-113 win over Atlanta on Friday night came in the home regular-season finale for the Magic. In every year since 2012, the home finale has been the last chance for Magic fans to see their club until the following fall. This time, the Magic might be coming home for Game 3 of the East first round. With the win, they jumped from the eighth to sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Magic have won nine consecutive home games, the longest active streak in the league.
"I think the fans are a big part of it, but we're definitely playing with a lot more purpose and a lot more balance here in this last, whatever it's been, five or six weeks," Magic coach Steve Clifford said.
Detroit fell from sixth to eighth after losing to Oklahoma City 123-110. Brooklyn stayed in seventh (the Nets were idle). Miami stayed ninth after a 111-109 loss in Minnesota, its third straight defeat. Charlotte remained 10th with a 113-111 win over Toronto.
There are still five teams alive for the last three spots, and oddly, four of them actually control their destiny. Miami will be assured of getting in by winning its final three games. Orlando, Detroit and Brooklyn would also be in if they all win out -- Orlando plays Brooklyn on Sunday, and Brooklyn plays Miami on Wednesday, the final night of the regular season.
The Hornets remain in the race, though they need a lot of help.