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The problem with peaking now

The Orlando Sentinel has a small piece today talking about the spectacular play of the Orlando Magic as of late. They’ve been dominant, beating great teams and annihilating bad ones. They’ve been consistent, efficient, and productive. They’re firing on all cylinders.

In news that should stun absolutely no one, Stan Van Gundy is less than rosy with his outlook.


The season just keeps going,” Stan Van Gundy said. “Any time you think, ‘we’re there, we’ve turned a corner’ or whatever you find out that you’re not.”

Oh, SVG. You would find the darkness in a sunny day.

But his point is well made. The Magic rose to title contention last year by feasting on teams that peaked at the wrong times. The Celtics were dominant in the first half of the season, before injuries did to them late what hubris has done to them this year. The Cavs peaked in dominating the first two rounds to a degree they were unprepared for an onslaught from a tough opponent. The Magic lost to the Lakers, who really only hit their stride mid-way through the Western Conference Finals, but who never looked back after that.

The Magic are rolling right now, the Lakers and Celtics struggling. But these teams need to be cognizant of what peaking too soon can do, as well as failing to ramp back up in time. A championship takes a lot of things: determination, heart, talent, defense, a superstar. It also takes timing. The Magic need to not settle with what they’ve got in March if they want their best in June.