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Are You for Real?
CHRIS MANNIX
April 16, 2012
Chicago, Miami and Oklahoma City are the easy choices to go deep into the spring, but there are formidable obstacles in their path—they just don't include the defending champs
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April 16, 2012

Are You For Real?

Chicago, Miami and Oklahoma City are the easy choices to go deep into the spring, but there are formidable obstacles in their path—they just don't include the defending champs

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MAGIC

Orlando's inconsistency is staggering: In wins the Magic is averaging 100.8 points on 46.5% shooting, including 41.0% from the three-point line. In losses those numbers plummet to 84.1/40.7%/33.0%. The fractured relationship between Dwight Howard (above) and coach Stan Van Gundy is a daily distraction, while injuries to Howard (back) and Hedo Turkoglu (cheekbone) will likely linger into the postseason. The Magic still has shooters, but it will need an overwhelming series from Howard just to escape the first round.

MAVERICKS

While the Dallas defense is postseason-ready—the Mavs rank sixth in defensive efficiency (101.3 points allowed per 100 possessions)—the offense doesn't measure up. Dallas's three-point shooting has gone south (33.2%), and the Lamar Odom experiment came to an end when he left the team Monday. They simply can't give their star the help he needs. "Dirk [Nowitzki, above] is still the toughest power forward to defend," says a scout. "But he has had to carry them in the past. Look how that turned out."

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