Orlando Magic still title contenders

Howard's defense allows Orlando to take chances on offense. But will that hold true in June? Victor Baldizon/Getty Images

After pummeling their opponents during the preseason by an average of 28 points per game, it didn't take long to crank up the Orlando Magic hype machine for 2010-11. As if the preseason carnage wasn't enough to pacify the naysayers, the Magic spoiled John Wall's debut by crushing the Washington Wizards by 29 in their season opener. Orlando's early domination left no doubt: They're title contenders again.

And then the Miami game happened.

Just as quickly as the hype reached full steam, the dormant skeptics were back in full force after the Magic were embarrassed in the Heat's home opener.

The Magic lack toughness. Rashard Lewis disappears on the big stage. Live by the 3 against the weaklings, die by the 3 three against the heavyweights.

Let there be no doubt: the Magic still belong in the small circle of title contenders.