NBA Legend Makes Bold Prediction For 2024 NBA Playoffs

Shaquille O'Neal, Knicks, Magic, NBA Playoffs
NBA Analysis Network

The only thing we know about the NBA Playoff picture in the Eastern Conference is that the Boston Celtics are the No. 1 seed. Beyond that, nothing else has been finalized yet as teams are jostling for position and looking to get out of the NBA Play-In Tournament.

Only four games separate the No. 2 seed Milwaukee Bucks from the No. 8 seed Miami Heat. Tiebreakers are almost certainly going to come into play as teams are jumbled up and battling for homecourt advantage in at least the first round of the postseason.

Two of the teams that have a realistic shot at catching the Bucks are the Orlando Magic and the New York Knicks. Both teams are currently tied with 46-32 records, but Orlando holds the tiebreaker over New York for winning the season series.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Shaquille O’Neal, 2024 NBA Playoffs, Orlando Magic, New York Knicks Updates

Right now, they are holding down the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds in the Eastern Conference. But, one loss could send them back into the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds. That is where they were last week when NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal made a bold claim about the postseason.

On TNT’s Inside the NBA, they were showing what the postseason matchups would be had the season ended that day. The Magic and Knicks would be set to face off in the first round, which led to O’Neal making a very bold claim about how that series would go.

“Orlando gonna sweep ‘em,” O’Neal said, which drew a shocked reaction from at least one other person on the panel that evening. Another person asked O’Neal how much he would be willing to bet on that occurring as they were confident it wouldn’t be the case.

That is certainly a bold statement from O’Neal, placing confidence in his former team that retired his No. 32 jersey earlier this season. The Magic did go 3-1 against New York this season, but there are some caveats that should be taken into consideration.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Shaquille O’Neal, 2024 NBA Playoffs, Orlando Magic, New York Knicks Updates

The first meeting was played on December 29th, the final game before the Knicks made their trade with the Toronto Raptors which reshaped their season. The second meeting came without Jalen Brunson being in the lineup. 

In the third meeting on Valentine’s Day, Alec Burks started and played 30 minutes with Jacob Toppin playing 17 minutes off the bench. Jericho Sims started and played 39 minutes for the short-handed Knicks. None of those players are in the rotation with the Knicks getting healthier.

In the fourth meeting, with OG Anunoby and Mitchell Robinson still out, the Knicks won by 24 at Madison Square Garden. But those regular season meetings can be thrown out when evaluating what a potential meeting in the NBA playoffs would look like between Orlando and New York.

Either team pulling off a sweep would be surprising. Both teams have some similarities as they are hard-nosed, defensive-minded squads. But, betting on the inexperience of the Magic to sweep a playoff-tested Knicks team is a wager O’Neal would almost certainly lose.

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