So think Rashard Lewis and his teammates.
Apparently, Lewis, Dwight Howard and several of their cohorts in Orlando are tired of hearing the media's respects only going to the Celtics, Pistons and Cavs in the Eastern Conference.
As reported by Florida Today's John Denton:
There is a growing us-against-the-world sentiment in the Orlando locker room that the Magic aren't getting enough credit for dominating the Southeast Division, and keeping the heat on Boston and Detroit in the Eastern Conference.
"A lot of the talk is about Boston and Detroit and even Cleveland some, but we want to try and make our statement come playoff time," Magic forward Rashard Lewis said. "Go ahead and sleep on us, label us as underdogs, and we'll be the team to surprise you in the playoffs.
Said Howard: "Keep on overlooking us, and we'll keep on playing like we have all season. Nobody is looking at us, and we're trying to feed off of that. It'll motivate us come playoff time."
Hard to imagine the other three powers in the East need be all that concerned if the Magic choose to follow through on Howard's threat and "keep on playing like [they] have all season."Read More..
Without a doubt, the Magic have been one of the more pleasant surprises in the league this season. They are a young, well-coached and likable group, and it is nice to see them sitting atop the Southeast Division with a nine-game lead. Dwight Howard's continued development makes this team one that can't ever be written off completely.
But they have been deservedly labeled as the fourth team to fear in the East come springtime.
The "way the Magic have been playing all season" is inconsistently. Since roaring out of the gates to a 16-4 start, the Magic have gone just 24-20, and Stan Van Gundy has had to throw multiple post-game tantrums surrounding Orlando's lack of defensive intensity at times this year.
With the exception of one or two rough patches, the Celtics and Pistons have cruised all season. The Pistons still have largely the same group that went to the Finals in consecutive seasons, and the Cavs are not only the defending conference champs but also the proud royal subjects of a new and improved LeBron James.
The Magic have yet to show that they have the consistency or the intensity to be listed with the others. And so they get the attention -- or lack thereof -- that they do.