ORLANDO, Fla. - Magic team members are back in Orlando Wednesday after being eliminated by the Indiana Pacers.
The Pacers defeated the Magic 105-87 on Tuesday night, moving on to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoff series.
It's the second straight year the Magic have made a first round exit from the playoffs. It was a tough series for the Magic, which played all five games without All-Star center Dwight Howard because of a back injury.
Jameer Nelson kept the Magic close for much of game five in Indianapolis Tuesday night. Nelson led Orlando with 27 points and made 5 of 8 3-pointers.
But the Pacers came on strong in the fourth quarter to end a Magic season that was filled with injuries, trade rumors and a lot of drama off the court.
The Magic, who made just 5 of 16 shots in the fourth quarter, didn't want to use Howard's absence as an excuse.
"We don't think like that," Orlando forward Ryan Anderson said. "We know we can win and play hard. We proved in Game 1 we can come out and play hard and win."
"We gave a tremendous effort," Anderson said. "We really battled. We played hard. Nobody can say we didn't. It's just tough."
The Magic players will be back at the Amway Center Wednesday morning for a final team meeting and to clean out their lockers.
The question remains: Who will be coming back next season?
A season of controversy for the Orlando Magic will now become an off-season of uncertainty.
"Yeah, I want to come back but you know it's not up to me," said Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy.
Just minutes after the Magic were eliminated from the playoffs Van Gundy was asked if he wanted to be the coach of the team next season.
"You know as far as the speculation I would say the same thing all year, you know, who gives a damn," he said.
The last couple of months of the season were filled with twists and turns for the Magic.
First, the last second decision by Dwight Howard to stay with the team and then the bizarre news conference where Van Gundy told the media Howard wanted him fired.
Just weeks before the playoffs started, Howard went down with an injury and has been in California recuperating from back surgery.
Magic CEO Alex Martins told WFTV Tuesday night that Howard would have to decide before next season whether he will sign a long-term contract with the Magic.
If not, Martins said they will trade him to prevent the circus that followed the Magic for much of the season.
WFTV also found out that team management will take a couple days and then decide what direction it's going to take the team.