Wednesday's Magic Word | Magic Basketball

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Oct 06

Wednesday’s Magic Word

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Melissa Muñoz will never forget the time the world’s best center visited this tiny city of 7,322 people near the Mexico border. Wearing a black T-shirt emblazoned with Dwight Howard‘s face, the 16-year-old high-school student leaned over the boards behind the Orlando Magic bench during pregame warmups. [...] Howard walked over, and when Muñoz raised her pink Samsung digital camera for a picture, Howard leaned in and smiled widely. The Magic visited this non-NBA city Tuesday night to face the Houston Rockets in a preseason game. Though it seems that few people in southern Texas share Muñoz’s love for the Magic — the 6,200-seat State Farm Arena was perhaps 60 percent full at tipoff — the exhibition meant a lot to her. [...] If only others in this region shared her enthusiasm for the Magic — or her family’s willingness to pay high prices to see a preseason game. Tickets cost between $49 and $568, not including Ticketmaster fees.”
  • More from Robbins: “Dwight Howard dedicated several days of his summer vacation to working with Hakeem Olajuwon. More than anything else, Olajuwon stressed that Howard needs to be fearless and try new things on the court. Howard apparently learned that lesson well. On Tuesday night, the superstar center confidently unveiled a more diversified offensive attack and, in the process, he tormented the team Olajuwon once carried to greatness. Hardly anyone will care months from now that the Orlando Magic defeated the Houston Rockets 97-88 in the preseason opener for both teams. But maybe, just maybe, the exhibition in this southern Texas border city will be remembered as the night Howard’s repertoire showed true growth.
  • That was a captivating sentence by Robbins.
  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “While Dwight Howard certainly opened eyes with his expanded game — get back to me when he fires jumpers in the regular season — it was an old dog’s tricks that impressed me. Vince Carter looked engaged, in shape and showed flashes of the all-star form so critical to the Magic in their preseason opening win over Houston Tuesday night. [...] He still has to pace himself and pick his spots, but Vince I think has taken to heart some of the criticism launched at him after the playoffs last season and some of the demands his teammates have made.”
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com analyzes the Orlando Magic’s win last night.
  • Vince Carter has changed, perhaps for the better: “Vince Carter recently stated that this past summer was the most backbreaking and grueling offseason in his entire basketball career. The eight-time All-Star spent considerable time in the gym to improve his conditioning. It definitely showed during the Magic’s first preseason game of the year. Not only did he look more aggressive on both ends of the floor, VC appeared very vivacious and determined. Hoping to return to the level that once credited him as one of the premier wing players in the NBA, Carter finished with 14 points in 25 minutes and delivered a sensational alley-oop feed in the fourth quarter to Marcin Gortat, who flushed home a thunderous two-handed jam.”
  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post breaks down Rashard Lewisperformance at small forward against the Houston Rockets: “It’s hard to draw many conclusions from a one-game sample size, let alone a 12-possession one. And the Rockets made four substitutions during that 6:03 stretch, further calling into question its significance in the bigger picture. But it’d appear, at least initially, that the never-before-seen pairing of Lewis and [Brandon] Bass at the forward spots could pay dividends.”
  • Remember when Li’l Penny went to high school with Kevin Garnett?
  • Jorge Azze of Dime Magazine renames the Magic for fun.
  • A detailed look at how Dwight Howard concedes post position when he’s on the low block: “We all know that Dwight Howard doesn’t get good position in the post, and this can be attributed to a lot of different things. The fact that he has tiny legs and relies on using his upper body to get position and the fact that defenses are allowed to be very physical with him are all major reasons why. However, something I have noticed recently is that Dwight actually gets good initial position, but then he gives it up”
  • Howard shares with DimeTV his opinion on the NBA’s best dunker.
  • UPDATE: Jacob Mustafa of Red94 with an eloquent description of Howard’s performance last night against the Rockets: “Dwight Howard may have reached another level, one on which the girth of Yao simply leaves a greater canvas for an array of spin moves and our giant’s towering stature only serves to make Howard’s bank shot jumper look all the more awe-inspiring. This Howard was not the easily frustrated, incorrigible man-child that seemed destined to languish in this league’s second stratosphere of superstar, ably filling David Robinson’s role of boring genius unlikely to win; no, this Howard got his quickly and efficiently, while never appearing to do so much that his “be everywhere” defensive style was impeded (I would like to make sure my opinion of Robinson is not misunderstood; his offensive skill set was lightyears ahead of Howard’s thus far, but I think their reputations are similar). Trying to grade Yao’s attempts at containing this unstoppable force seems not only pointless, but cruel.”
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