- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Stan Van Gundy left Wisconsin hoping that Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson, Mickael Pietrus and J.J. Redick will recover from their stomach virus in time to play Monday against the Atlanta Hawks. But Van Gundy also emphasized that he had no idea whether the foursome would be healthy enough. […] Redick came down with the illness first, beginning to experience symptoms early last Wednesday morning. Four days later, he still wasn’t ready to play in Milwaukee. Howard and Nelson became ill on Friday. So, if their illnesses last four full days, they wouldn’t be able to play against the Hawks.”
- Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel: “Orlando Magic center Marcin Gortat dives for loose balls, leaps into the stands and hits the deck more comfortably than any 6-foot-11 human being should. His willingness to sacrifice his extremely large body is, in a lot of ways, what defines him as a player. But for Gortat, diving and clawing for every loose ball is not a big deal, as he’s been doing it his whole life — just not on the basketball court. Gortat, a native of Poland, didn’t even play basketball till he was almost 18. Instead, Gortat received his hoops training on the soccer field, as he spent his youth playing goalkeeper for his competitive soccer squad. ‘I was probably the world’s tallest goalie,’ he says. He played soccer all of his life — like almost everyone did in Poland — and he was actually a pretty good keeper for his club team, LKS Lodz. So when you see Gortat diving at a point guard’s ankles for a loose ball, there’s a chance he’s imagining it as a soccer ball rolling free inside the 18-yard box. Marcin Gortat, a k a the Polish Machine, a k a the world’s tallest goalkeeper.”
- Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “I was watching what was left of the flu-ridden Magic on Saturday night and wondering whether Jason Williams was going to pass the ball for the rest of his career. Finally, bang-bang-bang — J-Will nailed 3 three-pointers in a late stretch against the Bucks. With Jameer Nelson out and Chris Duhon continuing to struggle, Williams needed to provide some offense instead of seemingly getting out of the way and spectating. Williams is frustrated with his role — or no role — but this was a game he could have left an imprint on earlier if he hadn’t deferred so much. Dealing with being the third point guard hasn’t been easy, and I think that frustration was behind him getting tossed from two games. Yes, it makes you wonder what J-Will is thinking.”
- Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “Orlando Pinstriped Post has learned, but has been unable to confirm, that the Orlando Magic may have recalled rookie center Daniel Orton from the New Mexico Thunderbirds, their D-League affiliate, after just a two-day stay. I again emphasize that I have yet to confirm this rumor, and neither the Magic nor the Thunderbirds have made an official announcement on the matter. […] Orton could be headed back to Orlando due to an injury of his own. He may have “tweaked something,” according to a person I spoke to, which explains why he left New Mexico’s game last night.”
- Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “On Thursday, Damien Wilkins was shooting baskets with regular guys at a gym. By Saturday, he was facing down LeBron James, the NBA’s reigning Most Valuable Player, with a frenzied crowd at American Airlines Arena expecting James to put on a show. The circumstances weren’t impossible to imagine since Wilkins had played 390 NBA games before the Hawks signed him on Friday. The result, though, was remarkable. Wilkins effectively harassed James to help spark Atlanta’s comeback attempt in the third quarter. The Hawks lost 89-77 but if Wilkins’ debut is any indication, he’s well suited to meet coach Larry Drew’s desire for an energetic and tough wing defender. Wilkins showed those qualities when he closely guarded James during stints in the first and second halves. James seemed annoyed that he couldn’t shake Wilkins, who wouldn’t allow him much space to start one of his dynamic drives to the basket. […] Wilkins’ strategy was best illustrated during a third-quarter sequence against James. Wilkins leaned against James and placed his arm against his back. James jab-stepped, but Wilkins didn’t budge. James feigned a shot, but Wilkins stayed put. Finally, Wilkins poked at the ball and the two wrestled for it as they crashed to the floor; officials called a jump ball.”
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