- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “If nothing else, Wednesday night’s matchup between the Orlando Magic and the Washington Wizards can serve as Exhibit No. 1 for anyone who argues that the NBA regular season is too long. The Magic did exactly what they were expected to do: They clobbered a rebuilding Wizards team that cannot win on the road even with a completely healthy lineup, let alone a lineup that lacked a pair of injured starters. At least Magic players will enter the all-star break with a little added confidence. An easy 101-76 pasting of an opponent — even an opponent as hapless as the Wizards — will do that. Orlando recovered from a sluggish start and salted this one away early in the third quarter behind a dominant performance by Dwight Howard.”
- Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “The correct way to get the Magic into any game is to feed Dwight Howard 2.0. What we’re witnessing now is the Howard we’ve waited to see for six seasons. His offense was finally arrived, near full bloom and I say [Stan] Van Gundy can’t get him enough shot attempts. Howard is so good right now that he wasn’t distracted by the Wizards (32 points) or his growing A-list status. In fact, he’s turned playboy party-planner, holding the biggest all-star bash in L.A. A website bills the Saturday night affair as ‘LARGER THAN LIFE’ (uh, larger than Orlando, Dwight?) and continues to read, ‘Hosted by Dwight Howard, his celebrity friends and models.’ The gorgeous models are shown in various states of undress. So Dwight needs no prodding. The rest of the Magic had to find something to get them going — and they found Howard, who scored 12 in a tell-tale second period.”
- John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “At the conclusion of Tuesday’s Orlando Magic practice, head coach Stan Van Gundy gathered his team around him and issued a cryptic question that also doubled as a stern challenge. ’Are we a team that can do it night after night or was that just a one-night thing?’’ Van Gundy asked his squad, referring to the Magic’s thrilling throttling of the Los Angeles Lakers last Sunday. The Magic, led of course by the continued excellence of superstar center Dwight Howard, answered that question in resounding fashion on Wednesday night, thumping the hapless Washington Wizards 101-76 at Amway Center. Howard, the Eastern Conference’s reigning Player of the Week, gashed the Wizards inside with 32 points and 10 rebounds in just three quarters of work. He made 12 of 15 shots – most of them with ease – meaning he made 25 of 31 shots in the Magic’s last two victories against the Lakers and Wizards.”
- Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “The game didn’t start great for the hosts, though, who clearly looked as though they had mentally checked out for All-Star Weekend. Two turnovers on inbounds passes, and a 9-point scoring outburst for backup combo guard Kirk Hinrich, lowlighted Orlando’s first 18 minutes. A three-point play from Hinrich gave the Wizards a 31-28 lead at the 6:13 mark of the second period, but Orlando responded by scoring 10 straight points and never trailed again. It took a 5-point advantage into halftime, a lead it pushed to 21 after only three more minutes, shutting the door on the Wizards, who simply couldn’t get a basket from anyone apart from Wall. You’d rather the Magic show up and dominate from tip to horn, but they corrected their mistakes reasonably early and coasted after halftime. On a night when the two-time defending champion L.A. Lakers lost to the NBA-worst Cleveland Cavaliers, you like to see that.”
- Michael Lee of The Washington Post: “The Wizards haven’t lost every game – although they needed 26 games to finally break through away from Verizon Center. They arrived at Amway Center on Wednesday a much different team since their inauspicious opener. But with limited options offensively, and no one capable of providing any resistance to Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, the Wizards lost, 101-76. Rashard Lewis, a focal point of the Wizards’ biggest change from opening night – the Dec. 18 trade that shipped the former face of the franchise, Gilbert Arenas, to the Magic – was forced to miss his return to Orlando with a right knee injury that sidelined him for the past three games. The Wizards were also without leading scorer Nick Young, who sat out with a bruised left knee suffered in the previous victory in Cleveland. It didn’t help that center JaVale McGee arrived with a sore left back.
Thank you, Schmitz, for unnecessarily bringing up Dwight leaving Orlando again. If I was Dwight, I'd leave just to get away from the Sentinel's garbage.