Wednesday's Magic Word | Magic Basketball

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Mar 02

Wednesday’s Magic Word

  • Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel: “The Orlando Magic will utilize the services of both of their point guards Thursday night against the Miami Heat. Both Jameer Nelson (ankle) and Gilbert Arenas (sore left calf) practiced on Wednesday afternoon and will play regular minutes against Miami. Nelson, who briefly left Tuesday’s game against the Knicks after rolling his ankle, said the ankle feels a little sore but it wouldn’t affect his play against the Heat. Arenas’ situation is a bit more complicated. He was a last-minute scratch from the lineup Tuesday, even after participating in that morning’s shootaround, because of soreness in his left calf. Arenas said his calf muscles tighten up occasionally as a result of his three knee surgeries, when the muscles were weakened. That’s why he is often seen stretching his calves during timeouts and between quarters of games.”
  • Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “And as long as [Dwight] Howard (30 points, 15 rebounds) steps out on the court and plays like the league MVP, ,the Magic can beat anybody. Just for the record, the Magic have already beaten Miami, Boston, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Chicago, New York and Oklahoma City this year. If Howard continues to make his free throws (12 of 17 against the Knicks), he will be absolutely impossible to defend in the playoffs.”
  • A possible NBA lockout could cancel the 2012 NBA All-Star Game in Orlando.
  • Dwight Howard is having an MVP-worthy season.
  • Chris Palmer of ESPN Insider: “Now Olajuwon, who generously doled out lessons during his 18-year career, has become the go-to guru for advanced post tutorials. This past summer, Dwight Howard made a trip to Houston to expand his offensive game beyond putbacks, dunks and a jump hook everyone knew how to defend. What Howard wanted to learn was Olajuwon’s signature move, the Dream Shake, a series of ball fakes and misdirections that personified grace on the low block.”
  • Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook breaks down the Magic’s pick and roll attack.
  • Howard is in a good mood: “I´ve said it a hundred times and I´ll keep saying it – we have what it takes to win a championship on this Magic team. I know a lot of teams out there have made trades, especially the Knicks getting ‘Melo, but I like our team just the way that it is. We have all the pieces needed to win a championship this year and I feel like we´re just now hitting our peak at the right time. Maybe we´ll be like the Packers and get hot at the right time and roll through the playoffs the way that they did. We just have to bring this same kind of focus and intensity every game. New York tried to get all physical with us, but we didn´t back down an inch and I really liked that about us. When we play tough and physical like that and keep our heads in the game, we´re a really tough team to beat.”
  • Matt Moore of CBSSports.com keeps it real: “Orlando is the best possible place for Howard. Now, in the future, in-between. But Howard seems to pretty clearly want to make his mark somewhere fancy, to be that known face, that superstar he feels his play should reward him as. And in the meantime, he’s made Orlando desperate to solve something they can’t control. Just another day in the life of the ever-compounding NBA.”
  • Zach Lowe of The Point Forward with a must-read article on Howard’s MVP candidacy: “Dwight Howard just finished annihilating the league in February (27 and 15, 67 percent shooting!), and he has topped my MVP ballot continuously since the quarter mark of the season, when I started really digging into the awards races. But all along, there has been one nagging thing that I either had to conveniently ignore or explain away somehow: The Magic have played better defense with Howard on the bench. How is this possible? We’re talking about the back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year — the guy regarded almost universally as the league’s most destructive defensive force. […] If there’s an argument people are going to make against Howard as a potential MVP, this point will come up. I can’t ignore it. But can I explain it away? I think I can — and without being blinded by bias.
  • Make sure to read on.
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