- Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel: “Marcin Gortat spent years with the Orlando Magic backing up superstar center Dwight Howard, a relationship that benefited the both of them. Gortat learned and improved while playing with the NBA’s best center every day in practice, and Howard was fortunate to have a hungry and competitive backup, someone who worked hard and pushed Howard during workouts. These days, though, with Gortat now playing for the Phoenix Suns, it appears their personal relationship is non-existent. During the Magic’s 111-88 victory of the Suns on Sunday afternoon, Gortat and Howard never even acknowledged each other. ‘We didn’t say to each other one word,’ Gortat told SBNation.com. ‘We didn’t shake our hands, we didn’t talk to each other, we didn’t say anything. And that’s fine; at the end of the day he’s on a different team, I’m on a different team, and I’m a grown-ass man. I don’t need him any more.’ ”
- Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post previews tonight’s game. Here’s Dunlap’s take on Gilbert Arenas: “Despite his poor individual numbers — his turnovers are higher than they ought to be, as he’s having to acclimate to a new offense and to playing the point almost exclusively — the Magic have played pretty well with him on the floor, based on the on/off data available at basketball-value. It’s an issue of fit: he most often appears at the point with [J.J.] Redick at the other guard spot and Ryan Anderson and Dwight Howard up front. He and Redick can run the break, Anderson and Howard give him two good pick-and-pop (or, in Howard’s case, roll) partners. That’s a tough group to defend.”
- Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook shows that the Orlando Magic’s adjustments defensively against the Phoenix Suns’ pick and roll attack fueled their blowout victory: “In the first half against the Orlando Magic, the Phoenix Suns had success running the pick and roll with Aaron Brooks as the ball handler. In the 14 possessions where Brooks was the ball handler in the 1st half, the Suns scored 25 points, good for a [points per possession] of 1.78. The Suns’ success was due to a creative pick and roll strategy and the Magic’s defensive strategy when it came to defending straight ball screens. After halftime, the Magic came out and made some key adjustments and really shut down the Suns’ pick and roll offense. In the 7 possessions in the third quarter (Brooks didn’t play in the 4th) where Aaron Brooks ran the pick and roll, the Suns only scored 3 points, good for a [points per possession] of 0.43.”
- Marc Stein of ESPN.com: “Not what the Magic bargained for: Arenas has taken 659 shots in 2010-11 … and is shooting 37.5 percent. Only three other players are sub-40 percent with at least 600 FGA: Brandon Jennings, Trevor Ariza, John Salmons.”
- Dwight Howard can still dunk on opposing defenders when he wants to.
- Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk: “They are your four seed in the East, almost certainly. The question is, do they want to match up with in the second round: the Celtics, Bulls or Heat?”