Wednesday's Magic Word | Magic Basketball

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Mar 16

Wednesday’s Magic Word

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “[Dwight] Howard was in a good mood, joining Jameer Nelson in heckling Brandon Bass about his pants size even after Monday night’s loss in L.A., which seemingly should have hurt a little more. Howard summoned rookie Daniel Orton to carry his jacket, headphones and tote bag to the bus as is his right as a veteran. The Magic didn’t look or sound like a team with a care in the world, much less in the East postseason race. If they’re concerned, they don’t show it. They’ll let the worry lines occupy coach Stan Van Gundy‘s face. One thing that’s clear to me about the Magic: They aren’t taking much stock in these regular-season results. They are veterans, some who have been to the ’09 Finals, and this 82-game stuff to them is a formality, practically a nuisance. I think players realize the season hasn’t gone as planned, that Otis Smith’s trades don’t figure to run down the Celtics, Bulls and Heat. They’ve fallen short of expectations, so their focus already has shifted to the playoffs and the repairs they can make there to stun their doubters. The Magic know they probably are stuck with the No. 4 seed and simply need to catch fire. Their maddening inconsistency? The turnovers and defensive lapses? The rebounding woes? Run along, naysayers. We’ll get that all straightened out in the playoffs. Hard to buy what the Magic are selling, isn’t it?”
  • George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel: “[Otis] Smith has handicapped the Magic for years because he believed in [Gilbert] Arenas when no one else did. It’s an admirable thing to do as a compassionate human being. It’s a horrible thing to do from a business standpoint. The Magic and Arenas appear to be stuck with each other. It will be this city’s burden to have to watch and wince.”
  • Tracy McGrady didn’t always try hard in practice. Is that necessarily bad?
  • Head coach Stan Van Gundy warns the Orlando Magic about the Milwaukee Bucks.
  • J.J. Redick will not play in tonight’s game against the Bucks.
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “All jokes aside, Howard has been attempting to look into the future quite a bit these days what with the playoffs beginning in almost a month. At 42-26 with 14 regular-season games left before the postseason free-for-all begins, Howard is attempting to project positives where some only see darkness. His Magic are most likely locked into the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, and unlike some Howard doesn’t see that as being the end of the world. […] If the playoffs started today, the Magic would open in the first round against an Atlanta team that it has dominated much of the past three seasons and swept last spring in the most lopsided postseason series in history. Win that, and the Magic could be in position to face Chicago, a blossoming team that has yet to prove itself in the playoffs. Meanwhile, the East’s other two top teams, Boston and Miami, could be forced to beat up on one another in the other side of the playoff bracket.”
  • I think it’s foolish to underestimate the Chicago Bulls “lack of playoff experience.”
  • Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie has more on McGrady’s practice habits: “Here’s the part where we tell you that McGrady really is a sweet, intelligent, and thoughtful guy. And here’s the part where we remind you that, holy crap, he averaged 32 points, a combined 12 rebounds/assists, and just 2.6 turnovers in 2002-03 with the Orlando Magic. And here’s where we remind that though McGrady never made it out of the first round as an active player, there wasn’t one time in that first-round losing streak where I thought McGrady’s squad lost to an inferior opponent.
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk: “The middle of the East looks pretty set. Look for another Orlando vs. Atlanta playoff series, although this time in the first round as the four and five seeds (the Magic swept that series last year).”
  • Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports: “Van Gundy tried to make sense of 593 foul calls without so much as a flagrant foul on Dwight Howard. And after speaking the truest words of the season – saying that Stern doesn’t allow dissenting opinions in the NBA, that free speech is a scarce commodity on league issues – the commissioner reacted in a most predictable, childish way on state-run NBA radio. After refusing to confront Van Gundy directly and promising to take the matter to Magic ownership, Stern sounded like a power-drunk small-town mayor saying ‘… We won’t be hearing from him for the rest of the season.’ ”
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