- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Stan Van Gundy and his players knew next to nothing about Baruch College, the school in Manhattan where their team practiced Tuesday afternoon. But Baruch College students knew all about the Orlando Magic. Word that the Magic were inside the school’s main gym swept across the compact campus of about 15,500 students. The news spread via cell-phone text messages and word of mouth, and a crowd of kids waited in the hallway outside the gym to catch any glimpse of the players. ‘Yo,’ one student yelled. ‘Dwight Howard is here!’ Those students peered into the gym through small, rectangular windows on the metal doors. Many of those students held their cell phones up to those windows and took photos or recorded portions of the practice.”
- Noah Sharfman of OrlandoMagic.com: “Attention NBA head coaches: do you want the secret of how to slow down the Orlando Magic’s high-powered offense? Listen closely because the answer may be surprising. To shut the Magic down offensively, you must slow down and limit Jameer Nelson. Nelson’s on-court production is often a tell-tale sign for the Magic as it relates to the team’s success. On a recent telecast between the Magic and Phoenix Suns, analyst Jeff Van Gundy said the key to the Magic’s success is in the hands of its point guards, specifically Nelson. Simply put, when Nelson is playing well, the Magic win. This season, Nelson is having a very productive offensive year, averaging 13 points and over six assists a game, the highest assist mark of his seven-year NBA career. Nelson has already scored in double figures more times this season than he did all of last season, while also leading the team in assists in more games than he did in 2009-10. This season, when Nelson dishes out seven or more assists in a game, the Magic are 20-8. In addition to sparking the Magic’s offense with his scoring and passing, Nelson has delivered late in games for the Magic. Nelson’s most memorable moment this season came at the end of the Magic’s recent matchup against the Denver Nuggets. With 5.7 seconds remaining in a tie game, Nelson collected an inbounds pass near midcourt, took three dribbles and pulled up for a shot well beyond the arc. Hitting nothing but net, Nelson drained the game-winning 3-pointer over Denver’s Ty Lawson as time expired, securing an 85-82 victory for the Magic.”
- Dwight Howard is optimistic about the Orlando Magic’s playoff chances.
- For head coach Stan Van Gundy, a win is a win.
- Even though the Magic won last night, they clearly were disinterested in the fourth quarter.
- Britt Robson of Sports Illustrated with a poignant observation: “The Magic rank third in defensive efficiency, the same as last season, and are actually yielding 1.4 fewer points per 100 possessions than they did in 2009-10. They are five wins behind last year’s pace because their offensive efficiency has plummeted from fourth to 12th. Don’t blame MVP candidate Dwight Howard, who is averaging 23 points on 60 percent shooting, although his usual struggles at the free-throw line and paucity of assists haven’t helped. The reality is that GM Otis Smith‘s blockbuster deals in December have pretty much been a wash. Jason Richardson hasn’t been that much better or worse than Vince Carter, and Hedo Turkoglu and Gilbert Arenas have been mild and major disappointments, respectively. But the real cost was losing ace backup center Marcin Gortat. As well as Brandon Bass has played, he can’t patrol the paint with the same authority as Gortat.”
- Note to Van Gundy: learn to text Gilbert Arenas on BBM.
- Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie with some words of wisdom concerning Howard: “All the “where would they be without him?” crap you hear about Derrick Rose? It’s meant for Dwight Howard. Because without this man’s dominant 28-point, 14-rebound, four-block, four-steal night, Orlando loses by 25 to the freakin’ Cavaliers. Derrick Rose may lead my favorite team to a championship this year, but I’m not daft enough to overlook Howard’s MVP season.”