Monday's Magic Word | Magic Basketball

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Apr 11

Monday’s Magic Word

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “The Orlando Magic almost never hold a shootaround on the day after a game. If they’re in Orlando and are about to play the second leg of a back-to-back, they’ll hold a walkthrough on their Amway Center practice court a few hours before tipoff. If they’re on the road, they’ll assemble in a hotel ballroom around 11 in the morning and go over the keys to that night’s game. That routine changed today even though the Magic faced the Chicago Bulls in a hard-fought game Sunday afternoon in Orlando. Indeed, the Magic originally weren’t scheduled to shoot-around, but Stan Van Gundy decided to bring his players to the Wells Fargo Center, where they worked for almost 80 minutes. So what gives? It’s all about the playoffs. In an effort to prepare for their first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks, the Magic did more today to fine-tune their offense instead of preparing for tonight’s opponent, the Philadelphia 76ers.”
  • Which team poses the biggest threat for the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference?
  • J.J. Redick is close to returning for the  Magic.
  • Gilbert Arenas may sit out tonight’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers.
  • Marc Stein of ESPN.com: “Just because he’s not getting my MVP vote doesn’t mean that I won’t take a quick 20 to hat-tip Dwight Howard for joining Hakeem, Barkley and Moses as the only players in the last 30 seasons to average 23 ppg and 14 rpg.”
  • According to Zach Lowe of The Point Forward, Dwight Howard should be the MVP: “I’ve made the case all season, so I won’t belabor it again here. In general terms, Howard has emerged as an elite offensive player, the foundation of Orlando’s offense nearly (but not quite) to the degree that Derrick Rose and LeBron James are to the offenses in Chicago and Miami. His free throw issues and resulting lack of shot attempts in the clutch place him a small notch below the league’s best offensive players, but no one touches him as a defender. No one. That two-way combination, plus his value to an otherwise ho-hum Orlando roster, separates Howard from the field in an award meant to honor an individual’s play over 82 games and not during the final 45 seconds of a game that is happening in the imagination of too many voters.”
  • Chris Mannix and Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated are unanimous in their vote for Howard as the Defensive Player of the Year. Here’s what Thomsen had to say about Howard’s wizardry on defense: “Howard has the gaudy numbers and every scout will tell you he has an effect on virtually every defensive possession that finishes in or near the paint. But the most impressive part of Howard’s season is that he has carried a stingy Magic D almost single-handedly. He plays next to an undersized power forward (Brandon Bass), and the defensive skills of the wing players in front of him are average at best. This is an award that, barring injury, Howard should win every year.”
  • Add John Hollinger of ESPN Insider to the MVP tally, as he also declares Howard as the rightful player for the award: “I explained this in a lengthy column earlier this month, and while my logic has clearly displeased certain factions, it hasn’t changed any of the facts. The most notable one is that the three Florida stars — Howard, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade — were the league’s three best in the league by a fair margin, whether you want to use numbers, the much-beloved eye test or any other standard. Howard has no chance in real life, however. For some reason, the concept that the league’s best player could be on an also-ran team remains an insurmountable hurdle (for reference, see also Kobe Bryant in 2006 and Kevin Garnett in 2005).”
  • Life without Howard for the Magic wasn’t easy on Sunday.
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk: “Dwight Howard will finish the season averaging more than 23 points and 14 rebounds per game. Last person to do that (via ESPN’s Marc Stein): Hakeem Olajuwon. I’d have him higher, but if he’s not in the top three on your MVP ballot, you’re doing it wrong.
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