- Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “At the risk of sounding obvious, [Dwight] Howard can avoid 10-second violations by shooting faster. His opponents have the right to call attention to how long he takes before shooting, just as the Magic have the right to tell officials if one of their opponents is taking too long to shoot. He can avoid technical fouls by simply passing the ball to an official instead of rolling it away. Doing so shows up the officials in front of both teams, the paying fans in attendance, and the folks watching on TV. I understand the technical call, instead of the delay-of-game one, in this instance. He’s not merely delaying the game, but expressing his frustration with the referees in an unbecoming way. The NBA can avoid, or perhaps curtail, the frustration fans and players have with the rule by enforcing it strictly or not at all. The selective enforcement of the rulebook in professional sports–not just in basketball-rankles fans because rules are meant to be rules no matter the situation. Thus, violations like the NBA’s 10-second count arouse suspicion when they’re called.”
- Dan Devine of Ball Don’t Lie: “After stepping to the charity stripe with the Bobcats holding a 50-41 lead, Howard missed the first of his two freebies. After receiving the ball from the official for his second attempt, Howard launched into his extraordinarily deliberate free-throw routine. Take a deep breath. (Beat.) Shrug the shoulders. (Beat.) Spin the ball in your left hand. (Beat.) Slow dribble. (Beat.) Slow dribble. (Beat.) Slow dribble. (Beat.) Raise your eyes to the basket. (Beat.) Bend at the knees, and then … whistle.”
- The Orlando Magic made quick work of the Charlotte Bobcats in overtime.
- John Hollinger of ESPN Insider cites Howard’s improvements on offense this season: “It’s truly impressive when a superstar-level player can still take his game to another level, and Howard did that this season by developing what had been a rudimentary post-up game. By adding a face-up jumper off the window and getting more comfortable taking a couple of short dribbles for a hook shot, he’s become more than just a physically dominant dunker — he added 3.3 points to his 40-minute average with virtually no loss in efficiency.”
- Also, Hollinger awards Howard with his pseudo-vote for Defensive Player of the Year: “Orlando is third in the NBA in defensive efficiency. Think about this for a second. They have one good defensive player in their top eight. One. Of the top eight players for Orlando by minutes, the other seven are Jameer Nelson, Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson, Brandon Bass, J.J. Redick, Ryan Anderson and Gilbert Arenas; two of them are average, two aspire to be average on their good days and the other three are just flat-out awful. For that group, somehow, to be better defensively than the Lakers, Heat, Spurs and Mavs, among others, defies all common sense. Yet it’s happening, partly because Stan Van Gundy has a strong team concept, but mostly because they have a flyswatter in the middle who is the first guy back in transition, totally dominates the glass and lets everyone else on his team play half a step closer to their man. Howard backs up his case with more traditional stats — the blocks and rebounds, the solid differential — but the greatest case he has comes from scrolling through the other names on the roster, and pondering how on earth that adds up to an elite defensive team.”
- Did you hear? Howard takes too long at the free-throw line.
Against the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday, Dwight Howard picked up his 18th technical foul of the regular season after he got whistled for a 10-second violation at the free-throw line. Henry Abbott of TrueHoop chimes in on the circumstances surrounding the tech.
In a wild and crazy game, the Orlando Magic were able to defeat the Charlotte Bobcats by the score of 111-102 in overtime. With the win, the Magic notched their 50th win of the regular season — the fourth consecutive year with 50 wins or more for the franchise in the Van Gundy era. The victory also sealed the Bobcats’ slim fate of returning to the playoffs. With five games left before the postseason begins, it seemed as if Orlando and Charlotte would go through the motions and play the game just for the sake of playing it. However, the Magic paid a price when Dwight Howard stepped to the free-throw line in the second quarter. Gerald Henderson counted out the seconds as Howard was going through his routine at the charity stripe. Once Henderson reached 10 seconds, Howard was whistled for a violation by Bennett Salvatore and quite frankly, it’s something that should happen more often but referees turn a blind eye more often than not. However, on this occasion, because Henderson was counting out loud, there was no choice but to blow the whistle. Howard did not approve of the call and made it known by throwing the basketball to the baseline away from one of the refs. Immediately, Howard was called for a technical foul by Salvatore, his 18th of the season.
With it, Howard will be suspended for Sunday’s matinee against the Chicago Bulls unless the tech is rescinded. Surprisingly enough, that’s not all for drama. In the fourth quarter, Quentin Richardson got into a scuffle with Henderson after he was called for a foul. Richardson and Henderson exchanged words. Suddenly, something must have been said because Richardson immediately shoved his hands in Henderson’s face, prompting both teams to shove each other. Following the shoving match, Richardson was ejected, while Henderson, Hedo Turkoglu, and Kwame Brown were called for technicals since they were in the middle of the altercation. So a game that meant very little for Orlando turned into a matchup against an enemy.
The Magic were led by a balanced attack, as six players scored in double-figures. Taking the place of Jason Richardson in the starting lineup, Gilbert Arenas was excellent, putting up 25 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field, including making six three-pointers. Brandon Bass had 19 points and eight rebounds, Jameer Nelson had 18 points and nine assists, Turkoglu had 17 points and seven rebounds, while Howard had 15 points, seven rebounds, and six blocks. Coming off the bench, Ryan Anderson finished with 10 points.
- John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “Even now, some eight months later, Orlando Magic superstar center Dwight Howard has flashbacks to July and August when he would spend two to three hours a day in gymnasiums all over the world shooting jumpers and perfecting his hook shot with both hands. Howard was a man in demand last summer, twice traveling to China for promotional appearances, making a third trip to India for the NBA and also spending time in New York and Los Angeles furthering his acting and musical aspirations. But regardless of where he was, Howard would always seek out a gymnasium – usually at U.S. army bases – to perfect his craft and prove that he was far more than just the NBA’s premier defender and rebounder. Howard and the rest of the basketball world see the fruits of all of that work now on a nightly basis as he has boosted his scoring average to easily the best mark of his career (23.2 points per game) while also carrying his Orlando Magic across those broad shoulders of his. “
- How many wins have the Orlando Magic lost due to injuries and illnesses?
- Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk: “When the Magic do stumble in the playoffs, know that it’s not your fault. It may be the midseason trades that didn’t provide much useful debt, especially at point guard (but did tie up future cap space). It might have something to do with inconsistent three point shooting. It might have something to do with teams being able to slow the Magic because they can single-cover Howard.”
- Ironically enough, following the Kendrick Perkins trade and Dwight Howard’s continued development on offense, the Orlando Magic have become the Boston Celtics’ kryptonite according to Tom Haberstroh of ESPN Insider: “The Celtics had an answer for Dwight Howard, but now he plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Perkins was pivotal in neutralizing Howard in the Eastern Conference finals last season, but the Celtics don’t have that weapon in their arsenal anymore. In the two games the Magic played against the Celtics with Perkins in street clothes, Howard and the Magic held the Celtics to 78 points in an eight-point win on Christmas and lost by just three on Boston’s home court in January. Luckily for the Celtics, the playoff seedings likely will keep Howard far, far away from TD Bank Garden, because the earliest the two teams could possibly meet is in the Eastern Conference finals, a would-be rematch of last season’s East title bout.”
- Ken Berger of CBSSports.com: “Magic coach Stan Van Gundy might be right: Some in the media may have already made up their minds that Derrick Rose is the MVP, all evidence be damned. Personally, I haven’t. Even if you’re like me and have been leaning that way for a few weeks, there is plenty of time for careful, thoughtful, and informed analysis before the ballots are due in the NBA office April 14 at 3 p.m. ET.”
- Howard implores Magic fans to believe in the team.