Orlando Magic News for February 12th: The Dwight Howard/Stan Van Gundy "Conflict"

Dwight Howard is fouled by Drew Gooden
Drew Gooden and his considerable beard foul Dwight Howard. The Magic fouled their fans last night, flagrantly, by losing to a tired, undermanned, inferior Cleveland team. But you knew that already.
Photo by Gary W. Green, the Orlando Sentinel
  • I went through my notes from the Magic's first game against Cleveland this preseason as part of the China Games. Notable passage:

    Hughes shoots over Nelson, draws foul (will be a problem all season).

    Observations like that are why they pay me the big bucks. Wait, I do this for free. Oops.

  • The "little bit of conflict" between Dwight Howard and Stan Van Gundy has gotten a lot more press than it's worth; SportsCenter even devoted a brief segment to it. I don't think it's a big deal at all, especially now that they've talked it over (hat-tip: John Denton). As Dwight says, it's like when family members get into a disagreement with one another. It's normal. However, I agree with Brian Schmitz when he says that Stan better watch how he treats Dwight, lest he find himself unemployed.
    • By the way, the statistics indeed bear out Stan's argument that Dwight needs to focus more on his defense:
      • In games in which Dwight lead his team or tied for the team's lead in scoring, the Magic are 11-23.
      • In Magic wins, Dwight averages 20.6 points on 11.3 field goal attempts. In Magic losses, Dwight averages 23.3 points on 13.7 field goal attempts.
    • However, I still think the Magic need to do a better job of feeding him the ball late in games. Foul-line liability or not, he's a dependable scorer. And, as I noted a few weeks ago, Adam Hoff agrees.
  • On a much lighter note, Dwight has posted a video of him practicing for the Sprite Slam Dunk contest happening this Saturday night. (hat-tip: FanHouse)
  • The Magic have their own YouTube channel (via J.E. Skeets at Ball Don't Lie)
  • The first four pictures in the Orlando Sentinel's photo gallery of last night's game depict, in order:
    • LeBron James dunking on Keith Bogans, who is on the seat of his pants;
    • LeBron James shooting over Keith Bogans, again on the seat of his pants;
    • LeBron James driving by Keith Bogans and Jameer Nelson;
    • and LeBron James driving past just Keith Bogans
    Well, you can't spell "defensive specialist" without "special," I suppose.
  • Hardwood Paroxysm has Round 6 of Blogger MVP and RoY rankings. Dwight has really slipped out of contention at this point, and I didn't even have him in my top 10. Guess where Hedo Turkoglu's single vote came from...
  • It wasn't from David Stern. On Sunday, the NBA's Commissioner named Rasheed Wallace to the Eastern All-Star team to replace Kevin Garnett, who will miss the game with an abdominal injury. Yes, Hedo Turkoglu is probably having a better season, but Wallace's selection doesn't bother me. His skill-set is more similar to Garnett's than Turkoglu's is. Congratulations, Rasheed.
    • Turk still has a chance to make the team if Caron Butler skips the game due to hip trouble. Josh Smith also merits consideration, but I don't buy for a second that Ray Allen does. First, he's not even having that great a season. His per 36 minute scoring (17.3) is his worst since his rookie year, when he scored 15.7 points per 36 (See basketball-reference.) Second, he doesn't even remotely play Butler's position. Third, a given team's record shouldn't dictate how many All-Stars it has. An All-Star roster spot is an individual honor, not a team one.
  • The Eastern Conference Powerless Rankings are up at Basketbawful. Matt from Hardwood Paroxysm writes, "You can't spell 'elite' without Hedo. Okay, you can. That's probably a good sign as to the Magic's chances of becoming elite." There's still time before the trading deadline! We can get better! Oh, wait. Otis Smith. Yeah, Matt's got a point.
  • 3QC's next post, which will feature some charts and graphs (probably just graphs), should be up later tonight or sometime tomorrow. The subject is defense, and the outlook is grim.
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