Orlando Magic 109, Denver Nuggets 98: The Afternoon After

Dwight Howard grabs a rebound over Marcus Camby
Dwight Howard hauls in a rebound as Marcus Camby looks on in the Orlando Magic's 109-98 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Monday night. Howard regained the league's lead in rebounds per game with his 24-rebound performance.
Photo by Fernando Medina, NBAE/Getty Images

Okay, I'm taking my All-Star break early. Enjoy these other takes on last night's 109-98 Magic win over the Nuggets, as well as a few other odds-and-ends. See you on the other side of Sunday.

  • Basketbawful included Maurice Evans in his Worst of the Night feature:

    Maurice Evans: If there's a wink link in the Magic's daisy chain, it's their backcourt. And that weakness was on display last night, as Evans scored 2 points on 1-for-8 shooting. You know, starting 2-guards are supposed to score. That's what they do. But Evans is averaging 7.6 PPG. And it's not like he's much of a playmaker, either (1.1. APG).

    And yet I still think the Magic would be wise to re-sign "Mogans" to a short-term deal this summer. Despite last night's egg, he's played well as a starter overall, and his defense is still above-average.

  • Basketbawful, writing this time at Deadspin, has the following to say about Dwight Howard's monster performance. Superbad references abound:

    Okay, calm down. Calm down, she likes you. She wants to [perform fellatio]. That's a good thing. It's the best. I'm guessing a lot of people will want to [perform fellatio on Dwight Howard] after he sunk the Denver Nuggets' battleship with 23 points and 24 rebounds, and that includes his coach, Stan Van Gundy, who called Howard out for a lack of effort after the Magic lost to Cleveland on Monday. During the postgame press conference, Van Gundy said, "We've seen games like this out of him before. It's not like Stan Van Gundy's a motivational genius and got Dwight to play." Hm. Maybe, maybe not. But Matt McHale wonders why Van Gundy speaks in the third person. Matt McHale thinks that's weird, but then, what does Matt McHale know? (I'll tell you: He knows that the Magic won 109-98.)

  • Brian Schmitz says in his game recap Dwight's teammates want him to wear a Superman cape in the dunk contest this weekend.
  • Lost in the commotion over Dwight's stellar night are the great second-half performances of Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu. Sweet Lew had arguably his best game in Magic white-and-blue, scoring 14 of his 25 points in the decisive third-quarter; he also added 7 rebounds. Turk, meanwhile, recovered from foul trouble to score 12 points in the fourth to put the Nuggets away for good.
  • Also don't forget to note Jameer Nelson's poor game: 6-of-15 shooting for 13 points. Yuck. Still, can I legitimately complain when we managed to beat one of the league's better teams despite our starting backcourt going 7-of-23 for 15 points?
  • After last week's loss to the Lakers, I wrote that Pau Gasol got away with some flops. Hardwood Paroxysm has video evidence that Gasol is, indeed, a flopper.
  • More from Schmitz, who wonders if Carlos Arroyo and J.J. Redick are on the trading block. I don't think Redick will have to be included in every possible trade scenario, but he almost certainly will have to go if the other team is willing to take on Pat Garrity.
  • Kurt Thomas, a potential Magic trade target, figures to see his playing time decline in Seattle during the second half of the season, as the Sonics want to play the kids a little more. From the Seattle Times (via SuperSonicSoul):

    Coach P.J. Carlesimo intends to use the second half of the season to evaluate players such as C Robert Swift, C Johan Petro, G Luke Ridnour, swingman Delonte West and Gelebale at the expense of others, including starters.

    Might be time to make that phone call, Otis.

Enjoy your weekend, the All-Star festivities, and Valentine's Day. For those of you who are interested in the Nets potentially trading Jason Kidd to Dallas, check out Mavs Moneyball. Wes Cox was not too happy with the deal when it was announced.

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