Dwight Howard says a recent players-only meeting has improved the Orlando Magic’s team chemistry and made him a better leader
Josh Robbins reports that Magic center Dwight Howard called a players-only meeting after the team's win over the Boston Celtics on January 28th. In the meeting, veteran center Adonal Foyle encouraged Howard to take a more active leadership role, which Howard seems to have embraced.
Howard noted that 13-year NBA veteran center Adonal Foyle spoke up during the meeting and asked Howard to be more businesslike.
"I think it kind of helped me," Howard explained. "It was sort of like a heart-to-heart with all the guys. Adonal said some things to me that I needed to hear. It’s something that I think just put me in the right position to lead this team. It was simple. He said, ‘In order for us to be successful, you’ve got to be that leader, vocal and by example on the floor, but also you have to have a respect of your teammates.’
The Magic re-signed Foyle, who has yet to appear in a game this season, to a minimum contract in August for his ability to spar with Howard in practice and to be a steadying presence in the locker-room.
Vince Carter's big night
Carter's 48-point explosion against the Hornets on Monday night has given Magic fans hope that Vince will be able to turn it around after all. For Magic fans, the most heartening thing about Vince's performance shouldn't be how many points Carter scored, but how he got them. During the Magic's fourth-quarter comeback, Carter was on fire from the outside. Carter hit two tough mid-range jumpers and three three-pointers in the fourth quarter of Monday's game, scoring 13 points on eight shots from outside the paint. Many of those jumpers were contested shots off the dribble with a very high degree of difficulty, classic superstar shots. The highlights show just how dialed in Vince was in that fourth quarter, and how he's still capable of taking over a game when he's firing on all cylinders.
What the highlights won't preserve is that before his amazing fourth quarter, Carter got himself going by taking the ball to the rim time and time again.
Jerry Stackhouse on Vince Carter's bad season
Jerry Stackhouse appeared on the radio a few hours prior to the Magic's game against the Hornets. He last spoke to Carter last Tuesday when Stackhouse's Bucks visited Orlando. In their conversation, Carter said his knee wasn't "right."
Dwight Howard is moving closer to a one-game suspension, but not quite as close as first thought
Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel spoke with "a league communications official" who said that Howard has 12 technical fouls this season, not 13 as previously reported, due to the rescinding of a technical against him against Indiana.
NBA Power Rankings: Where Teams Look Ahead To The All-Star Break
Mike Prada of SB Nation lists the Magic third in this week's power rankings. The Magic really impressed him last week.
But the point is, when they're on, Orlando is arguably the best team in the league. The key now is being able to do that consistently. Undoubtedly, the consistency would have happened sooner if Carter got with the program, but it's looking like he has, and that means the rest of the team should soon fall in line.
UPDATE (from Eddy): Via the Orlando Magic:
As part of the Orlando Magic’s "Commitment to the Past," fan-favorite guard Darrell Armstrong will be honored by the organization when the Magic host Dallas on Friday, Feb. 19 at Amway Arena. Game time is 8 p.m.
Interview with FC Barcelona's Pete Mickeal on Ricky Rubio, Fran Vazquez, More
UPDATE 2 (from Eddy): M. Haubs of The Painted Area interviews FC Barcelona's Pete Mickael, a teammate of Fran Vazquez. Here's what he had to say about Vazquez, who was drafted by the Magic in the 2005 NBA Draft but decided to remain overseas:
I speak to Fran every day, he has the next locker to me, so I probably have more communication with him than most of the other guys. The thing about the Orlando situation is that he’s never commented on it. He has never said one word about it, and with me, if a guy doesn’t say anything about it, I’m not going to force him to talk about it (laughs). He hasn’t said one word about it, ever.
Fran is the type of guy who goes about his business. He does his job, he’s a very humble guy, and he leads by example. He’s not a big talker. He’s one of those blue-collar guys. He goes to work, he’s gonna play defense, he’s gonna block shots. He’s gonna dunk everything close to the basket. It doesn’t matter where, he’s dunking it.
I’ll tell you what: Orlando could use a guy like Fran Vazquez. With the screen-and-roll, the guy can shoot jump shots at the top of the key very, very well, and he also can roll to the basket and finish. He has a great combination of skills that are very rare for European big guys. He loves the top-of-the-key jump shot, that’s his favorite shot. And he also loves to roll to the basket for the alley-oop and you can throw the ball anywhere close to the basket, and 9 times out of 10, he’s gonna finish it.
Prospectus Hoops List: Week ending Feb. 7, 2010
UPDATE 3 (from Eddy): Bradford Doolittle of Basketball Prospectus chimes in on Orlando.
The Magic keeps tantalizing its fans with flashes of greatness, only to slip in a stinker just when you think it's all coming together. Orlando is showing signs of latching onto the second seed in the East, though there is still a lot of hoops left to play. Vince Carter's 48-point explosion on Monday was tremendous, but it also masked the fact that the Magic had to overcome a sizable fourth-quarter deficit on its home floor to beat New Orleans, which was playing without Chris Paul. Orlando has won six of seven, but the loss was on its home floor to Washington. Orlando is still finding its way.