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Tonight's Game: Orlando Magic vs. Houston Rockets

Before getting into today's (brief) preview, I'd like to share this bit of news with you: Hardwood Paroxysm has taken on the task of hosting the NBA Bloggers Awards, which will be voted on by blog readers in April. I'm proud to say that my fellow bloggers have nominated Third Quarter Collapse for Rookie Blog of the Year, along with Brew Hoop, The Dinosty, Yahoo! NBA Experts, and... Hardwood Paroxysm. Thanks to my fellow bloggers, for putting me on the ballot, and to you readers, for getting the word out. You can read the full awards ballot at this link. Thank you, once again, for your support.

And now, your regularly scheduled programming...

Orlando Magic main logo
Houston Rockets main logo
22-12 15-17
Amway Arena
7:00 PM
FSN Florida
Probable starters:
Carlos Arroyo PG Rafer Alston
Keith Bogans SG Luther Head
Hedo Turkoglu SF Shane Battier
Rashard Lewis PF Chuck Hayes
Dwight Howard C Yao Ming

The Magic handled the Rockets fairly well the last time they played, despite trailing by double-digits early on. The Rockets were playing with a hobbled Tracy McGrady, who shot just 1-of-10 before sitting out the rest of the game. No thanks to a strained tendon, he won't be in uniform tonight, much to the chagrin of the Magic fans who bought a ticket for tonight's game for the express purpose of booing him. Steve Francis, another Magic-player-turned-boo-bird-target, has dropped out of the Rockets' rotation due to sucking horribly bi-lateral quadricep tendinitis. Although we won't be able to vent our frustrations on goats from Magic seasons passed, at least we'll get to see a battle of the game's two best centers: Yao Ming and Dwight Howard.

For the record, grungedave from The Dream Shake, a new Rockets blog, has guaranteed a victory for his team tonight:

With Golden State and Boston out of the way, the Rockets should win their next four - with or without T-Mac. (Magic, Knicks, Wizards, Knicks)


We'll see about that.

After the Nets' offensively-challenged trio of Malik Allen, Darrell Armstrong, and Jason Collins scored in double-figures against us the other night, I'm worried that one or two lightly-regarded Rockets will go nuts against us tonight. My money is on Luis Scola and Aaron Brooks, but given Houston coach Rick Adelman's inconsistent substitution patterns, there's no way to predict if they'll get enough playing time to do any damage.

On a personal note, it's a sad day in the Rock household, as we said goodbye to a dear friend. If that's all the personal information you care to know, that's fine. If you want to read just a bit more, there's another paragraph with additional information after the jump.

Scarlett was our cat for nearly 15 years; to put that age into perspective, we got her as a kitten the same summer the Magic drafted Penny Hardaway. She was a victim of old age, as her kidneys failed her and her body became toxic. Several days of hospitalization and treatment couldn't help her, and we simply could not let her suffer for any longer. It was a very difficult decision, but it's one that we had to make. Without getting too sentimental, I'll just say it's days like today that really put basketball into perspective. I don't know what I'd give for Scarlett to be healthy again, but I know it'd be a lot. We miss you, big girl.

Sorry for burdening you with that upsetting information, and thanks for indulging me. See you at tipoff. Go Magic.