First, some items about the Orlando Magic's thrilling 109-108 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers last night:
One of the things making Dwight Howard ordinary last night, apart from Joel Pryzbilla's stellar defense, was a strained oblique muscle. Brian Schmitz says the injury is not serious and Dwight will not miss any games. ESPN's John Hollinger, who watched last night's game live, asked Magic coach Stan Van Gundy about the injury:
"It was like he couldn't jump," said Van Gundy, who said Howard was reluctant to make a reaching-up motion for the ball that would stress the muscle. Howard had "just" seven boards, and if I recall correctly, at least two of those were picked up off the floor.
I hope this injury won't nag at him...
Hollinger called last night's Magic/Trail Blazers thriller the best game of the NBA season so far. His ESPN.com colleague Marc Stein concurred. J.E. Skeets and Tas Melas of The Basketball Jones also said it the best game of the season. And the Magic won! That's exciting!
Ben Golliver at Blazer's Edge, SB Nation's Blazer blog, was in the Magic's locker room after the game and gives us this gem of an item on J.J. Redick, who was perhaps a bit loopy after recording his second straight DNP-CD (after four straight starts, no less):
JJ Redick was wearing a redickulous scarf after the game and advised one of his teammates, "How you gonna pay 400 dollars for some jeans and they aren't even custom jeans?" One of life's eternal questions.
And now more general stuff...
- The Washington Wizards and the Charlotte Bobcats, two of Orlando's Southeast Division rivals, made separate, significant trades today. Washington obtained point guard Mike James from New Orleans and
Magic lust objectcombo guard Javaris Crittenton from Memphis. The 'Cats sent shooting guard Jason Richardson, who leads them in scoring with 18.7 points per game, and combo forward Jared Dudley to Phoenix for forward/center Boris Diaw, shooting guard Raja Bell, and point guard Sean Singletary. Clearly, both teams think their seasons can be salvaged. Yes, it's only December, and the Wizards are dead-last in the East... but only 5 games out of a playoff spot. Anyway, I'm more interested to see how the 'Cats' deal goes down. I'd much rather the Suns have to play us shorthanded on Friday.
The other night, I wrote the following about Brian Cook's flagrant foul on Baron Davis:
Cook was called for a flagrant foul when he... uh, he didn't do anything, really, but Davis was in the area and fell down. Davis, who had picked up 1 technical earlier, popped back up and was very eager to have words with the Cookie Monster.
When it happened, I sent this Twitter update:
Bdiddy defies the laws of physics by flopping in midair.
Clearly, I have no idea what I'm talking about, because B. Cook acknowledged he fouled Davis in response to Zach Randolph's flagrant foul on Dwight... and he's not sorry:
"I was upset because, I mean, it was a flagrant foul. [Howard's] my teammate. Everybody should be over there. ... Everybody should be over there," Cook said, repeating himself to emphasize the point.
Cook wants to be the Magic's enforcer, apparently. Fine by me. If he can't put the ball in the basket, at least he can put the other team's punk on the floor. If Davis had gotten ejected, even better. That's a fair trade.
Apropos of nothing: On his official website, Rashard Lewis lists "The Quiet Man" and "Ice" as two of his nicknames. Those are both apt, given 'Shard's usually quiet nature and willingness to take big shots. In light of that, I propose we christen him "The Quieting Man" when he plays on the road. Nothing silences a crowd in an enemy arena quite like a dagger three-pointer, a shot Lewis excels at making. What do you think?