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Orlando Magic News for December 23rd: Jameer Nelson Back in the Starting Lineup; A Quick Look at a Divisional Rival

  • Jameer Nelson will start at point guard tonight vs. the Houston Rockets
    Jameer Nelson will start for the Orlando Magic at point guard against the Houston Rockets tonight.

    Stan Van Gundy just completed his post-shootaround media availability at RDV Sportsplex, and the Orlando Magic coach said Jameer Nelson will start tonight against the Houston Rockets. Van Gundy added that he will not be under any medical staff-imposed playing time restrictions for Nelson.

    "I’m gonna start him tonight," Van Gundy said. "I can do whatever I want with his minutes, and that’s what I was waiting for. Whenever we got to that point, then I was going to start him. It’s just tough to start a guy when you’re only going to play him limited minutes."
  • Postgame report: Rockets 108, Clippers 99
    Jeffrey Martin of the Houston Chronicle previews this evening's game.

    Orlando is entering Game No. 3 in a five-game homestand. The Magic is 21-7, and it's going to be a formidable task for the Rockets to prevail. Houston hasn't won four consecutive games this season yet, so that would be a first. Point guard Jameer Nelson played his first game in more than a month Monday, and he is expected to start against the Rockets. Of course, there's also Dwight Howard to deal with, and don't forget about Vince Carter, who is leading the Magic in scoring at 18.6 points.
  • Wednesday Morning Shootaround
    Benson Taylor of The Baseline writes that the Rockets will have a severe size disadvantage against the Magic.

    With Yao Ming out for the season because of his foot injury, the Rockets knew size would be an issue—that’s the case when you’re left to start a 6-6 center (Chuck Hayes) and a 6-9 power forward (Luis Scola). Houston has had a better-than-expected season, but its lack of inside oomph has been a factor at times—such as Lakers big man Andrew Bynum averaging 19.0 points and 14.0 rebounds in two games against the Rockets this season.

    With that in mind, Dwight Howard might not even have to break out his Superman cape to dominate when Orlando faces Houston tonight (unless hacking Howard proves to be an effective Kryptonite).
  • Can the Hawks win a championship?
    Austin Burton of Dime Magazine wonders if the Atlanta Hawks can win a championship this year.

    Still, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m watching a team that just doesn’t have enough to go all the way. I can’t explain it, but you know how there’s one or two NCAA teams every year that smash the competition throughout the regular season, but you just know in your gut all along they won’t win it all? Last year it was Oklahoma and UConn; in the NBA, it was the Nuggets.

    The Hawks (20-7) are that team this year. Blame the coach — Mike Woodson is one of those types who could win Coach of the Year in 2010 and be fired by 2012 — or blame the players, but I just don’t see this group winning a title, despite how well they’re playing right now. In a seven-game series against a Cleveland or Boston or Orlando, we’d be reminded that [Josh] Smith still can’t shoot, that [Mike] Bibby still can’t run, that [Al] Horford still can’t get any taller. And somewhere, some team will take advantage.