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Orlando Magic News for January 17th: A Close Look at Dwight Howard's Struggles on Offense; the Orlando Magic Aren't the Only Title Contender Struggling

  • Improvement on offense is coming slowly for Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard
    Josh Robbins elaborates on Dwight Howard's struggles on offense.

    During the entire 2007-08 and 2008-09 regular seasons combined, Howard had just seven games in which he scored fewer than 10 points.

    To be sure, the team has faced significant hurdles that have hampered Howard. The arrival of scorer Vince Carter has reduced the number of shots that Howard and other players take. Point guard Jameer Nelson's return from a knee injury after a 16-game absence has disrupted the offense's rhythm. And the entire team continues to adjust to an offseason roster overhaul.

    Yet some critics believe Howard didn't work on his game during a busy summer that included trips to China, South Africa and to Los Angeles to pitch a reality show and appear in two movies.

    Howard insists he spent hours in the gym during the offseason. Two training specialists, Bryan Meyer and Korey McCray, accompanied Howard as the superstar crisscrossed North America. Meyer supervised Howard's conditioning efforts, while McCray, a former point guard at Mercer University, helped with Howard's on-court skills. One popular Internet video clip shot during the summer months shows Howard making midrange jumper after midrange jumper.
  • Here's what opposing coaches and players are saying about Dwight Howard
    Click on the link for more quotes from coaches and players.

    No one denies that Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard is a dominant defender and rebounder. But he has struggled offensively in recent weeks. Here's what some people told the Orlando Sentinel about the superstar and how teams are trying to stop him. [...]

    "The guys that have been able to neutralize him can do one of two things. In Boston's case, they're big and physical and they play under him and they try to root him off his sweet spot, which is in the paint. The other thing is if you're long and quick like [ Joakim] Noah from Chicago, you can try to do that, but when he gets around, you can use your size and your speed to try to front him." —Indiana Pacers coach Jim O'Brien
  • Celtics' Title Hopes Are Fading Fast
    Tim Povtak of NBA FanHouse writes that the Boston Celtics' window of opportunity to win another title has closed due to age and health.

    Great players can hang on well into their 30s by using their experience to get by if they remain healthy. But those Celtics back then were battling through injuries every season, still good enough to stay close and win 50 games, but giving way to younger, more athletic champions.

    That's what's happening now in Boston, everyone wishing they could all get healthy together for an extended period of time to build some continuity. Problem is, that's not happening. The Celtics are on pins and needles now every time Garnett winces. There is no switch for him to flick on and off. They don't have much time. [...]

    As the season progresses, it's likely that the Cavs will pull away and both the Magic, who also are struggling now, and the Hawks, will pass the Celtics in the Eastern Conference, which means no home court advantage beyond the first round.
    In my opinion, it's too soon to count out Boston.
  • Celtics Hope Rest, Laughter Are Help They Need
    The Baseline has more on the Celtics.

    It’s been a bit of a tough stretch for the Celtics over their past 10 games. They’re only 4-6 during that span, and their loss Thursday night against the Bulls was their sixth at home this season—matching their number of losses for each of the last two seasons, with half of the schedule to go. Perhaps a bit of a break in the schedule is all they need. Boston’s game Thursday was its fourth in five days, and sixth in the previous nine. But now they are in the midst of a three-day stretch without a game before facing the Mavs on Monday.