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What They're Saying Before the Orlando Magic Face Off Against the Chicago Bulls

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  • Dwight Howard is proving critics wrong by providing service with a smile. He’s a puppy dog with a bite.
    George Diaz states that, despite receiving criticism left and right, Dwight Howard keeps on keeping on.

    A lot of people — columnists, NBA Hall of Famers, Joe in the 27th row — have gone Dog Whisperer on Howard, suggesting he isn't fit to be the pack leader because he's just too warm and fuzzy and amiable. Howard's comeback has been to unleash the beast, and it's been pretty incredible to watch.
  • Orlando Magic notebook: Orlando Magic power forward Brandon Bass will continue as Rashard Lewis’ primary backup at least for tonight
    Josh Robbins shares news that head coach Stan Van Gundy plans on continuing to play Brandon Bass for the time being.

    "A lot of times what I've been doing now with some of these teams is having Rashard start the second quarter so I can sort of see who the other team is going to play," Van Gundy said Wednesday. "But we've won six in a row, and it's been Brandon playing. So, when you're going real well, I'm a little hesitant to sort of break up what's going on. So, he'll probably be the guy back in here again tomorrow [tonight against the Chicago Bulls]. That doesn't mean that the other guy won't get in there, but right now, I'm not going to break up what we're doing."

More after the jump.

  • Orlando Magic forward Matt Barnes fires back at the Los Angeles Lakers’ Lamar Odom in response to continued trash talk from Odom
    Apparently, Matt Barnes has had enough with Lamar Odom.

    Orlando Magic forward Matt Barnes has a message for the Los Angeles Lakers' Lamar Odom: Take this dirty diaper and be quiet.

    Irked by Odom's continued trash talk, Barnes posted a message on Twitter on Wednesday in which Barnes said he might need to take one of his twin sons' dirty diapers and stick it into Odom's mouth. [...]

    "He just won't leave it alone," Barnes said. "The game is over with. The game was on Sunday. It was one game, you know what I mean? And they act like the world's going to end. I've taken the high road the whole time. I've never disrespected no one on their team. I gave them all their due they need and they've earned. He just won't shut up. I was just in a funny mood this morning."
  • Even Chicago Bulls coach admits team in deep trouble
    K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune explains why head coach Vinny Del Negro isn't too optimistic about the Chicago Bulls' chances of winning games.

    That injury situation worsened Wednesday with the news that an MRI revealed Luol Deng suffered a Grade 1 or 2 strain of his right calf muscle, Brad Miller hurt his left thumb and Taj Gibson may miss Thursday's game in Orlando with plantar fasciitis.

    Though Deng will accompany the Bulls on their two-game trip to Florida — they play in Miami Friday — Del Negro said Deng "is going to be out for a bit" and it's unlikely he will play in either game.

    That means rookie James Johnson could start. If Gibson can't go, Hakim Warrick should start. And if Miller can't go, um, well, then what?

    "We might have to bring (player development coaches Lindsey Hunter and Randy Brown) out of retirement," Del Negro cracked. "Maybe we'll play small tomorrow — real small. But it's hard to do that when you have that guy in the middle down in Orlando."

    That would be All-Star center Dwight Howard, a matchup nightmare even for fully healthy teams.
  • Bulls mailbag for March 10, 2010
    Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago answers some questions, like this one:

    Victor (Monroe, La.)

    Do you think the Bulls will make the playoffs this year?

    I've gotten this question a lot over the last week. If you had asked me two weeks ago, the answer was easy: Yes. Now, there is a lot more doubt. I think it boils down to this -- if Noah can come back soon and play somewhat like he did earlier in the year, then yes. If he can't (which is the most likely scenario) then no.
  • Chicago Bulls' Luol Deng, Brad Miller and Taj Gibson miss practice
    More on the Bulls' injury woes.