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Orlando Magic News for April 9th: Orlando's Battle for the No. 2 Seed; Vince Carter's Hall of Fame Chances; Award Picks Feature Dwight Howard

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  • John Hollinger: Breaking down the races for NBA playoff seedings - ESPN

    John Hollinger of (subscription required) says he expects both the Orlando Magic and the L.A> Lakers to win out, which would give them identical 59-23 records. As we covered this morning, however, the Lakers own the tiebreaker for the league's second overall playoff seed.

  • Redick's focus on endurance finally paying off

    UPDATE (this bullet only): Art Garcia of writes on J.J. Redick's growth as a player and a professional under Stan Van Gundy, who praises him effusively:

    "J.J. has continued to get better," Van Gundy said. "He works very hard at his game and his conditioning. He's one of the best-conditioned guys in the league. He gets everything he can out of his ability. He's always been smart and tough, now he's learned the NBA game better. He's not going to make many mistakes, he's ahead of the play. He's just a good solid player, and obviously he can put the ball in the basket."

  • Blog | Blog Archive | Keltner List: Vince Carter

    Neil Paine of Baskeball-Reference examines Magic guard Vince Carter's career in great detail in order to determine if Carter is a worthy Hall-of-Famer. Here's an excerpt from the verdict:

    I think that even with the tanking and the intangible concerns, Carter is on the fence and leaning toward falling off on the "deserving" side, pending what happens with Orlando.

  • A few more media members who have official NBA award ballots have made their picks known. They list Dwight Howard as their Defensive Player of the Year. We'll look at those after the jump

  • Marc Stein's Weekend Dime: The Award Winners - ESPN

    Marc Stein of votes Howard, and provides this correction of people who want to discount his defensive impact:

    There is a movement afoot to downgrade the defensive impact that Howard has because he doesn't always keep his blocked shots inbounds postrejection. The movement seems to be gaining more traction than the push that Howard's own team is making to get us know-it-alls with the ballots to consider Howard more strongly for the MVP trophy.

    Let's get real.

  • LeBron James, Brandon Jennings among picks to win NBA awards - Ian Thomsen -

    Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated also picks Howard.

  • SLAM ONLINE | " Links: Our Ballot

    Lang Whitaker of SLAM Online hasn't officially submitted his ballot--"I’m going to take a few days to meditate on this," he says--but concedes "it’s Dwight’s award," though Boston's Rajon Rondo, Atlanta's Josh Smith, and Charlotte's Gerald Wallace are also worth considering.