The NBA: No More Magic Left

Dwight Howard knows there's no magic left in Orlando.

*All images are from the Associated Press. 

"I remember, there was this other large person (Shaquille O'Neal), now a television commentator, who once left. And I think I saw Orlando blossom and thrive and build a new arena. So I think this is not a life-threatening event when players move." – David Stern to the Orlando Sentinel

Yeah, sure, easy for you to say, Commish. Your head won’t roll WHEN Dwight Howard jumps ship.

And, yes, he will definitely jump ship.

Because, quite frankly, their 11-5 record notwithstanding, there’s simply no magic left in Orlando.

That doesn’t mean they’re not a good team, because they are. And, yes, Big D is a BIG part of that, but so is their coach, Stan Van Gundy. He’s a trooper, that one. He’ll work with what he’s got, and he’ll shape them up into a well-oiled machine.

But wins don’t necessarily translate to magic, folks. Not when regular season success has not necessarily translated into regular postseason success. And after last season’s snafu that saw them getting kicked out of the first round, there’s even less evidence of wizardry on this side of Florida.

This simply means the Magic will probably never go back to the NBA Finals with Dwight Howard. Because, quite simply, Dwight Howard will leave them. It’ll happen either 1) on or before the trade deadline, or 2) after the season as a free agent or in a sign-and-trade scenario. The only way the Magic can realistically keep Dwight is if they get an all-world PG to don the Magic jersey, or if they make a miracle run at the NBA championship in June 2012.

Both are highly unlikely, to say the least.

And with Jameer Nelson’s performance dipping significantly in terms of points, FG% and 3pt%, the big guy’s need for a quality PG to backstop him becomes even more glaring.

Orlando is doing pretty well. They will make the playoffs. They will end the season with more Ws than Ls.

But, still, they won’t be able to keep Dwight Howard. Because all those things, good as they sound, just aren’t enough to convince him there’s any magic left.

After the JUMP, key stat-stuffers for today’s games:

PHI over WAS, 103-83 – Six guys finished in double-figures for the Sixers in their rout of the Wizards, and Andre Iguodala wasn’t even one of them.
BOS over ORL, 87-56 – How can an NBA team score just 56 points in 48 minutes? Much less, 20 points in 24 minutes? And against the aging Boston Celtics at that?
HOU over MIN, 107-92 – Kyle Lowry’s triple double and Kevin Martin’s 31 points helped deflate Kevin Love’s monster 39-12 output.
SAS over NOH, 104-102 – Tony Parker’s 17 dimes, TD’s 28 points, and RJ’s 4 triples helped the Spurs slog thru just their 5th win in the last 10 games. The Hornets, meanwhile, have dropped 8 in a row.
CHI over NJN, 110-95 – D-Rose matched Rip’s 22-point effort as the Bulls continued making minced meat of their Eastern foes. They are 3-0 in the Central Division and 10-1 against all Eastern opponents. Shudder in fear.
ATL over MIL, 97-92 – Brandon Jennings had another big night, but his fellow starters combined for just 27 total points. That’s one point lower than Joe Johnson’s 28-point total for the whole game. Ouch.
OKC over DET, 99-79 – Just going thru the motions for the Thunder, who were led by James Harden’s 24 points thanks to 5 conversions from downtown.
DAL over PHX, 93-87 – Big win for the Dirk-less Mavs, who leaned on the unexpectedly sharp sniping of Shawn Marion to hand the Suns their 6th loss on the road this season.
POR over SAC, 101-89 – The Blazers outscored the Kings 53-35 in the middle two quarters to put this one away. Jamal Crawford came off the pine to drop 26 points and dish out 5 assists.
MEM over GSW, 91-90 – The Warriors nursed a 16-point bubble to start the 4th period, and then things got crazy. And fast. Tony Allen put the clamps on Monta Ellis while scoring 10 of his 14 points in the fourth frame. Mike Conley and Marreese Speights also did well, combining for 17 points in that furious final flourish.

Super Scorers (Top scorers of the night!)
Kevin Love (MIN) – 39
Kevin Martin (HOU) – 31
Shawn Marion (DAL) – 29
Tim Duncan (SAS) & Joe Johnson (ATL) – 28

For all their flare, Kevin Love and the Minnesota Timberwolves
haven't show much consistency in their play.

Ragin’ Rebounders (Top rebounders of the night!)
Marcin Gortat (PHX) – 17
LaMarcus Aldridge (POR) – 16
Samuel Dalembert (HOU) – 15

Dynamic Dishers (Top playmakers of the night!)
Tony Parker (SAS) – 17
Steve Nash (PHX) & Ricky Rubio (MIN) – 12

Terrific Thieves (Top thieves of the night!)
Kevin Garnett (BOS) & Tony Allen (MEM) – 5
Jason Terry (DAL) – 4

Boomin’ Blockers (Top blockers of the night!)
Serge Ibaka (OKC) – 5
Emeka Okafor (NOH), Marcin Gortat (PHX), Ian Mahinmi (DAL) & Josh Smith (ATL) – 3

Serge Ibaka rejects a shot from
rookie hotshot MarShon Brooks.
Sharpshooters (Top 3-point shooters of the night!)
James Harden (OKC) & Kevin Love (MIN) – 5
Shawn Marion (DAL), Richard Jefferson (SAS) & Kevin Martin (HOU) – 4

Jan. 23, 2012 First Five
C – Marcin Gortat (PHX) – 19pts, 17rebs, 3blks, 2asts
F – Kevin Love (MIN) – 39pts, 12rebs, 5 triples, 1ast, 1stl
F – Josh Smith (ATL) – 19pts, 13rebs, 4asts, 3blks, 1stl
G – Jarrett Jack (NOH) – 26pts, 9asts, 6rebs
G – Tony Parker (SAS) – 20pts, 17asts, 2rebs

Honorable Mention:
Richard Hamilton (CHI) – 22pts, 10asts, 4rebs
Brandon Jennings (MIL) – 21pts, 11asts, 5rebs, 3 triples, 2stls, 2blks
James Harden (OKC) – 24pts, 5rebs, 5 triples, 4asts

Richard Hamilton ripped the Nets for
22 points and 10 assists.

For a full summary of the day, here’s today’s NBA Daily Zap:

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