The NBA: Magic King-Dumb

Stan Van Gundy's team is 3rd in the East, but, faced with uncertainty surrounding
Dwight Howard and inconsistent play, he's far from happy.
(image from Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

*Unless otherwise specified, all images are from the Associated Press.

“I don’t think there’s any push to be better or any push to be great. If there is, it doesn’t show up in games.” – Stan Van Gundy on the lackluster play of his Orlando Magic

The Orlando Magic, Dwight Howard’s team, the 3rd best team in the East at the moment, just lost to the Charlotte Bobcats, Corey Maggette’s team, the team with the WORST record in whole league at the moment.

I gues I’d be pissed, too, if I coached that Magic team that was dispelled by the Cats.

Based on several game accounts, the Magic let the Bobcats in not because Charlotte was uber brilliant, but mainly because the Magic have a bad habit of getting uber lazy.

Needless to say, they paid for it.

This, though, has to be said – Orlando should cut its losses and trade the Big D. I’m sold on them waiting till the very last second to pull the trigger on a potentially team-changing deal, but I’m not sold on the impression that Orlando will not even trade Dwight when the trade deadline lapses.

There’s a sinister side of me that really thinks the Magic are dumb enough to believe Howard will re-sign mid-2012.

The problem is he won’t. No way. No way in hell. No two ways about it.

And especially given how they played against Charlotte? I don’t think the Magic strengthened its bargaining position.

Dwight Howard will leave, whether in a trade, or thru free agency. The question is will Orlando be bold enough to get someone in exchange for Dwight before March 15, or will they succumb to their naiveté and pray Dwight signs with them again?

I’m calling it now – Dwight will be traded to the New Jersey Nets. Anything else would be a big surprise for me.

I think Orlando is planning to really keep Dwight, and though I believe it’s a ballsy move, I don’t think the Magic have presented him with compelling enough reasons to stay put.

After the JUMP, March 6, 2012 stat-stuffers:

CHA over ORL, 100-84
Corey Maggette scored a game-high 29 points and pulled down 7 rebounds as the Bobcats came from 20 points down in the second quarter to complete the comeback victory over the Orlando Magic. Gerald Henderson added 16 points, while Bismack Biyombo filled the stat sheet with 10 points, a career-high 15 boards and 7 blocked shots to snap a five-game losing streak for the Bobcats. The Magic saw their two-game win streak come to an end.

ATL over IND, 101-96
Josh Smith had 27 points and 9 rebounds in the Hawks' win over the Pacers. Jannero Pargo added 16 points while Zaza Pachulia had 12 and 10 rebounds for the Hawks, who began a six-game road trip with a victory. They have won three in a row -- all without leading scorer Joe Johnson. David West scored 24 points to lead the Pacers, who have dropped two straight after a season-high six-game win streak.

MIA over NJN, 108-78
LeBron James had 21 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists as the Heat cruised over the Nets. Chris Bosh returned from a three-game absence and finished with 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting. The Heat shot 58.4 percent, made 10-of-17 three-pointers and handed out 30 assists to halt just their second two-game losing streak of the season. Miami guard Dwyane Wade tweaked his ankle late in the second quarter and sat out the remainder of the contest. New Jersey’s Brook Lopez was out with a right ankle sprain, which he suffered against the Bobcats. He is expected to miss three weeks.

BOS over HOU, 97-92 (OT)
Paul Pierce scored seven points in overtime en route to a 30-point night to lead the Celtics to a over the Houston Rockets. Ray Allen added 21 points, while Kevin Garnett recorded a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds as the Celtics matched their longest winning streak of the season with their fifth- straight victory. Kyle Lowry filled the stat sheet with 18 points, 7 boards and 7 assists as the Rockets dropped their fourth straight contest.

DET over LAL, 88-85 (OT)
Rodney Stuckey scored 34 points, including a critical three-pointer in the final seconds of regulation, and the Detroit Pistons bested the Los Angeles Lakers in overtime. Jason Maxiell had a double-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds and Ben Gordon finished with 15 points and 5 boards for the Pistons, who have won two of three. Andrew Bynum netted 30 points and grabbed 14 boards, Pau Gasol had 20 and 10 and Kobe Bryant donated 22 points for the Lakers, who saw a three-game winning streak snapped.

DAL over NYK, 95-85
Dirk Nowitzki paced all scorers with 28 points as the Mavericks held off a late surge from the Knicks to take the victory. Rodrigue Beaubois came off the bench to score 18, and Jason Kidd added a season-high 15 points to go with 6 assists for Dallas, which has won two of its last three games. Amar'e Stoudemire led the Knicks, who lost their third straight road game, with 26 points while pulling down 7 boards.

Super Scorers (Top scorers of the night!)
Rodney Stuckey (DET) – 34
Paul Pierce (BOS) & Andrew Bynum (LAL) – 30
Corey Maggette (CHA) – 29
Dirk Nowitzki (DAL) – 28

Ragin’ Rebounders (Top rebounders of the night!)
Dwight Howard (ORL) & Samuel Dalembert (HOU) – 17
Bismack Biyombo (CHA) & Greg Monroe (DET) – 15

Samuel Dalembert has been a rebound demon for
the Houston Rockets this season.
(image from Elsa/Getty Images)

Dynamic Dishers (Top playmakers of the night!)
Rajon Rondo (BOS) – 12
Jeff Teague (ATL) – 9
Kemba Walker (CHA) & DJ Augustin (CHA) – 8 

Terrific Thieves (Top thieves of the night!)
A LOT with 3!

Boomin’ Blockers (Top blockers of the night!)
Bismack Biyombo (CHA) – 7
Pau Gasol (LAL) – 4
Shawn Marion (DAL) & Andrew Bynum (LAL) – 3

Sharpshooters (Top 3-point shooters of the night!)
Steve Novak (NYK), JJ Redick (ORL), & Jannero Pargo (ATL) – 4

Steve Novak has risen as one of the top
snipers in the East.

March 6, 2012 First Five
C – Andrew Bynum (LAL) – 30pts, 14rebs, 3blks, 2asts
F – Pau Gasol (LAL) – 20pts, 10rebs, 6asts, 4blks
F – Josh Smith (ATL) – 27pts, 9rebs, 2asts, 1stl, 1blk
G – LeBron James (MIA) – 21pts, 9rebs, 6asts
G – Rodney Stuckey (DET) – 34pts, 1rebs, 1ast

Rodney Stuckey caught fire as the Pistons
ambushed the Lakers.

Honorable Mention:
Paul Pierce (BOS) – 30pts, 6rebs, 2asts, 2stls
Core Maggette (CHA) – 29pts, 7rebs, 1stl
Amar’e Stoudemire (NYK) – 26pts, 7rebs, 1ast, 1stl

Daily Zap:


*Game recaps were compiled and compressed from the Sports Network.
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