Cavaliers (43-13) vs. Magic (37-19)
Time/TV: 1 p.m./ABC
Key Matchup: Antawn Jamison (20.0 PPG, 8.8 RPG this season; 18.5 PPG, 10.0 RPG vs. Magic; 2 points, 0-12 FG vs. Charlotte on Friday) vs. Rashard Lewis (14.8 PPG, 40.1% 3FG%; 19 points, 6-14 FG vs. Cleveland on Feb. 11)
Season Series: Lost 102-93 in Orlando; Lost 115-106 in Cleveland; Today in Orlando; April 11 in Orlando
-Stan Van Gundy is (half-jokingly) confused by some recent criticisms of Dwight Howard, Josh Robbins writes for The Orlando Sentinel’s Magic BasketBlog.
-Speaking of Stan Van Gundy, the coach talked to a few players individually Saturday to reign in early 3-point shots.
-Dwight Howard was a little peeved that Shaquille O’Neal ignored him at All-Star weekend. I think it is safe to say, Howard has given up his big brother image of O’Neal and that the rivalry is on.
-Mike Bianchi of The Orlando Sentinel points out that the talk surrounding this year’s Cavaliers is awfully similar to last year when everyone assumed Cleveland would meet the Lakers in the Finals.
-Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com writes the Cavaliers did not want to put LeBron James or Shaquille O’Neal to have to approve a trade at the deadline.
-Bill Livingston of Cleveland.com asks Browns’ defensive coordinator Rob Ryan his take of the Dwight Howard-Shaquille O’Neal squabble. He clearly does not watch a lot of basketball as he uses O’Neal’s titles as a defense (umm… O’Neal has played since 1992, Howard has played since 2005. Tough comparison there). Ryan apparently has a history of trash talking and claims some authority to speaking.
-In Brian Windhorst’s “Ask Brian” section in Cleveland.com, he points out that the Cavaliers would have to drop a player in order to re-sign Zydrunas Ilgauskas if he accepts a buyout.
-Antawn Jamison is one of the most respected and well-liked players in the NBA. And that showed in how he thoughtfully and patiently answered questions after an 0-for-12 performance in his first game as a Cavalier against the Bobcats on Friday.
-Brian Windhorst of Cleveland.com writes about the current NBA trading market where Cleveland “bought” Antawn Jamison — along with about $15 million of extra cap — and more than a few teams were in the market to “sell” their players. LeBron James certainly looms in all of this.
-Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post believes Orlando did a lot of things right in the team’s loss in Cleveland two months ago. But it will be important to take advantage of the Cavaliers struggling defense and ensure Dwight Howard is on the floor to get a win today.
-Fear The Sword blogger JeffAtTheBBC writes today’s game is a clear statement game and points out Orlando has struggled (0-4) against the three teams ahead of them in the NBA standings. It makes him wonder why the Magic did not try to make any moves at the trade deadline.
-Friday night Orlando certainly died by the three causing Stan Van Gundy to want to reign in his shooters just a bit.
-The Bobcats stifled the Cavaliers defensively on Friday while getting a good effort offensively in what John Krolik of Cavs: The Blog said was the team’s worst defensive effort of the season.
-Jason Williams tells Brian Schmitz of The Orlando Sentinel that he would like to stay in Orlando past this year. But if he does not get what he deems a fair contract he will consider playing elsewhere or possibly retiring.