Hornets (27-24) vs. Magic (34-17)
Time/TV: 8 p.m./TNT
Key Matchup: Emeka Okafor (11.4 PPG, 9.5 RPG) vs. Dwight Howard (21.0 PPG, 15.2 RPG last five games)
Season Series: Tonight in Orlando; Feb. 26 in New Orleans
-Stan Van Gundy said Orlando’s third quarter yesterday in Boston was the best his Magic team have every played. In that quarter, Orlando made a 25-point turnaround in erasing an 11-point halftime deficit and turning it into a 14-point lead.
-NBA Players Association Vice President Adonal Foyle had some harsh words for the owners’ offer to start collective bargaining negotiations. But Foyle said the harshness of the offer has galvanized and united the players as they get set to sit down at the All Star break and begin talks. The collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2010-11 season.
-Vince Carter had a horrible January and is promising to make February better. He delivered with a game-high 20 points yesterday in Boston.
-Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints on winning Super Bowl XLIV.
-Defense was the key as the Magic defeated the Celtics yesterday. Also, Carter reawakens and Orlando struggles with leads.
-The tale of two halves story is very cliche. But Ben Q Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post has some pretty emphatic numbers to prove that yesterday’s game against Boston was truly a tale of two halves.
-The Hornets come to town tonight with Chris Paul still on the shelf. They are still finding themselves again behind replacement Darren Collison and top scorer David West. Andrew Melnick of Howard The Dunk has a preview.
-Rashard Lewis tells John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com that yesterday’s win was a statement game for Orlando. After the 19-0 run in the third quarter, it is hard to argue with that.
-Chris Sheridan writes in the ESPN Daily Dime about how Stan Van Gundy made a risky decision pay off by keeping Dwight Howard in the game after picking up his fourth foul in the third quarter yesterday in Boston. Also, NBA Players Association Vice President Adonal Foyle has some choice words for the owners’ first offer in collective bargaining negotiations.
-In case you missed it, here is Dwight Howard and LeBron James’ Super Bowl ad for McDonald’s.
-Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie says what I think everyone has been thinking: “Boston look old. Orlando looks stacked.“
-Dwight Howard writes on his blog that yesterday’s win over Boston was more of a statement to the Magic themselves than a statement to the rest of the nation.
-Brian Robb of Celtics Hub gives the Magic a lot of credit for having the right game plan to erase Boston’s lead after Boston played a fantastic and encouraging first half. Robb writes that he believes Howard has cleared a mental hurdle over Kendrick Perkins and the Celtics’ defense.
-Stan Van Gundy, filling his role as Eastern Conference All Star coach, sent feelers to Doc Rivers and the Celtics training staff asking them how long he would like him to play their three All Stars. Hilarious and sarcastic comments ensued.
-Julian Benbow of the Boston Globe goes further into the statement Doc Rivers made to the Celtics last night that the Magic are just better.
-Sebastian Pruiti breaks down Orlando’s third quarter run for NBA Playbook.
-Alex Kennedy of Hoops World wears a Magic jersey and answers multiple questions about the Magic and the NBA in his weekly chat. He spoke with Brandon Bass’ agent and it appears that he will not be moved before the deadline.