Magic (28-15) vs. Bobcats (21-20)
Time/TV: 7 p.m./FSFlorida
Key Matchup: Vince Carter (16.4 PPG, 38.7% FG%) vs. Stephen Jackson (21.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG with Bobcats)
Previous Matchups: W 93-81 at Charlotte on Nov. 10; W 97-91 at Orlando on Nov. 16
-Dwight Howard was dominant, get this, from the free throw line as the Magic defeated the Kings last night.
-Orlando’s defense stifled Sacramento’s backcourt duo of Tyreke Evans and Kevin Martin in a dominant performance.
-The Magic’s Jameer Nelson is very familiar with Tyreke Evans, having played with him in his hometown of Chester, Pa., for a few years now. Also Stan Van Gundy is proud of his brother Jeff for completing the Houston marathon.
-The Bobcats have been playing extremely well since acquiring Stephen Jackson in November. They are 9-2 this month and have won their past nine home games, reports Tania Ganguli of The Orlando Sentinel’s Magic BasketBlog.
-Early turnovers — 17 total — hurt the Bobcats in a loss to the Hawks last night in Atlanta. What hurt even more is that Raymond Felton missed the last three quarters of the game and Gerald Wallace aggravated a left knee injury, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports. Both could miss tonight’s game.
-Charlotte second graders are getting into All Star election fever by writing Eastern Conference coaches letters asking them to vote for Gerald Wallace, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports.
-Last night’s game was just like the Magic teams of old (or last year and the year before) because of the dominant defensive performance they put in.
-Eddy Rivera of Orlando Pinstriped Post hands out his mid-season awards.
-Ben Q Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post, while lauding the defense, points out the offense was not exactly efficient in last night’s win over the Kings.
-Defense led the way last night against the Kings, Andrew Melnick of HowardTheDunk writes.
-Brett of Queen City Hoops writes that the offense victimized Charlotte’s defense in last night’s loss to Atlanta. Even with that, the Hawks did a number against the Bobcats.
-David Arnott of Rufus on Fire writes how last night’s game in Atlanta was never really in doubt.
-Dwight Howard has been dominant lately, and John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com writes about how Howard has gotten his free throw percentage up to 60 percent in the recent stretch of games.
-Marc Stein picks his All Star reserves after Thursday’s All Star starters announcement. No Magic players make the reserve list, but Charlotte should get its first all star in Gerald Wallace (Stein’s pick) or Stephen Jackson.
-Kevin Arnovitz of TrueHoop introduces the national media to the top defense in the NBA: the Charlotte Bobcats.
-Poor shooting doomed the Kings in last night’s game against the Magic, writes Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee.
-Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus tries to figure out why Orlando is so far off his projections from the beginning of the season.
-The Hawks shot and ran their way past the Bobcats last night to stay within striking distance of the second-place Celtics in the Eastern Conference standings, writes Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
-Ben Q Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post previews tonight’s game and writes Orlando might be walking into a buzzsaw tonight in Charlotte.
-Tom Ziller of NBA FanHouse lists Charlotte’s DeSagan Diop and Orlando’s Rashard Lewis and Vince Carter as three of the 10 most difficult contracts to trade as we approach the trade deadline.