Magic (39-19) vs. Hornets (30-28)
Time/TV: 9:30 p.m./FSFlorida, ESPN
Key Matchup: Vince Carter (48 points, 19-27 FG, 7 rebounds vs. Hornets on Feb. 8) vs. Peja Stojakovic (29 points, 5-8 3FG, 9 rebounds, 5 assists vs. Magic on Feb. 8)
Season Series: Won 123-117 on Feb. 8 in Orlando; Tonight in New Orleans
-Mike Bianchi of The Orlando Sentinel is tired of all the criticism thrown at Dwight Howard in a week where he won Eastern Conference Player of the Week. Bianchi writes (and might be the only one writing right now) that Dwight Howard should be considered a front-runner for the MVP.
-Stan Van Gundy expects Dwight Howard to repeat as Defensive Player of the Year.
-The Magic can see the end of the season approaching and are rounding into playoff form, writes Brian Schmitz of The Orlando Sentinel.
-Emeka Okafor is going through a tough week. He not only has struggled to defend Andrew Bogut and Shaquille O’Neal this week before facing Dwight Howard, but he is also averaging only 4.7 points on 41 percent shooting his last three games.
-I took a statistical look at Jameer Nelson’s season so far and provide some evidence that he is starting to turn the corner.
-Ben Q Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post says Matt Barnes has in fact played very very well in Orlando’s starting lineup. Really well, in fact.
-Eddie Rivera of Orlando Pinstriped Post also took a very detail looked at what made Dwight Howard so successful against the Rockets on Wednesday. It is definitely worth the look as a lot of these photos show Howard doing things he was not doing last year and a major growth in his game.
-Second round pick Marcus Thornton has been putting in some stellar play for the Hornets in recent weeks.
-Brian Schmitz of The Orlando Sentinel suggests Orlando think about acquiring New Orleans’ Darren Collison to fill its backup point guard wishes.
-Rob Mahoney of Pro Basketball Talk disagrees with Mike Bianchi’s column from this morning saying Dwight Howard should be the league’s MVP. But, he writes Howard is on the precipice of becoming a real defensive monster and might affect a game in much more ways than LeBron James… or at the same level at least.
-John Schuman of NBA.com breaks down the numbers for LeBron James when Dwight Howard is on and off the court.
-With 3-point accuracy down this year, Zach Lowe of the New York Times’ Off the Dribble blog wonders which teams are most successful when the 3-pointers are not falling. Orlando is 0-4 in such games this year. Not surprisingly, there are not many games when the Magic do not hit at least five treys.
-Brian Schmitz of The Orlando Sentinel wrote after Wednesday’s game that Dwight Howard is continuing to develop the superstar mentality, but he now needs help to get Orlando over the hump and develop the killer instinct many feel the team lacks.
-Dwight Howard did something Wednesday that had not been done since Wilt Chamberlain. Now he is on pace to do something that has never been done in NBA history.
-Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus lists his analysis of the NBA broadcasters and lists David Steele and Matt Guokas as a notable local pair (for good reasons).