What They’re Saying: Magic vs. Mavericks 4/1

Magic (52-22) vs. Mavericks (50-25)
Time/TV: 8 p.m./TNT, Sun Sports
Key Matchup: Dwight Howard (18.6 PPG, 13.3 RPG; 29 points, 24 rebounds vs. Dallas on Feb. 19) vs. Brendan Haywood (9.3 PPG, 9.6 RPG; 12.7 PPG, 11.3 RPG vs. Orlando)
Season Series: Lost 85-95 on Feb. 19 in Orlando; Tonight in Dallas.

-Stan Van Gundy tells Brian Schmitz of The Orlando Sentinel that he may increase minutes for key players in preparation for the postseason.

-Dwight Howard has another Charles Barkley impersonation out there, this time making fun of the media’s obsession over LeBron James. George Diaz of The Orlando Sentinel believes Howard’s playfulness hides his competitive fire. But believe him, it is there.

-How well do you know Dwight Howard? The Orlando Sentinel has a quiz to test you.

-Stan Van Gundy called Wednesday a “red-letter day” after Mickael Pietrus, Vince Carter and Jameer Nelson all participated in practice. They are all expected to play tonight.

-Dwight Howard was struggling in January when he asked for patience. Now, as Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel reports, even the NBA experts see great improvement in Howard’s offense.

-Ryan Anderson and JJ Redick’s rap album has not been released as anticipated yet, but Anderson does give us proof he has musical talents. Anderson and the Magic have teamed up to solicit fans to create the playoff theme song for the 2010 Playoffs. You can download Anderson’s beat off OrlandoMagic.com and create your own song. Winner gets tickets to every home playoff game, plus their song played for all those at the Amway Arena during the postseason.

-Dirk Nowitzki keyed a fourth-quarter comeback in Memphis that earned the Mavericks their 10th consecutive 50-win season. Some might call the comeback a steal, Rick Carlisle did not.

-The prize they are after is bigger and 50 wins seems almost expected at this point, but, Eddie Sefko writing for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, reminds that Dallas becoming just the fourth team to win 50 games for 10 straight seasons is no small accomplishment.

-Fans are not recognizing Dallas’ accomplishment of winning 50 games for the 10th straight season. Why? Jean-Jacques Taylor of the Dallas Morning-News believes it is because the Mavericks did not win that title in 2006.

-Andrew Melnick of Howard the Dunk previews tonight’s clash between two of the top teams in the NBA in Dallas.

-Ben Q Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post charts the Magic’s season graphically and concludes, for what it is worth, the Magic seem to be “peaking at the right time.”

-Nick Reed and Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com try to decipher Mark Cuban’s preference for road point differential over regular point differential. The Mavericks are fourth in the league in road point differential (and have a tendency to get blown out at home).

-Tim McMahon of ESPNDallas.com reports the Mavericks will play the Suns in an outdoor preseason game next year.

-Coach Rick Carlisle has been using a three-guard lineup of Rodrigue Beaubois, Jason Terry and Jason Kidd with very good results in recent games. That does not mean it will become a normal part of the rotation, but Tim McMahon of ESPNDallas.com says Carlisle has to at least consider making it a staple of the Dallas rotation.

-B.J. Stahl of DallasBasketball.com collected a quote board of reactions from Dallas players and coaches after last night’s win in Memphis.

-Every game matters in the tight Western Conference, writes crstuckey of Mavs Ball, so that made Dallas’ come-from-behind victory that much more important as the team holds on to the second seed in the Western Conference.

-Tim McMahon details how Dirk Nowitzki transformed from zero to hero, scoring 16 of his 28 points in the final 8:08 and overtime.

-Rob Mahoney of The Two-Man Game writes Dallas’ win last night had all the variables involved in a close game plus one. It had a better, more talented team executing at a higher level and it also had some good bounces breaking the Mavericks way. It also had Dirk Nowitzki, which helps.

-Mark Cuban thanks the appropriate people after Dallas earned their 10th straight season with 50 wins with Wednesday’s victory in Memphis.

-LJRotter of Mavs Moneyball details a game that was not pretty in Memphis last night, but still turned out to be a Mavericks win.

-The prize for the big comeback against the Grizzlies last night? The Mavericks continue to cling to the second seed in the Western Conference.

-Dwight Howard’s campaign to be MVP has officially begun.

-Today is the day to help out the Magic Dancers in NBA.com’s Dance Bracket! They are taking on the A-Town Dancers of Atlanta.

-While the Western Conference’s old guard is aging or struggling, Dallas is showing why the team is more of a threat than it has ever been. These are not the Mavericks that lost a 2-0 lead in the 2006 Finals, writes Jordan Schultz of FanHouse.

-Jon Schuman of NBA.com tries to create an All-NBA Defensive team using statistical criteria. Dallas’ Shawn Marion makes the list. But how do you explain Andrea Bargnani over Dwight Howard? April Fools, that’s how.

-Dirk Nowitzki and Mark Cuban are the two constants that have helped Dallas create quite a decade, writes Rob Mahoney for Pro Basketball Talk.

-Tracy McGrady said he would like to come back to Orlando. T-Mac is a free agent this summer.

-Tracy McGrady tells Marc Berman of the New York Post he would love the opportunity to return to Orlando in free agency this summer.

-Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal writes: “The Grizzlies are working hard lately to throw away their chance at securing their first non-losing season in four years,” after Memphis blew a 13-point, fourth-quarter lead and lost in overtime to Dallas.

-Dirk Nowitzki overcame a poor shooting effort early to score 28 points and lead the Mavericks to a come-from-behind victory over the Grizzlies.

-Eric Freeman of The Baseline wonders why he is somewhat disappointed that Adonal Foyle wants to be a NBA general manager after he retires from basketball rather than a politician or an activist.

-Good news, NBA fans! We get one vote for the league’s MVP. Use it wisely… cough Dwight Howard cough.

-The Magic’s hot March garnered plenty of notice. They are up to No. 2 in FanHouse’s weekly power rankings. The Mavericks are sixth.

-Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel reports everyone on the roster should be available for Thursday’s game against Dallas.

-Trey Kirby of Ball Don’t Lie asks Dwight Howard how his first day of non-basketball work went and about his improvement as a basketball player.

-Jason Kidd is the key to the Mavericks’ championship hopes, writes Keith L. of Bleacher/Report.

-Caron Butler did not know about his placement in the Mavs Musk ad played during Monday’s game.

-Adonal Foyle gives the Magic State of the Union to Orlando Opinionators on The Orlando Sentinel’s Web site.

-Brian Schmitz of The Orlando Sentinel gets to learn about Stan Van Gundy the person in a one-on-one interview.

-Dwight Howard has been clamoring for some MVP love, Maurice Brooks of ESPN.com gives it to him not only singing his praises as the favorite for Defensive Player of the Year, but also putting him second in the MVP race.

-Eddie Sefko, writing for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, reports wins did not get much bigger for the Mavericks than Monday’s home victory over the Nuggets, but as Dirk Nowitzki tell shim, there is still plenty of work left to do and one game is still pretty meaningless.

-Shawn Marion got a lot of the accolades for holding down Carmelo Anthony during Monday’s game. But one thing Rick Carlisle liked about that game, reports Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News, is that Marion played less than 30 minutes.

-Tim Legler of ESPN.com believes Dallas is the team that can most threaten the Los Angeles Lakers for Western Conference supremacy.

-Mickael Pietrus should be ready to go Thursday against Dallas. But Vince Carter — and Anthony Johnson and Jason Williams — are still fighting off injuries and illness.

-Dwight Howard mocked Charles Barkley and says he wants to settle the MVP race where it truly matters in the playoffs, reports Tim Povtak of FanHouse.

-Shawn Marion has been asked to guard the best player on the opposing team, but as Tim McMahon of ESPNDallas.com says, he is finally finding his groove as the team’s third or fourth option offensively.

-Jan Hubbard of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes that it is important to remember the big picture when a championship is the goal.

-Dallas has plenty to fight for in its final eight games — a No. 2 seed plus fighting off all the teams in a packed Western Conference — and coach Rick Carlisle will not let the team lose its edge, reports Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning-News.

-Dirk Nowitzki had a triple double and Jason Terry had a good performance in Monday’s titanic clash between the Nuggets and Mavericks. But it was Shawn Marion’s defensive job against Carmelo Anthony, writes Todd Archer of The Dallas Morning-News, that earned Dallas a key win.

-Brian Schmitz of The Orlando Sentinel details the Magic’s roaring 12-2 March.

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily