Magic (42-20) vs. Nets (6-54)
Time/TV: 8 p.m./FSFlorida
Key Matchup: Dwight Howard (18.7 PPG, 13.1 RPG; 23.0 PPG, 17.0 RPG vs. Nets this season) vs. Brook Lopez (19.2 PPG, 9.0 RPG; 7.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG vs. Magic this season)
Season Series: Won 95-85 in New Jersey on Oct. 30; Won 88-72 in Orlando on Nov. 13; Tonight in New Jersey
-Even the really bad teams take pride in their record performances. Tania Ganguli of The Orlando Sentinel talked to Fred Carter of the 9-72 76ers of the 1973 season and Steve Spurrier of the infamous 0-14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers to get their thoughts on their losing records. The Nets have some pretty bad company they are looking to avoid.
-Dwight Howard thinks he has found the formula to slow down Brook Lopez, writes Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel.
-Tania Ganguli of The Orlando Sentinel quotes Stan Van Gundy warning his team to be prepared for every game and avoid bad habits as the playoffs approach.
-Dave Markowitz of the Daytona Beach News-Journal writes that the Nets may attain the NBA record for fewest wins in a season, but they are no where near as bad as the 1973 76ers they would surpass.
-Terrence Williams tells Colin Stephenson of the Newark Star-Ledger that his first season has been admittedly rocky.
-Everyone in the Nets organization is talking about the team’s upcoming move to the Prudential Center in Newark for the next two years while the Barclays Center is being built in Brooklyn, Fred Kerber of the New York Post reports.
-Fred Kerber of the New York Post reports former Magic player Courtney Lee is doubtful for tonight’s game after missing the previous two games with a sprained ankle. Lee shot around after practice yesterday, but the Nets have decided to bring him back slowly. It looks like he will play tomorrow night if he does not play tonight.
-An NBA source tells Fred Kerber of the New York Post that new Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov should take over the team some time next month.
-Nets President Rod Thorn recognizes money is still a very large factor for free agents pondering whether to make a move, reports Julian Garcia of New York Daily News. Although New Jersey’s temporary move to the Prudential Center will be a plus in the decision-making process.
-Al Iannazzone of NorthJersey.com writes that the Nets miss Vince Carter virtually everywhere, but they especially miss his leadership and calmness in the locker room.
-Eddy Rivera of Orlando Pinstriped Post encourages Magic fans to use the statistical models available at HoopData.com and plots the starting lineup’s PER over time, providing some interesting results.
-Nets Are Scorching’s Mark Ginocchio asks Howard the Dunk’s Andrew Melnick about Vince Carter’s struggles and Ryan Anderson. And Melnick asks Ginocchio how the team, the media and the fans are holding up in the face of a record-breaking losing season.
-Sebastian Pruiti of Nets are Scorching provides video evidence on how Terrence Williams’ offensive game has improved.
-Newark mayor Cory Booker is very excited about the NBA coming to his city. He said “Magic will happen in our city.” Rod Thorn does not think moving into the state of the art Prudential Center will attract free agents on its own. Money is still a pretty big factor.
-Nets part owner Jay-Z was not in New Jersey to watch his good buddy LeBron James play the Nets on Wednesday because he and Beyonce Knowles were touring the White House. And the Inside the NBA Crew at TNT were not optimistic about the Nets avoiding the infamous 9-72 record.
-Hard to believe that tonight’s game will be Vince Carter’s last at the old Izod Center. A lot has changed since the late October match where it seemed like Carter would have a big game before leaving in the second quarter with a sprained ankle.
-Stan Van Gundy gives Al Iannazzone a mea culpa for taking some of Courtney Lee’s aggression out of him last year. Van Gundy has had some conversations with Lee since Orlando traded him last summer and the team had nothing but good things to say about the second year player.
-John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com warns that Orlando should not look past New Jersey tonight, or face the wrath of constant SportsCenter highlights of the embarrassing loss.
-Courtney Lee is still working his way back from an ankle injury (and is doubtful for tonight’s game) but his offense is starting to catch up to his defense as he gets more comfortable being a primary option for New Jersey, writes Ben Couch of NJNets.com.
-Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie updates his awards tour entering the month of March. Dwight Howard is third on his list of MVP candidates and is on track to become Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season.
-Henry Abbott of TrueHoop talks to Dean Oliver, author of Basketball on Paper and the Director of Quantitative Analysis for the Nuggets, about the 2010 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference which kicks off Saturday. Kevin Arnovitz of TrueHoop comes up with some metaphors that try to explain the possibilities the conference could accomplish.
-The Magic are fourth in this week’s power rankings on Basketball-Reference.com. The Nets are last.
-Al Iannazzone of NorthJersey.com reports Kentucky coach John Calipari has not changed much since he coached the Nets 10 years ago. He thinks the move to Newark will help change the culture and possibly holds the key to the Nets’ future in John Wall.
-Lots of Vince Carter and Dwight Howard in the top plays of February for the Magic.
-Ben Q Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post shows what Brandon Bass has done to crack Orlando’s rotation.
-Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated makes his argument that NBA coach is one of the toughest jobs in sports.
-NBA scouts give their take on the final 20 games of the season to ESPN’s Marc Stein.
-Tom Haberstroh of Hardwood Paroxysm comes up with a new way to rate defenses protecting the basket, comparing FG% at the rim and free throws allowed. Not surprisingly, the Magic are one of the best teams in this model.