Magic (38-19) vs. Rockets (28-27)
Time/TV: 8:30 p.m./Sun Sports
Key Matchup: Jameer Nelson (14.4 PPG, 6.2 APG last five games) vs. Aaron Brooks (19.3 PPG, 5.1 APG this season)
Season Series: Won 102-87 in Orlando on Dec. 23; Tonight in Houston
-Despite a decrease in his numbers this season, Rashard Lewis still has confidence in himself to produce for the Magic.
-With some time off, Stan Van Gundy has added some new wrinkles into Orlando’s offense.
-In case you missed it, Vince Carter obliterated Dwight Howard’s record for a shot taken while seated. The video is pretty amazing.
-Houston is really struggling in the fourth quarter closing out tight games. But this is not just a recent pattern, writes Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.
-Trevor Ariza is expected to miss the rest of the week with a hip pointer. New acquisition Kevin Martin will move into the starting lineup for the Rockets.
-Ben Q Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post urges the national media to not believe the stats they read or the hype surrounding Dwight Howard. Since a poor performance against Portland in January, Howard has been on a tear offensively and is displaying a more complex offensive repertoire than he has at any point in his career.
-Andrew Melnick of Howard The Dunk reviews what happened in the last meeting between the Magic and the Rockets in his preview of tonight’s game.
-Andrew Melnick of Howard The Dunk also answers Dwight Howard’s critics and says, unless you have only watched a few Magic games, Howard has a fully developed post repertoire.
-Rahat Huq of Red 94 writes that Tracy McGrady will be remembered as the biggest loser in NBA history. An example of talent unfulfilled. But when he was healthy, McGrady did more with little than any other player in the league.
-Tom Martin of The Dream Shake expects to see the real Kevin Martin soon as he returns to the familiar “alpha dog” role in Trevor Ariza’s absence.
-Rashard Lewis: Orlando’s cold-blooded crunch-time killer.
-Jason Friedman of Rockets.com writes about how Aaron Brooks and Kevin Martin are trying to build chemistry and get on the same page.
-Brett Pollakof of FanHouse lists the Magic No. 3, behind the Lakers and Mavericks, in this week’s power rankings. The Rockets are ranked 18th.
-Magic players and coaches recognize it would be huge for the Cavaliers to re-acquire Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and are a little peeved that they could trade away a player and re-acquire him. But those are the rules.
-Vince Carter not only topped Dwight Howard’s world record shot, but also praised his big man on his recent offensive development.
-Neil Pane of Basketball-Reference tries to determine just how good was Penny Hardaway. Tough to remember that he was the first in a long line of “next Michael Jordans.”
-Henry Abbott of TrueHoop has some interesting observations after hearing about a study that correlates winning with physical contact — high fives, chest bumping and the like.
-John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com writes that it is all about Dwight Howard all the time. And Howard is stepping up right now on his way to making some team and league history.
-Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld writes that the Magic and Cavaliers are growing into a true rivalry.
-Marcin Gortat is the Polish Hammer.