What They’re Saying: Magic vs. Spurs 4/2

Magic (53-22) vs. Spurs (45-29)
Time/TV: 8:30 p.m./Sun Sports
Key Matchup: Vince Carter (16.6 PPG, 36.6% 3FG%; 24 points, 7-11 FG, 3-4 3FG vs. Spurs on March 17) vs. Manu Ginobili (16.0 PPG, 4.9 APG; 18 points, 8-13 FG, 3 assists vs. Magic on March 17)
Season Series: Won 110-84 in Orlando on March 17; Tonight in San Antonio.

-Orlando is never short of confidence, even discussing whether to go for the Lakers’ record and try to steal home court if Orlando were to make the Finals. The Magic showed that again with a dominant performance from Dwight Howard and a second-half offensive turnaround in Dallas.

-Mike Bianchi of The Orlando Sentinel is adamantly against Tracy McGrady returning to the Magic.

-Brian Schmitz of The Orlando Sentinel writes Jameer Nelson playing like he did in the second half last night is the key to any Magic title run.

-Vince Carter says he would like to play 15 years in the NBA, his body willing.

-Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel reports two NBA executives are taking to Bill Simmons’ “Entertaining as Hell Tournament” idea.

-San Antonio’s young players are bearing a lot of the burden for carrying the team into the postseason. Even after a 30-point, five-steal performance from second-year pro George Hill, he described the game to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News as “long.”

-San Antonio had one of its better months in March and still dropped a spot in the tight Western Conference. Unfortunately, April does not look much easier.

-Andrew Melnick of Howard the Dunk previews tonight’s game between two of the hottest teams in the NBA.

-Mickael Pietrus delivered the dagger in Orlando’s win last night in Dallas. Also, Dwight Howard continued to dominate.

-Orlando drained 14 3-pointers, led by Mickael Pietrus, and did enough to hold off a late Dallas rally for a win last night, writed Ben Q Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post.

-Orlando overcame a sloppy first half and dominated in the second half to get the team’s 16th win in its past 19 games. Andrew Melnick of Howard the Dunk recaps last night’s game.

-Jesse Blanchard of 48 Minutes of Hell encourages those NBA fans looking for titles to come from the next Michael Jordan facsimile to remember when winning titles, “Go Big, or Go Home.” Tim Duncan dominated the last decade. Dwight Howard figures to dominate the next one.

-Jameer Nelson was all wrapped up to tend to all his bumps and bruises after Thursday’s win, but he had some pretty big, confident words to say about where his team is going writes John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com.

-John Hollinger of TrueHoop writes the Western Conference playoff race is beginning to shape up and the Los Angeles Lakers are no longer locks to hold home court over the Magic.

-Tim Povtak of FanHouse wonders what would happen if the NBA adopted the D-League’s postseason procedure — where the top seeded team gets to pick which lower-seeded team it will play in the first round.

-Orlando is the unanimous pick as the non-Cleveland team with the best chance to make the Finals. Tim McMahon of ESPNDallas.com adds it does not take Magic players much convincing that Dwight Howard is an MVP frontrunner.

-DIME Magazine writes sometimes the Mavericks look like they can run through anyone and hit jumpers at will. And sometimes they don’t. Was it them or (more likely) are the Magic that good?

-In the Associated Press’ recap of last night’s game, Dwight Howard dominated the paint as usual and Orlando got the needed 3-point shooting for a solid road victory.

-Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes the Spurs usually have an extra gear for this time of year, but it appears Tim Duncan and his team are not going to be able to fight off a bottom seed in the West.

-”It’s a bad sign in the NBA when the other team has twice as many 3-pointers as the number of assists you have,” writed Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. There were many other bad signs in Dallas’ loss to Orlando last night.

-Rob Mahoney of The Two Man Game writes it was not completely unexpected to see Dallas struggle on a second night of a back-to-back against the streaking Magic on Thursday. What was unexpected was the 40.7 percent effective field goal percentage.

-LJRotter has the Mavericks perspective for what was, to him, a pretty ugly game between the East and the West’s second-seeded teams.

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

-Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated writes the Spurs are still struggling to put the pieces together and are falling short of their own expectations.

-Tony Parker apparently does not like to wear his wedding ring, so Eva Longoria forced him to get a tattoo of one. Ouch.

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

-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.

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

-Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk does not believe Spurs GM R.C. Buford when he says Tiago Splitter will be coming to the NBA next season.

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

-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.

-Gregg Popovich still may not know what he can get out of George Hill, but the second-year guard showed some of his worth in scoring 30 points in Wednesday’s win over the Rockets.

-Roger Mason Jr. is hoping a new hand brace will help him regain his shooting touch.

-Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle wonders where the old days of gritty, dirty 1990s Spurs-Rockets basketball went. Now it seems like neither team, especially Houston, can stop each other.

-George Hill has been asked to do a whole lot for the Spurs, especially since Tony Parker’s injury. He may not be quite what the Spurs need to win a title yet, but he certainly showed he is one heck of a player, writes 48 Minutes of Hell.

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

-Secretchord27 of Spurs Dynasty writes he saw some good progression from the last time the Rockets faced the Spurs, a Houston rout that saw three Houston players hit 30 points, and Wednesday’s Spurs win. San Antonio just looked like a better team this time around.

-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.

-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.

-A lot of people, including myself and Michael Pina of Hardwood Paroxysm, grew up with Tim Duncan as the quiet center of the league. His play always did the talking, but not the model of consistency called “The Big Fundamental” is starting to show cracks and an underappreciated career seems closer to ending than ever.

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

-Tim Duncan is starting to show his age.

-Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News details the long and arduous process Tim Duncan must go through to prepare for each game to reduce soreness in his left knee. And while all this might reduce soreness and pain for Duncan, he definitely looks older and less effective than his prime.

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