What They’re Saying: Spurs vs. Magic 3/17

Spurs (40-25) vs. Magic (47-21)
Time/TV: 8 p.m./ESPN, Sun Sports
Key Matchup: Tim Duncan (18.7 PPG, 10.4 RPG; 13.2 PPG, 6.8 RPG last five games) vs. Dwight Howard (18.7 PPG, 13.2 RPG; 20.8 PPG, 13.6 RPG last five games)
Season Series: Tonight in Orlando; April 2 in San Antonio

-The NBA announced today that Dwight Howard’s technical foul from Sunday night will stand, giving him 14 on the year, Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel reports. Howard has one more before he will face a one game suspension.

-Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel reports Matt Barnes will start tonight, after missing Sunday’s game.

-The Magic clinched their fourth straight playoff berth, ticket information will follow shortly.

-Matt Barnes is expected to play Wednesday, Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel reports. Also the Magic clinched a playoff spot last night with the Bobcats’ loss to the Pacers.

-To most of the league, San Antonio is a falling star. Everyone is waiting for the Spurs to turn it on and kick it into playoff gear, but they are actually struggling to avoid the eight seed and a date with the Lakers in the playoffs. Brian Schmitz of The Orlando Sentinel suggests some reasons why San Antonio is struggling.

-Manu Ginobili and Richard Jefferson began to look like themselves in a win in Miami last night, but Gregg Popovich is most pleased that the defense started looking like Spurs defense, writes Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News.

-Gregg Popovich is pleased with Richard Jefferson’s effort since he re-inserted Jefferson into the starting lineup, writes Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News.

-Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News writes Tiago Splitter, who many consider to be the best big man in Europe and was drafted by the Spurs three years ago, could become another Luis Scola — the best player the Spurs have drafted the never signed with them.

-Michael Gavin wrote earlier today that Rashard Lewis needs to make an offensive adjustment for Orlando to have ultimate success.

-Rashard Lewis writes on his blog that he is not frustrated with how he is playing because the team is winning, and that is all that matters.

-Similar defensive approaches fuel the Spurs and the Magic’s success, writes Ben Q Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post.

-Andrew Melnick of Howard the Dunk provides a pretty good look at the Spurs as the Magic get ready to play them for the first time this season.

-Yesterday, I took a look at scoring spreads and whether a more balanced scoring attack leads to championships.

-Brian of Spurs of the Moment takes a close look at Richard Jefferson and how exactly he has been rounding into form.

-Timothy Varner of 48 Minutes of Hell writes a loss to the wounded Cavaliers may have been the Spurs’ “Don’t poke the zombie” moment. Or maybe San Antonio has won eight of 10 by feasting on weaker opponents, like the disinterested Miami team it saw last night. Either way, Spurs fans will know soon enough whether they are really turning a corner with a difficult stretch to close the season.

-Wayne Vore of Pounding the Rock explains his statistic, Expected Field Goal Percentage.

-Both the Magic and the Spurs are peaking at the right time, writes Alan Ferguson of Spurs.com.

-Dwight Howard has been working on his jumper all season and has a chance to continue revealing it against jump shooter specialist Tim Duncan tonight.

-FanHouse’s Power Rankings have the Magic dropping from No. 2 to No. 3 and the Spurs at No. 11.

-In the Sports Network’s preview of tonight’s game, San Antonio is not just fighting to stay in the playoffs but has a realistic chance of moving up.

-Christopher McDougall of Men’s Health chronicles the physical rise of Dwight Howard and what makes him successful. But let’s hope he is not like Wilt Chamberlain, as the lead suggests.

-Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel writes the Spurs showed the Heat the difference between the seventh team in the West and the seventh team in the East by jumping out to a big lead and looking sharp early on.

-Dwight Howard used his off day to film three commercials for Gatorade that will also include Jameer Nelson and Matt Barnes, Plus Matt Geiger and a Stan Van Gundy look alike make cameo appearances.

-BlaseE of Pounding the Rock examines the Spurs through the lens of Points Per Shot.

-Britt Robson of Sports Illustrated writes Rashard Lewis is the key to any success Orlando might have this postseason, even if the team has played well while Lewis has struggled lately.

-Matt Bonner is on a quest for the “Hoagie Grail” and recounts a disappointing trip to Memphis. Will we see him at Gabriel’s this afternoon? Probably not on a back-to-back.

-San Antonio is fighting for one of the last playoff spots in the West and is preparing to enter a very difficult stretch of basketball, including tonight’s game against Orlando. Geoffrey C. Arnold of The Oregonian has that and other notes.

-Vince Carter passed Bob Lanier for 43rd on the NBA’s All-Time Scoring List on Sunday against Charlotte. Carter’s scoring seems to put him in the hall of fame, but VC is not worried about the “individual stuff,” writes Brian Schmitz of The Orlando Sentinel.

-Dwight Howard is hoping the NBA rescinds his latest technical foul.

-48 Minutes of Hell explains the value of former Gator Matt Bonner.

-Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News reports Richard Jefferson has played some of his best basketball this season when paired with Manu Ginobili. He continues to play well since he and Ginobili were put back into the starting lineup a few games ago.

-Looking back at Shaq breaking the backboards.

-Heading into last night’s game in Miami, San Antonio is beginning a difficult stretch of games that will see the team play the top four teams in the East on the road plus the Lakers and Oklahoma City.

-Austin Burton of DIME Magazine asks the question: Is Dwight Howard already the greatest Magic playing in its short history?

-David Aldridge of NBA.com writes Vince Carter is finding his groove after a rough start to 2010.

-Phil Jasner of the Philadelphia Daily News writes the 76ers should look at Spurs top assistant Mike Budenholzer as a new rising voice when the team inevitably fires Eddie Jordan.

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