New Orleans, La.
(25-12) vs. (22-16)
Line: Magic by 3.5
Tickets: $18-$198 on TiqIQ
–In response to the New York Daily News’s recent report that Dwight Howard might be considering an exit to Los Angeles, George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel urges Howard doing that would be a mistake. Brian Schmits of the Orlando Sentinel wonders what the Magic might get for a trade with Howard. Having said that, Austin Burton of DIME Magazine names Dwight Howard as one of the 10 Untouchable players in the league.
–Hedo Turkoglu has not changed since he left Toronto and Phoenix, but his team has. And John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com writes that has made all the difference with Turkoglu. Joshua Sexton of The Hoop Doctors concurs, Turkoglu and Orlando are a perfect fit.
–Even though Orlando is on a nine-game win streak, Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post points out there are still concerns with the Magic.
–Trevor Ariza did not shoot the ball well in the month of December. As Jimmy Smith of The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reports, Ariza does not remember.
–Andrew Melnick of 1080 AM in Orlando talked to several recent opponents as they made their way through Orlando, and all know the Magic are a good and improving team.
–Stops in New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Boston should test Jameer Nelson and help clear up any lingering doubts about Orlando’s point guard situation, Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel writes. Nelson is having one of the best years of his career.
–Improved passing and 3-point shooting are major reasons the Magic have improved by so much so quickly after the trades. One thing is for sure, this team is gelling much quicker than everyone anticipated.
–Only two percent of players in a recent Sports Illustrated Players Poll believe the Magic will win the championship. It is easy to be skeptical. A writer’s roundtable at Sekou Smith’s Hang Time Blog thinks Orlando is better, but not championship material.
–Eddy Rivera of Magic Basketball talks with Beckley Mason of Hoop Speak about the Magic post trade. Did the Magic improve? Tom Habestroh of ESPN Insider says a resounding yes. Rivera also reports the Magic have done a lot of their damage on this streak thanks to a much-improved offense.
–A new study suggests players playing with foul trouble should be taken out of the game.
–The Magic have had an interesting amount of problems to overcome — from sickness to mid-season trades — and they have somehow been able to do it.
–Orlando presents a lot of problems for New Orleans, but coach Monty Williams is confident his team can step it up on its home floor. The Hornets are a surprisingly effective offensive team. And the pick and roll is a big reason.
–Assistant general manager Dave Twardzik is at the D-League Showcase, but the Magic are not looking at any specific player reports Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post.