Orlando Magic News & Notes: Guards Step Up

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The Orlando Magic blew a 16-point third quarter lead and and had to go to overtime with the Bobcats on Saturday night. The Magic took over the extra period, outscoring the Bobcats 14-3. Click here for more on the game.

Brian Schmitz talked about Vince Carter’s performance.

"Carter came alive to join Nelson as leading scorers for the Magic with 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting. He finished with his highest point total since last year, specifically Dec. 30, 2009 against Milwaukee.He had scored 25 points against the Bucks to build his average to 19.9, but it sank to 16.4 after he sprained his left shoulder. Critics circled over Carter and his acquisition as a go-to-guy who couldn’t get going.“My chicken wing’s feeling better,” Carter said, rubbing his left arm. “I just want to get my team back on track. I take losses personally. I haven’t played my best basketball.“I was obviously in attack mode.”"

Click here to read the full story.

Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy is very happy with Matt Barnes’ play.

"Coach Stan Van Gundy has been happy with the play of SF Matt Barnes as a starter, but he said that he can’t guarantee if the lineup will remain the same through season’s end.“You never know about that,” Van Gundy said of Barnes. “There’s still a long way to go. You don’t know what adjustments have to be made. I couldn’t be happier the way he’s playing. We have 11 weeks left and you never know how you’ll end up.”It is assumed that the other four starting spots occupied by PG Jameer Nelson, C Dwight Howard, SG Vince Carter and PF Rashard Lewis will not change (outside of injuries.)Barnes made his 14th consecutive start against the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday night since replacing Mickael Pietrus on Dec. 30 against Milwaukee."

Click here to read that story and other Magic notes.

John Denton offers his postgame analysis.

"Jameer Nelson looked like an all-star point guard again, Dwight Howard looked like the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year again and Vince Carter finally looked like, well, Vince Carter again.Put all of that together and the Orlando Magic had a signature overtime victory over the red-hot Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday night."

Read his analysis here.

There’s been a lot of talk about Vince Carter’s availability but Tom Ziller says Carter is currently one of the toughest players to trade. Another Magic player also appears on the list.

"7. Vince Carter, Magic. Carter has been a massive disappointment in Orlando, and truth be told the shine was already completely off before New Jersey sent him south in June. Carter is due $17 million in 2010-11, and $4 million in 2011-12 if he’s waived after the ’10-11 season. (Got that?) While the commitment isn’t troubling in terms of length, the size of next season’s salary is a bit much to take, even for clubs looking to sit out the 2010 bonanza. The market for Carter at that pay rate is ridiculously small.6. Rashard Lewis, Magic. Lewis is quite good, but his salary is HOLY GOD THAT’S INSANE, and Lewis is not HOLY GOD THAT’S INSANE good. After this season, Lewis is still owed $50-63 million over three seasons, depending on whether he hits some incentives. For some perspective, the contract LeBron James signs this summer will pay him roughly $56 million over the next three seasons."

Click here to see the full list.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor at NFL Mocks Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily.)