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Orlando Magic News & Notes: Will Paul Pierce Go?


The Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics will meet for the fourth time this season on Sunday afternoon. Click here to read about that matchup.

The last few games before the All-Star break are always a challenge.

"The week heading into the all-star break is always challenging for players looking ahead to some relaxation.The Magic will be particularly tested, beginning today against the Celtics in Boston — the first of four games in five days.Orlando then comes home to face the New Orleans Hornets on Monday night at Amway Arena in a back-to-back.Then it’s off for another back-to-back as the Magic face the Bulls in Chicago on Wednesday night and then to Cleveland to play the league-leading Cavs on Thursday night.The Magic won’t see the Celtics again after today unless they meet in the postseason. Orlando leads the season series 2-1 and a win today can give them a potential playoff tiebreaker in the Eastern Conference.“This would be a big stepping stone,” SF Matt Barnes said. “It’s one of 82, but it’s definitely a big game.”"

Brian Schmitz has the story here.

Dwight Howard is piling up the technical fouls (so are Kendrick Perkins and Rasheed Wallace).

"But coming up to challenge Wallace’s sharp tongue is young Magic center Dwight Howard, who has 12. He and Wallace are neck-and-neck — tech-and-tech? — down the stretch.Not to be denied is Celtics center Kendrick Perkins. He has 11 technicals, for crying out loud, which he obviously does often.Seven technical fouls on individuals have been called in the three Magic-Celtics games.“I can say some of the coolest things on the court and still get a tech,” Howard said, referring to his “And 1!” remark to a ref recently after making a shot and getting the foul call, plus a tech.“A lot of this stuff I do I should get techs for, but I don’t know…. Sometimes, I don’t think it’s fair. It happens. I just got to try not to let it affect my play.”Howard has been frustrated with physical play by opponents. Perkins plays rough-house with Howard, usually with a little help from his friends and goads him as well. Howard scored 19 points in their last meeting, a Magic win at home, but was limited to nine and five points the previous two games.“A lot of times they let a lot of things go because they think I’m stronger than the opponent, but I feel a foul is a foul,” Howard said. “If you’re going to call it on one end, call it on the other.”"

You can read that story here.

Paul Pierce wants to play Sunday, but will the doctors let him?

"“I feel pretty good with the light practice,” he said. “I think I’m good to go tomorrow. It’s improving – not quite 100 percent – but it’s getting there. It’s a matter of healing. A sprain in the mid-foot, it’s a little odd where it’s at. It really hurt the past couple of days, but I’ve been getting the necessary treatment.”Pierce also believes he needs to play these next two games to: 1) Build a rhythm for the West Coast road trip that follows the All-Star break, and; 2) Determine whether he can play in the All-Star Game.“It’s definitely important, because I want to go into the break with a little momentum,” he said. “We have a tough stretch coming up when we go out West, so I definitely want to get these next two.“See how it feels,” Pierce said of whether he plans to play in the All-Star Game. “See how it feels tomorrow and Wednesday, and then see how it goes through the All-Star Game. If things don’t work out then they’re not going to work out."

Mark Murphy of Boston Herald has that story here.

Even if Pierce does play, Greg Payne of Celtics Blog says the Celtics aren’t sure about Marquis Daniels.

"As for Marquis Daniels, his status for tomorrow’s game remains up in the air (Via Green Street):“If Marquis dresses, I still don’t know if he’ll play tomorrow,” Rivers said after practice. “I’m not sure.”"

Hardwood Houdini previews the game.

"As interesting of a schedule as it as been, the Celtics and Magic are done playing games against each other in early February. That is interesting because they C’s were also done playing the Hawks as of late January. Splitting the season series with the Magic will be a great thing as far as confidence, because the team knows they had their number in every game played this year. Visually, it is just much easier to take in 2-2 than it is 1-3. Also, it would be better to look back on win against Orlando, going into the playoffs, since these teams are probable to face each other in a nice 7 game series in early May."

You can find their preview here.

The Daily Dime takes a good look at the matchup. You can find that here.

(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.)