here to read about the g..."/> here to read about the g..."/>

Orlando Magic News & Notes: LeBron Too Much for Magic


The Orlando Magic fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers 115-106 on Thursday night. Click here to read about the game.

The Magic came back from 14 points down but LeBron James was just too much, but Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy said he made one key mistake.

"Van Gundy was questioning himself after taking Howard out of the game midway in the third after he was whistled for his fourth foul, with Orlando leading 75-70. He inserted reserve Marcin Gortat, and while the Magic pushed the lead to seven, the Cavs went on a 15-4 run to head into the final period leading 87-83.“In retrospect, I should have left him in the game,” Van Gundy said.With guards Nelson (4-of-14) and Carter not shooting well, Van Gundy said, “I should put the ball in Dwight’s hands. But we also needed to get some stops.”"

Brian Schmitz has that story here.

The Magic faded down the stretch.

"Dwight Howard was nowhere to be found. Jameer Nelson could not create off the dribble — or finish at the rim. And Vince Carter continued to puzzle as he too could not finish and struggled from the floor again.That all spelled a 115-106 loss entering the All Star break as Cleveland finished the game on a 21-10 kick after the game was tied at 96 with about six minutes to play.That was really the difference in the game as the Magic did a good job adjusting to whatever the Cavaliers threw at them and forcing them to play a smaller lineup. It is tough to gauge how these two teams might play each other in the postseason (which is still a long ways away) — especially without Mo Williams in the lineup for Cleveland."

Phillip Rossman-Reich of Orlando Magic Daily has that story here.

Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer says that the Cavs rose to the occasion.

"James triggered an 18-2 run that decided the game by unleashing a series of vicious and clutch plays. Then he paired it up with a strong performance from O’Neal, who shut down counterpart Dwight Howard and came up with valuable complementary offensive plays.During the run, which sent the sellout crowd at The Q into delirium, James made five baskets, two of them 3-pointers. He assisted on the other three hoops, two of them going to O’Neal for dunks."

Click here to read that.

Both Bill Livingston and Mary Schmit Boyer of the Plain Dealer claim that Shaquille O’Neal got the better of the Dwight Howard-Shaquille O’Neal battle.

"O’Neal returned to the game with five fouls, the same as Howard, with 7 minutes, 48 seconds to play and the score tied at 94. Howard scored immediately on a running hook for Orlando’s last lead, and then he started slipping from ineffective to inactive to inconsequential.O’Neal scored on a layup and a dunk off beautiful James setups. When Howard tried to run past O’Neal again, this time along the baseline for a reverse layup, Shaq crowded his space, and Howard stepped out of bounds trying to get away. O’Neal got only two rebounds — the same as Howard — in the quarter, but when he did not get the ball, he made sure Howard did not either. The Cavs owned the boards, 12-7, in the fourth quarter."

You can read Livingston’s article here.

"“I don’t consider it manning up until you play me straight up,” O’Neal said. “Don’t let them double-team me and make it a him vs. me thing. Eighteen years straight — Hakeem, Ewing, Rik Smits, [Tim] Duncan, [David] Robinson, the best of the best, straight up. I never doubled nobody. Nor have I ever asked for double-team. If you want to bang and push, let’s bang and push.”Across the locker room, teammate LeBron James smiled when asked whether he noticed O’Neal seemed especially up for the matchup.“I think so,” James admitted. “The whole Superman thing kind of bothers him, I think. That’s definitely his nickname, and the fact that everybody kind of gave Dwight his name kind of bothers him a little bit.”"

You can read Boyer’s take here.

The Cavs not only beat the Magic but they may be close to a deal for Troy Murphy.

"Not saying Chris Webber’s the NBA version of Jay Glazer, but he did offer the following comment prior to tip-off on TNT tonight which sent twitter ablaze as the Cavaliers ran out to a 37-23 first quarter lead over the Orlando Magic:“Kevin McHale actually called me when I was in the locker room getting ready for the show and said there may be a big trade coming for Cleveland and this might be the last time we see this starting line-up…I heard Troy Murphy”Webber didn’t say who the Cavs were supposedly looking deal in order to pry the Pacers forward away from Indiana, but J.J Hickson currently starts at the position Troy Murphy plays. Not saying Webber meant that as a one-for-one swap, but if he did, count me as a guy who’s opposed to trading J.J. Hickson at all for Troy Murphy. In fact, I’m not so sure I’d want to see Murphy even start over Hickson if the Cavs were to acquire him some other way. And I don’t know if Hickson heard those same rumblings prior to tip either, but if he did, he did"

Brendan Bowers of Stepien Rules has more on that story here.

Speaking of the Cavs and Magic, Van Gundy may need to start LeBron James at Point Guard for the East after

"Dwight Howard took out Bulls Guard Derrick Rose.Van Gundy, as expected, said he wasn’t losing a lot of sleep over the decision.“Oh, it’s my big coaching decision for the all-star game,” Van Gundy deadpanned. “Your coaching reputation is on the line.”Van Gundy, never a big fan of the exhibition and its pomp and circumstance, said he isn’t coaching as much as he’s “managing minutes for the people who are there.”"

You can find that story here.

Josh Robbins lists eight trade candidates here.

Speaking of trades, Sean Deveney says Brandon Bass is on the block.

"The Magic insist they are not dealing Bass, but it is clear that he does not fit coach Stan Van Gundy’s system—Van Gundy is a coach who wants shots to come from either the 3-point line or under the basket. Bass is more of a rugged power forward who plays very solid defense against bigger players, but whose offensive strength is 12-foot jumpers. Bass is a very expensive end-of-the-bench option, and though he could prove useful in a rough playoff series, the Magic would have to consider trade options."

You can find more on 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.)