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Orlando Magic News & Notes: Taking On the New-Look Mavs


The Orlando Magic will get a tough test on Friday night when they take on the Dallas Mavericks. You can read more about that game here. The Magic will be honoring Darrell Armstrong during the game.

John Denton discusses the Magic honoring Armstrong.

"In nine seasons in Orlando, Armstrong played 502 games and averaged 11.7 points, 5.1 assists and 1.65 steals a game. He ranks in the top 10 of six major statistical categories in Magic history and at one time played in 206 straight games. He still holds the franchise record for consecutive made free throws with 47.“It’ll be an honor to be recognized in the building where I played all of my games because the Magic move down the street into the new building,” Armstrong said. “I played nine years in (Amway Arena), and there are so many good memories there.”One of the best memories came on March 15, 1999 when Armstrong saved the Magic on a night when Orlando and Philadelphia both hard a hard time finding the basket. With the Magic training 73-72 with 3.3 seconds remaining, Armstrong dashed in front of Allen Iverson to steal a pass and converted a layup as time expired for a big Magic victory.In so many ways, it was classic Armstrong. He sacrificed his body to make the steal, he refused to give up until the final horn and he used his unbreakable will to push his Magic team to an unlikely victory.“That was probably my most favorite moment of my career,” Armstrong remembered. “But a funny story about that play was that my mother-in-law was watching at home and they came out of commercial late and when the game came back on I already had the ball in my hands. She thought they were showing a replay from another game. She didn’t know that the play had won the game.”"

You can find that story here.

Orlando Pinstriped Post discussed the game with Mike Fisher of DallasBaksetball.com.

"Well, Bass is a good dude. I hear some of the rips on him (“Hasn’t learned the plays’’ and such) … and that doesn’t fit at all with what happened here. He was shy but attentive … I found him to be thoughtful enough … he followed the lead of Dirk on many matters, which is always a damn good idea (in basketball and in life!) … but he truly was in a system that appreciated him for what he was … and didn’t ask too much of him beyond that.Oh, they made him play center, and that wasn’t ideal. But mostly he was a backup 4 who got to play against other backup 4s who were just relieved to not be guarding Dirk.The audience here loved him, his teammates liked him, and the organization – which, as you know, really “discovered’’ him (or re-discovered, maybe, off the Hornets trash pile) — hoped he’d get no great offer so he’d come back and remain a part of the family.He got overpaid. Everybody who is in-the-know here knew that; while the NBA Nation was applauding Otis for “stealing’’ Bass, the people here didn’t think he got stolen: They thought he got purchased at an inflated price."

You can find that exchange here.

"The Magic talked to several teams about making a deal but never pulled the trigger.Smith wasn’t buying what teams were selling, so he did what he said he would do — stand pat.“Nothing made me look twice,” he said. “There was nothing that was going to greatly improve our team. I wasn’t aggressively pursuing anything.”Smith said that the Cleveland Cavaliers’ acquisition of PF Antawn Jamison from the Washington Wizards did not make him consider pulling an 11th hour deal.“I like our team they way it is,” he said.Of the Jamison signing, Smith said, “I think he fits well for them.”Jamison and the league-leading Cavs visit Orlando on Sunday."

Brian Schmitz has that story here.

Denton also discussed Orlando’s decision not to make a move.

"In Smith’s eyes, the Magic made several big moves last summer by trading for Vince Carter and Ryan Anderson and signing Matt Barnes, Jason Williams and Brandon Bass in free agency. Those five new players surrounding the core of Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis, Jameer Nelson, J.J. Redick and Marcin Gortat led Smith to believe that the Magic are good enough to win a championship.At 37-18 after Wednesday’s rout of the Detroit Pistons, the Magic lead the Southeast Division and are second in the Eastern Conference behind Cleveland. Orlando hosts Dallas Friday night at 8 p.m. and then plays the Cavs on Sunday in Orlando.“We’ve made a lot of changes and I wasn’t going to make more of them just for the sake of making changes. Just trying to keep up with the Jones so to speak, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,” said Smith, the architect of last season’s NBA Finalist squad. “We still need time to gel and allow guys time to play better and play together. It just takes time.“I think we do have enough to compete for a title. When you start talk about building teams, it’s not always about having the most talent at every position 1 through 13,” Smith continued. “Guys have to buy into their roles and your best players have to be the best players. I think we have enough depth and talent to get it done.”"

You can find that story here.

Josh Robbins takes a look at the deadline winners and losers here.

Matt Barnes does the dirty work for the Magic.

"“I’m happy to be here. I’ve had a hard road to get where I’m at. I’m OK with not being a superstar,” Barnes said. “I just want to be on a winning team and do my part.”Guess what? The Magic’s title hopes might hinge on how Barnes performs in likely playoff scenarios.For the least-paid, least-acclaimed and probably least-appreciated Magic starter, here’s all they are asking of Matt:At some point, defend Boston Celtics all-star Paul Pierce and/or Cleveland Cavaliers all-everything LeBron James.Will anyone be facing more pressure than Barnes, who is often assigned the other team’s best wing player? A guy who seldom commands the spotlight will likely have it glaring on him in the postseason."

Schmitz also has that story and you can find it here.

The Smoking Cuban calls Caron Butler the “Modern Maverick.” After a rough start to his life, Butler loves to help others.

"His off court awards and projects are far too many to list. He has traveled to South Africa on behalf of the NBA. He has hosted charity basketball games, sponsored high school tournaments, hosted back-to-school drives for less fortunate kids, and held free basketball clinics.He has been given awards on the local and national level.He started “Caron’s Coats for Kids” program which hands out coats, hats, and gloves to kids in Racine and Washington D.C. “Caron’s Bike Brigade” has partnered with Wal-Mart and The Salvation Army to give out over 2,500 bikes and helmets. He sponsors “Cops n Kids Legacy Program” in Racine for the betterment of the Racine community.June 8, 2007 and July 20, 2009 were proclaimed “Caron Butler Day” in Racine and Connecticut respectively."

You can read more about Butler here.

"During the offseason, it looked like the Mavs were going to be one big short because of the Magic. They signed Mavericks Power Forward Brandon Bass and then matched Dallas’ offer for Restricted Free Agent Center Marcin Gortat. Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com says that the Mavs have found their big man.The Mavs moved on by using the bulk of their midlevel exception to sign Drew Gooden, who filled Bass’ former role before being shipped to Washington in the recent seven-player deal. Essentially, the Mavs parted with Gooden to get Brendan Haywood, addressing the need for a big man of the future, a need they had attempted to fill with Gortat.Bass and Gortat, on the other hand, don’t feel so great about the way the dominoes fell. They both are bit players for Orlando, averaging about 13 minutes apiece, with Bass not even getting off the bench in many games."

You can find that story here.

It looks like a night of partying sealed Josh Howard’s fate in Dallas.

"The juicy piece of irony is that Howard ended up in Washington, which may well have been the site where he had the beginning of the end, according to several Maverick sources.They say Howard had a long night of partying on Jan. 19, the night after the Mavericks had won in Boston and less than 24 hours before playing the Wizards.The team officially said he missed the game against Washington on Jan. 20 with a stomach illness. But sources said team officials could not deny that it was a self-inflicted game off.Howard’s agent, Jeff Schwartz, did not comment on the incident."

Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News has that story 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. You can get the HTD app here.)