Another media member has criticized Howard for his lack of a..."/>

Another media member has criticized Howard for his lack of a..."/>

Orlando Magic News & Notes: More Unfounded Criticism for Howard


Another media member has criticized Howard for his lack of a “killer instinct.” This time, it’s Mike Freeman of

"He should be the 21st century’s Wilt Chamberlain. No NBA big man has Howard’s athleticism and power. Yet, despite the protestations of Howard’s apologists, he continues to underachieve for a man of such significant physical presence.Howard deserves credit for attempting to diversify his offensive game with more front looks and handsomer jumpers, yet he still doesn’t look drastically different. He might be demanding the ball more but it looks tepid, almost fake, like he’s trying to be something he’s not.He still hasn’t cultured the thorny tenaciousness of a LeBron James, Kobe Bryant or Dwyane Wade. O’Neal once hungered for more than Snickers bars and was a vicious competitor. Howard doesn’t have that nastiness."

I just don’t get the national media’s criticism of Howard. Did they miss his line of 22 points, 16 rebounds, and four blocks against the Cavaliers or maybe they weren’t paying attention when Howard dropped 40 points in a series-clinching game six victory during last season’s Eastern Conference Finals?

You can read that story here.

Speaking of Howard, John Denton thinks he is peaking at the perfect time.

"Maybe most impressive of all was how Howard, still a NBA pup at 24 years old, kept his cool when O’Neal, now of the rival Cavs, tried baiting him into silly mind games over the “Superman” nickname. Howard brushed off the controversy and hit Shaq where it hurts most – in the low post. Howard was an unstoppable force down low and his shot-blocking presence helped keep LeBron James to just three fourth-quarter points.“All that I’m trying to do is be aggressive on both ends of the court and show my teammates how bad I want to win,” Howard said following Sunday’s victory. “We’re all in this to win. There are no individual goals and no agendas because we’re out to win a championship. It’s going to take all of us to win a championship, but really it starts with me.”Truer words have never been spoken. Orlando signed Rashard Lewis two years ago because his shooting would complement Howard on the inside. They traded for Vince Carter to give Howard more scoring support along the perimeter. They have stuck with point guard Jameer Nelson, Howard’s closest friend, through injury troubles. And they even signed Matt Barnes last offseason at the suggestion of Howard."

You can read that story here.

Howard was very excited about the victory over Cleveland – he even discussed his matchup with Shaq.

"Ya’ll know everybody wanted to make Sunday’s game like it was just me vs. Shaq in a Superman battle, but it was the Magic against the Cavs. I’ve really tried to stay away from that mess. I know Shaq said some things, but I’m just not going to let my focus be distracted by a silly argument over a nickname.Shaq knows I have much love for what he’s done for the game of basketball and for big men in the game. You would like to think that Shaq would want to be sort of a mentor to another young big man coming up in Orlando, but that’s fine the way things are.I think everybody saw that I ain’t backing down. You gotta go right at Shaq and make him work and that’s what I tried to do. And I gotta tell you, it’s tough battling that big dude when he’s 300-something pounds and I’m 270 and he’s got a height advantage on me too."

You can read Dwight’s blog here.

Rashard Lewis was also excited.

"I know everybody was ready to give the championship to Cleveland after they got Antawn Jamison, and he is a really good player who makes them better. But it’s not like we’re going to roll over and be afraid of them. We know when we play our best ball, we’re as good as any team in the NBA.When we get it rolling like we did against the Cavs, we have so many weapons. Dwight did a heck of a job wrestling with Big Shaq down low and Jameer was slicing and dicing them up all day. And Vince really got it going late with some plays run for him in the fourth quarter. That dunk of his looked like the Vin-sanity of old!Vince got me the ball on that three I made from the corner late in the game. I got knocked out of bounds as the shot was going up and I was laying in the crowd and didn’t even see the ball go in. The way the crowd was yelling, I just thought they called a foul. But it was a good play for us and kind of reminded me of that one I hit against Cleveland in the playoffs in Game 4. It was the same spot on the floor from that deep right corner."

You can read his blog here.

Could the Magic be the reason LeBron James leaves Cleveland?

"James just might believe he can’t win in Cleveland if the Cavs are ousted for the second straight season by the Magic (or by the Boston Celtics, for that matter). A return trip to the Finals (James and the Cavs lost to San Antonio in 2006-07) might be enough for him to re-enlist, but not getting there…..Maybe then he’ll be convinced he needs a fresh start (and don’t you get the feeling he’d take Shaq along with him?)The heavily leveraged Magic have no salary-cap room this summer to sign King James, of course. But they could well influence his fate — and Cleveland’s."

Brian Schmitz has that story here.

Magic Forward Matt Barnes is getting the job done on defense.

"The Orlando Magic didn’t sign SF Matt Barnes to a free-agent deal last July to be a scorer.But they did acquire him to help prevent people from scoring.It would be incorrect to say Barnes got the best of Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James on Sunday, especially after James finished the game with 33 points.But Barnes helped limit James during the fourth quarter. With Barnes guarding him one-on-one for much of the game’s final 8 minutes and 46 seconds, James scored just three points on 1-of-5 shooting.“You’ve got to make him work,” Barnes said afterward. “He’s going to score. He’s going to make great plays. He’s going to get calls. You’ve just got to fight hard, stay into him, stay physical and stay aggressive.”"

You can read this and other notes here.

Neil Paine of takes a look back at former Magic guard Penny Hardaway here.

The same company that currently sells beer and food to Amway Arena will sell it to the new Amway Events Center.

"City commissioners awarded Orlando Foodservice Partners the top ranking for the lucrative concession contract at the arena, Citrus Bowl stadium and Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, estimated to be worth more than $50 million in sales over the next five years.The vote all but guarantees the city will sign a five-year deal with the joint-venture between local businessman Arthur Lee and Levy Restaurants, one of the largest sports venue concessionaires in the country."

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