Orlando Magic News & Notes: Magic Hit The Road

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The Magic will get back to work when they hit the road to take on the Houston Rockets Wednesday night. You can the game preview here.

Dwight Howard has taken a pounding in the media lately and there is no reason for it. Here is my response to their criticism.

The big news in Orlando Tuesday was Vince Carter’s 85-foot shot. Click here to see the shot.

Rashard Lewis has not shot the ball as much as he would like, but he has not lost confidence.

"“It’s most definitely been an adjustment playing with Vince,” Lewis said. “He’s a guy in his career who dominates the ball. He shoots 20-plus shots a night [actually 14 shots per game this season] and has the ball in his hands a lot of the time. With this team … he’s not the first option. He’s used to being the first option. So, it was an adjustment, but we’re getting a lot better.”Any difficulties adjusting to Carter seemingly pale in comparison to the health concerns Lewis’ family endured last season. His half-brother, Dorian Williams, was diagnosed with cancer and received chemotherapy treatments. Around that year’s all-star break, Lewis’ daughter, Gianna, who was 1½ at the time, developed high fevers, muscular pain and rashes and was in and out of the hospital; by March, doctors finally determined she had contracted a virus and prescribed her medication."

Josh Robbins has the story here.

The Magic continue to add new wrinkles to their playbook, namely the 1/2 pick-and-roll that the team used against Cleveland in the fourth quarter on Sunday.

"On Saturday, the team installed a new side pick-and-roll play for SG Vince Carter, and the new addition helped fuel Carter’s eight-point outburst in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 101-95 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.Coach Stan Van Gundy said the team put in some more wrinkles during Tuesday’s practice at RDV Sportsplex.“We went through a long stretch there — a really long stretch — where we didn’t have much practice time,” Van Gundy said. “Now, we’re gonna start putting in a little bit more stuff trying to develop some things for those guys just to give us some different looks.”"

You can read this and other Magic notes here.

Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.com writes that the Magic-Cavaliers rivalry is turning into the best current rivalry in the NBA.

"It started last season when Orlando was able to beat Cleveland in both the regular season and the playoffs. The series was physical, intense, and laid the groundwork for a great rivalry.Just one year later, many feel the Cavaliers have added pieces to counter the Magic’s attack. Shaquille O’Neal was acquired over the offseason to slow down Dwight Howard. Antawn Jamison, who has performed very well against Orlando throughout his career, would eliminate the matchup problems that Rashard Lewis caused.But the Magic have prepared for Cleveland as well. While Mickael Pietrus defends LeBron James better than most, the team signed Matt Barnes to relieve Pietrus of his duties every now and then. The team also brought in Brandon Bass, an energy big that can out hustle Anderson Varejao and J.J. Hickson in the paint. But most importantly, they signed Vince Carter to have a scorer that could go toe to toe in a shootout with LeBron James if necessary."

You can read that story here.

I’d have to agree with Kennedy.

Tim Povtak of NBA Fanhouse tells us that the Magic offered mixed reactions to the potential return of Zydrunas Ilgauskas to the Cavaliers. Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy didn’t sound pleased.

"“I don’t like the idea they could use Ilgauskas … and it’s selfish on my part … to basically get Jamison for nothing,” Van Gundy said. “The league needs to think about that, look at it, and I’m sure they will after so many questions have been raised. But that’s the rule now.”"

You can find that story here.

(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).