Orlando Magic News & Notes: NBA Finals Rematch

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The Orlando Magic will take on the Los Angeles Lakers in a rematch of last season’s NBA Finals. You can read a preview of the game here.

Brian Schmitz reports that the Magic have moved on.

"“It was a disappointment, but you move on. So I don’t have to reminisce,” coach Stan Van Gundy said.“You take what you think you might have learned about them [the Lakers] and their players and try to put that to use. But as far as them coming back for the first time since the Finals, that’s a nice article, I guess, but it’s meaningless to me.”"

You can read that story here.

The Lakers will look to avoid their first three game losing streak since they acquired Pau Gasol. Kobe Bryant spoke up and shared his displeasure with LA’s last two games at practice yesterday.

"Bryant spoke up during the Lakers’ practice Saturday at Rollins College. He wouldn’t tell reporters what his message was — “It’s to my teammates,” he said — but ostensibly he wants to see more determination, especially on defense.“There’s a willfulness that you have to have in this game, and there’s also a flexibility,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said after practice ended. “The willfulness carries the day most of the time, about 80 percent of the time. So, we can talk about strategy, and then there’s getting the job done.”"

Josh Robbins has that story here.

John Denton previews the game.

"“I’m always thinking back to the Finals and playing the Lakers because we got there, but didn’t win it,’’ Magic forward Rashard Lewis said wistfully. “Getting to the Finals is something that I’ll remember the rest of my life. But the job isn’t done until we win that championship.’’Like Howard, Nelson and Lewis, Magic reserve forward Mickael Pietrus admitted that beating the Lakers consume many of his basketball thoughts. Howard has a picture of the Larry O’Brien trophy taped to a mirror in the bathroom at his house so that he’s thinking about a championship every day. The Magic chant “championship’’ when they break huddles and have pictures of the trophy taped to their lockers at RDV Sportsplex and Amway Arena. And Pietrus said thoughts of the trophy often dance in his head at night.“Of course I think about (last year’s Finals) and trying to win a championship. I think about it every day,’’ said Pietrus, one of the Magic’s playoff heroes last spring. “When I sleep, I dream about winning a championship. When I play, I think about winning a championship. It would be the most amazing thing for my career, and it was incredible for all of the Orlando Magic fans.’’"

You can read his preview here.

Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times has more.

"Did he talk to his teammates, as he pledged to do in the wake of an embarrassing 98-83 loss Friday in Charlotte?“A little bit,” Bryant said.How was it perceived?“I don’t give a …”Was he kind?“Always.” (Said with sarcasm.)What was your message?“That’s for my teammates.”He did allow that his frustration was with the defense.“We’ve got to do a much better job of protecting the paint, protecting the basket and not giving up so many free throws,” he said. “Too many easy opportunities.”"

You can read that story here.

Tania Ganguli says that the game will feel like a playoff atmosphere.

"“It will be a playoff atmosphere just like the Cleveland game was a playoff atmosphere,” Magic F Rashard Lewis said. “Lot of people are going to come to see the Lakers. Lot of people are going to come to see us. So it’s most definitely going to be a playoff atmosphere.”In June the Lakers beat the Magic for the NBA title in five games. The Magic won Game 3, then watched the Lakers celebrate on their home court.The Lakers enter Sunday’s game having lost consecutive games to the Miami Heat and Charlotte Bobcats.“I’m pretty sure coming off two losses, the Lakers are going to come out looking forward to playing a good game,” Dwight Howard said. “We just have to be up for it and ready for the challenge and go out there and get a win.”"

So far, it looks like she’s right. It’s pretty wild outside of the Am. You can read her story here.

Silver Screen and Roll previews the game.

"Expect a fight tomorrow. The Lakers looked very tired against Charlotte. Given that it was a back to back following a a night in Miami, no less, it’s understandable (not forgivable). The Magic will probably look exploit that lethargy by running every chance they can on defensive rebounds. Rebounds Dwight Howard will probably gobble up. Dwight’s offense is just getting better, meanwhile Andrew’s and Pau’s defense seem to have regressed. Howard’s strength is going to wear on the Lakers’ bigs, and most likely, put them in foul trouble is they play anything like they did in Friday. Expect Dwight to have a great game. That’s fine. The Lakers can handle that as long as Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis, and Jameer Nelson are held in check. This game will have to be won on the perimeter by Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, and Derek Fisher."

You can read that here.

Chris Shellcroft of Lake Show Life takes a look at Ron Artest’s new haircut. 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, add him on Twitter to follow him daily and you can get the HTD app here).