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Orlando Magic News & Notes: Rashard Lewis Is The Key

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The Orlando Magic will take on the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night. You can read a preview for that game here.

Tania Ganguli makes it official. Matt Barnes will play Wednesday night.

"Matt Barnes better gear up for another tough test tonight. Coming off a brief toe injury, Barnes will start tonight’s game against the San Antonio Spurs guarding Manu Ginobili, Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said.Barnes sat out Sunday’s loss to the Charlotte Bobcats having sprained the big toe in his left foot. Throughout the season Barnes has been charged with guarding some of the league’s top wing players."

You can find that story here.

Brian Schmitz says the Spurs are trying to “recapture their Magic.”

"Age and injuries have caught up to the Spurs to an extent. They aren’t as stout defensively. They started the season a surprising 9-9 and could end it with point guard Tony Parker (broken hand) watching from the bench, although second-year player George Hill has played well as his stand-in.“We’re playing better than we have been,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told reporters. “Our last month has been our best basketball. We’re still not going to scare the Lakers or people like that, but we’ve playing better.”"

You can find that story here.

The Spurs defeated the Miami Heat Tuesday night. 48 Minutes of Hell has that story here.

Jeff McDonald says the Spurs used defense to get it done.

"But if Spurs coach Gregg Popovich had to choose the most encouraging sign from his team’s suffocating 88-76 victory over Miami on Tuesday, it would be this:The Spurs’ defense is beginning to look like the Spurs’ defense.“Nothing good can happen, playoff-wise, if you can’t play ‘D’,” Popovich said."

You can find that story here.

On that note, Ben Q. Rock compares Orlando’s defense to the 2007-2008 Spurs’ defense.

"As you can see, since Van Gundy took over the Magic in 2007, the teams have succeeded on defense using the same methods. They defend the three-point line well, don’t gamble for steals, crash the defensive glass, and avoid sending their opponents to the foul line.Those second and fourth points are what stand out to me most, and make this comparison meaningful. All coaches, regardless of individual defensive philosophy, preach the importance of defending the three-point line and limiting second-chance opportunities. What makes Van Gundy and Popovich more unique is that they punt the turnover category, instead emphasizing staying with your man and not gambling for steals. Think about it: when was the last time you saw Pietrus dart into the passing lane for a steal? Or Bogans, who spent part of last season and all of 2007/08 with Orlando? That’s rare. Deflections are a bit more common, sure, but there are few teams who consciously make this sort of effort."

You can find that story (and a cool chart) here.

Wayne Vore of Pounding the Rock discusses the Spurs and expected field goal percentage.

"Heading into our 59th game of the year against the Hornets our players are who they are. They’ve taken enough shots and seen enough repetitions to establish a solid mean. If a player has taken 145 shots from a particular place on the floor and shoots 60% from on those attempts, you shouldn’t be surprised at all to see him go 6-10 for a game. It’s what he does. If a guy is shooting 40% from the corner 3, you should expect him to go 2-5. It’s not a fluke. It’s not hot shooting. If a guy is shooting 28% from the top of the key, you shouldn’t be surprised to see him go 2-7 from there in a game. It’s not a fluke. It’s not cold shooting. He is who we think he is.Therefore, the goal of the team should be to get shots from guys where they are good shooters. And not get shots from guys where they are bad shooters. Get it? With this is mind, I decided that a good way to judge the offensive performance of the team for a game would be to determine how they should have shot for the game. Then, compare that to how they actually shot. The first would tell me whether or not they ran a good offense in relation to how they normally run it. The latter would tell me whether or not they “made shots”."

You can read about that here.

The No Look Pass says that Tim Duncan must play in a scuba outfit.

Congratulations to Project Spurs.

Brian of Spurs of the Moment thinks Richard Jefferson is coming around and you can read that story here.

Britt Robson of Sports Illustrated thinks Rashard Lewis is Orlando’s key.

"“It’s been a little bit of an adjustment,” Lewis said. “Vince is a totally different player than Hedo — sometimes he’s better when he can be dominant. The chemistry may have been a little rocky at first, but we’re all beginning to learn each other and now we’re getting better. That’s what matters. It doesn’t matter if you are up and down early in the season.“This year, even before training camp started, I looked at all the talent Otis brought in and I started saying that if we are going to win a championship, we have to sacrifice. Guys can’t be upset about not getting shots some nights because there are going to be those nights for everybody.”"

You can find that story here.

Michael Garvin of Orlando Magic Daily has more on Lewis here.

Rashard Lewis has updated his blog to let his fans know that winning is all he cares about.

"I’m not frustrated at all when we’re winning ball games. We’ve been playing well since the all-star break and that’s really all that matters.I’m comfortable in our offense and it’s hard to argue with what we’re doing because it’s been working. Our number one option is Dwight Howard, Vince Carter is there and Jameer Nelson has been playing great. We’ve started to peak a little and that’s what we want coming down at the end of the season."

Read Sweet Lew’s blog 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).