Orlando Magic News & Notes: Dwight Howard Vs. Skip Bayless


The Orlando Magic got back on the right track Wednesday night, defeating the San Antonio Spurs 110-84.

Vince Carter was excellent in the victory.

"Combining Carter’s spectacular 24-point, eight-assist night with statistically the worst shooting performance of Tim Duncan’s stellar career produced a surprisingly easy 110-84 whipping of the San Antonio Spurs for the Magic.A nationally televised audience and a sellout crowd at Amway Arena were treated to a show by the 33-year-old Carter. It was vintage Vince when the guard scored 16 first-quarter points to get the Magic off to a blazing start.In the game, he made seven of 11 shots, three of four 3-pointers and seven of eight free throws. And to make the night even better, his eight assists were a season high for the Daytona Beach native. “The first thing I look at after a game are my assists and my turnovers, not the points,’’ said Carter, who had one turnover in 30 minutes on Wednesday. “If I go out and have 14 assists, but turn it over four times, I feel like I hurt my team. But I pride myself on the fact that my team puts the ball in my hands and trust me to protect the ball and make plays. I just try to make good things happen.’’"

You can read John Denton’s postgame analysis here.

Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel recaps the game here.

The Magic hope Rashard Lewis’ excellent shooting night helped him snap out of his slump.

"“Especially when you make your first shot. Then you feel like you’re going to make every shot you put up that night,” said Lewis, who made seven of his 10 shot attempts.Lewis received some additional help. Point guard Jameer Nelson told Lewis before the game that he wanted to use some pick-and-roll plays to give Lewis extra space to shoot.“[There was] a lot more aggressiveness from him,” Nelson said afterward. “He wasn’t thinking as much. You could tell. He just was playing his game. A lot of people talk about this and that, and Rashard is who he is. He’s going to shoot the ball. He’s going to score the ball at the end of the game. He’s going to have 16 to 20 points.”"

Josh Robbins has that story here.

Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld was in attendance and offers some notes on his courtside blog.

The Magic ended San Antonio’s win streak.

"Defensively, the Magic didn’t exactly throw the kitchen sink at Duncan. They simply sent Dwight Howard, the league’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year, at him. When Howard got in early foul trouble, they dispatched Marcin Gortat, their backup 7-footer.“It’s not like they did a miracle defense on him,” Ginobili said. “He just had a bad night.”With Duncan struggling, the Spurs (40-26) didn’t have the arsenal to keep up.It didn’t help that the Magic (48-21) began the game on fire and stayed that way. With Spurs defenders constantly doubling Howard on the catch, Orlando went 4 for 8 from 3-point range in the first quarter."

Jeff McDonald has that story here.

48 Minutes of Hell recaps the game here.

Matt Barnes continues to get treatment on his toe as he prepares for Thursday night’s matchup with Dwyane Wade.

"The small forward played just over 33 minutes — more than any other Magic player. He scored eight points, collected seven rebounds and dished out four assists in the win.He also spent much of his evening guarding Manu Ginobili, who scored 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting.“I’m just a little sore, but I’m fine,” Barnes said after the game. “It feels good to be back out there. I was probably a step slow tonight, and Ginobili was hitting tough shots. I felt I was a step slow, but I’m going to continue to get treatment, rest it and got another one tomorrow.”"

Josh Robbins also has that story here.

The big story of the night came at the end of the evening when Dwight Howard was asked about Skip Bayless’s comments about him.

"“I think everybody has a problem with anything I do on the floor. We got to the Finals last year with the same way I played this year. I’m not going to change who I am, I’m not going to change my personality. I’m not going to change anything about me. I’ve been playing basketball since I was three years old. I never changed one part of myself in this game. I’ve gotten a lot better since I’ve been playing basketball, but one thing that has always been consistent is I’m going to have fun out there. Basketball brings me joy. I don’t care what people say about me smiling too much or having too much fun. Hey, I’m doing something I love. I’m going to be thankful and have fun doing it. …“I don’t know what he could possibly say. Scottie Pippen said things, also Skip. I know in order to win you gotta work hard and that’s one thing that I do. I work extremely hard on both ends. I might have nights where I might not shoot the ball as well but I’m still going to work hard, I’m still going to play defense and do all the small things. Numbers don’t lie."

Tania Ganguli has that story here.

Dwight Howard responded on his official blog.

"Tons of people seem to have a problem with what I do out there on the court, but last I checked we got to the Finals last year with me playing the same way that I’m playing right now. People criticize me for smiling or having fun, but I’m not going to change who I am, my personality or anything about myself for anybody.I’ve been playing basketball since I was 3 years old and I’ve never changed one part of myself or my game for anybody. I’ve gotten a lot better at the game and one thing about me that’s going to remain consistent is that I’m going to have fun out there. The game brings me joy and I don’t care what people say about me smiling too much or having too much fun. Hey, I’m doing something that I love and I’m going to have fun. I’m blessed to be able to play basketball because I could be working somewhere 9 to 5. I’m going to be thankful that I’m doing something that I love."

You can read Howard’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).