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Orlando Magic News & Notes: Matt Barnes, Rashard Lewis Unhappy With Stan Van Gundy

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The Orlando Magic lost to the Atlanta Hawks on a last second put-back dunk by Josh Smith 86-84 (which you can see at the bottom of this post).

Brian Schmitz discussed some of the problems Magic players had after the game.

First, Rashard Lewis.

"Lewis said he and teammates figured the Hawks (46-25) would call time-out, but they rushed down as the Magic scrambled to get into position. Howard went over to help Carter on Johnson, leaving them exposed on the backside.“I was kind of between two guys when the shot went up. I had one guy on my left-hand side and Josh came on the right side, so basically there’s nothing we can do,” Lewis said. “Maybe I should have boxed out Josh. You can say that after the plays over. It was tough to box out more than one person at one time.”"

Then, Matt Barnes.

"Barnes, considered Orlando’s best perimeter defender and renowned Kobe Bryant-agitator, was pulled by Van Gundy with 5:38 left for Lewis. Barnes (12 points, 7 rebounds) was visibly upset heading to the bench.“(Van Gundy) obviously must not trust me down the stretch. Only thing I can think of. I’m knocking down 3s, I’m playing D, I’m rebounding. I couldn’t believe it,” Barnes said. “I could see it if the person I’m coming out for is cooking or something…but that wasn’t really the case tonight.“It’s very frustrating to sit on the bench the last five minutes when I held Joe to 13 points. It’s very frustrating.”Asked about Barnes’ absence, Van Gundy said he needed “to get more shooting on the floor.”"

You can find the complete story here.

Vince Carter made a huge three-pointer to the tie the game with 9.9 seconds left.

"Vince Carter appeared to give the Magic a chance to get the game to overtime by drilling a contested 26-foot 3-pointer with nine seconds to play that tied the game at 84-all. Carter had Smith in his face and had just a glimpse of the rim before he hit the shot that momentarily hushed Philips Arena. Carter finished with 16 points and four assists.“I just barely could see the rim, but I was able to create just enough room to get the shot off,’’ Carter said. “I was glad I was able to make that shot to tie up the game. You just have to give Atlanta credit for coming to play.’’Dwight Howard had 19 points, 24 rebounds and four blocked shots for a Magic team that still has won 11 of 13 games. Jameer Nelson scored 20 points despite a sore wrist that he sprained in the second quarter and iced heavily after the game. Matt Barnes added 12 points, but was displeased after the game that he was pulled out of the game at times."

You can read Denton’s postgame analysis here.

Ken Sugiura of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution made his one late-game rebound count.

"“I just crashed it,” Smith said. “Luckily, the ball was right there for me to tip in. I know that Joe’s a good shooter, and I knew that it wasn’t going to come out too far, and I was just able to be around the rim.”"

You can find that story here.

Peachtree Hoops explains the thought process as Josh Smith was making his big dunk here.

Dikembe Mutumbo helped Dwight Howard begin the player he is today.

"“He told me that I was playing great, but he challenged me to go beyond the limits of what I thought I could do defensively. He told me with the way that I can move and jump that I should be the Defensive Player of the Year every year until I get old,’’ Howard remembered. “He wanted me to challenge myself to become great. He told me to take advantage of all my talent and skills now and not wait until I’m older. He said I should do everything I could try to and win and be great now.’’Howard said he went back to his hotel room that night and reflected on himself as a player and made a vow to himself that it was time for him to fully blossom into the game’s most dominant low post player. Thusly, he became just the fifth player in NBA history to lead the league in rebounding and blocked shots in the same season. And because he’s on pace to repeat the feat, Howard would be the first in league history to lead the league in both categories in consecutive seasons.“I just had to dedicate myself to the game and dedicate myself to all the things that I could be,’’ said Howard, who entered Wednesday’s game in Atlanta averaging 18.5 points, 13.1 rebounds and 2.72 blocks. “People like Dikembe see things in me and they want me to be the best player I can be. We still talk a lot and we did a lot of stuff together in Africa last summer (with the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program). He’s an inspiration to a lot of us on and off the court.’"

You can find this in Denton’s notebook here.

Stan Van Gundy prefers the NBA game to the college game.

"“I don’t know of coaches getting fired winning 20-25 games a year and kids aren’t graduating. I don’t know people who are keeping their jobs that aren’t winning and are graduating. It’s about the same stuff.“Here, [in the NBA], it’s just more honest. We all know what it’s all about. You don’t have to pay lip service to things. This is the best basketball in the world.”Van Gundy coached at Castleton State (Vt.) and UMass-Lowell before becoming head coach at University of Wisconsin.“I really enjoyed that level [small-college] where the recruiting was a little more — how can I say this? Sane, I guess,” Van Gundy said. “The idea of having to the things you have to do in recruiting at a major-college level today — I’m not talking about being dishonest or violating rules — just what you have to do to get it done. … That doesn’t appeal to me any longer.”"

You can find that story here.

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