Orlando Magic News & Notes: Barnes, SVG Get Heated, T-Mac Wants To Return


The Orlando Magic fell to the San Antonio Spurs 112-100 on Friday night.

It was not a good night for Dwight Howard.

"“It was a very frustrating night for us,’’ admitted Howard, who made just of 11 free throws and scored just 10 points before fouling out. “Teams out there want to beat us and send a message. It doesn’t matter if they are champions or not like San Antonio, they all have us listed as one of the best teams and they want to go out there and knock us off.’’At times, the Magic (53-23) made matters worse by reacting poorly to several odd situations. Barnes sniped at Magic coach Stan Van Gundy when he was pulled from the game early in the third period because he was unable to slow down Ginobili. And when the Spurs fouled Howard intentionally three different times in the fourth quarter, the Magic’s all-star center gestured toward the San Antonio bench.“Just play out the game and don’t foul,’’ Howard said afterwards. “We’ll see them next year and I told (his teammates) that if they do that again there will be a different result. I was very frustrated and just (ticked) off about what happened. (Fouling intentionally) happened against the Milwaukee Bucks a couple of years ago and I was so frustrated I couldn’t make my free throws. I let my frustration get to me and I couldn’t concentrate on my free throws. I’ve got to keep my composure better.’’"

You can find John Denton’s postgame analysis here.

Dwight Howard discussed his frustrating night.

"struggled with my free throws, but I know in my head that I work on them every day and I know I can make them in the playoffs. I just have to keep my head, play at peace and I can’t allow things to frustrate me out there. Guys have told me that all good centers in this league go through nights like this. I just have to keep working on my free throws and get better.As for them fouling me intentionally, that’s the part that upset me the most. Just play out the game and don’t resort to fouling like that. I told my guys after the game when we see them again next year if they do that the result will be different.Really, I’m just upset about what happened. Teams hacking me intentionally. It happened against the Milwaukee Bucks a couple of years ago and I was so frustrated I couldn’t make my free throws. Against the Spurs, I let my frustration get to me and I couldn’t concentrate on my free throws. I’ve got to keep my composure better. My team needs me on the floor."

You can read Dwight’s blog here.

There was a heated argument between Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy and Matt Barnes.

"The Magic fell to the Spurs 112-100 on Friday night at AT&T Center, and clearly, neither coach Stan Van Gundy or Matt Barnes had an answer for Manu Ginobili.Their inability to slow Ginobili (season-high 43 points) from the beginning provided a framework for the Spurs to even the season series at 1-1. Van Gundy apparently felt Barnes — considered the team’s best perimeter defender — wasn’t staying in the same zip code as Ginobili.Barnes stayed on the bench, leaving Mickael Pietrus and J.J. Redick to guard Ginobili. No luck, either."

Brian Schmitz has that story here.

Philip Rossman-Reich says it wasn’t all bad for the Magic.

"Mickael Pietrus followed his 26-point effort Thursday in Dallas with 18 points on seven-of-nine shooting. He missed two games with that ankle injury, but it seems to have just given him the break he needed to give the Magic some much needed scoring punch off the bench.Not to be outdone, JJ Redick turned in a fine game with 15 points and six rebounds.Rashard Lewis led the team with 18 points, shooting seven of 11 from the field and four for seven from beyond the arc. Lewis has been up and down recently. This was definitely an up game for him. The trick is stringing these type of games together, especially in preparation for the postseason."

You can find that story here.

The Magic simply had no answer for Manu Ginobili, who Spurs’ career may be winding down.

"“I played eight years here. It may be the last one,” Ginobili said. “It’s hard to swallow, but it’s the first time I’m going to be (an unrestricted) free agent.”The uncertainty swirls most around Ginobili on nights like Friday. He was 13 of 25 from the field, 14 of 17 from the line. He had six rebounds and five assists, and was in on almost every big play."

Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News has that story here.

Things are good again in San Antonio, but how good?

"Evidently, the Spurs are good.How good remains to be seen, but after convincing wins against the Celtics, the Cavaliers and now the Magic, you have to like their chances in an eventual NBA Finals. Will the Spurs be able to slip past Dallas, Utah? Do they have it in them to counter Gasol and Kobe? More importantly, will Tony make it back in time to rediscover his healthy scoring self? Advantageous seeding might be our only chance to give him the time and basketball he needs to regain his (French) flair. Every game matters, and if you’re willing to ignore the New Jersey travesty, the Spurs seem to be playing as if they knew this."

Pounding the Rock has that story here.

Ginobili was obviously great but there was an unsung hero for the Spurs, too.

"The hair might be a little thinner, but Manu Ginobili’s game remains as sharp as it ever was. The wild forays to the rim, weaving in and out of defenders grasp, the trademark “el contusion” style that earned 17 free throw attempts and the dagger step back 3-pointers for 43 points, six rebounds and five assists. It was vintage Manu Ginobili.“I think people tend to forget how good he really is,” Spurs center Antonio McDyess said. “It seems like he has gotten his stride back and is playing like the way he used to.”Overshadowed but not to be unappreciated, McDyess was able to put in the solid near double-double the Spurs expected when they acquired the former Detroit Piston."

Jesse Blanchard of 48 Minutes of Hell has that story here.

Charles Barkley thinks Dwight Howard will be an all-time great.

"And Barkley said that what Howard is doing now is just the tip of the iceberg of how truly great he is going to be in history.“People have no idea what this kid is about to accomplish,’’ the TNT analyst said. “When you talk about LeBron James you always say Michael Jordan, Oscar Robinson and you talk about Kobe in the same way. When you put a guy on a list with Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O’Neal, guys like that with Dwight Howard, you’re talking about some unbelievable categories.’’"

You can find that story here.

Former Magic player and current New York Knick, Tracy McGrady, is a free agent at the end of the season and recently stated that he would like to return to the Magic. Mike Bianchi hates the idea.

"McGrady’s revisionist history is laughable. First of all, he wanted to be traded. He asked to be traded. The Magic were a dysfunctional franchise during most of his time in Orlando and he wanted out.If you’ll recall, he didn’t want the Magic to draft Howard because he felt it would take a high school player too long to develop and he wanted to win now. So he asked to be traded to a contender. He was shipped to Houston for Steve Francis and Co. and ultimately failed there, too, because of injuries, a poor work ethic and a perpetual inability to lead.It should tell you something about McGrady that he is one of the most prolific NBA scorers of the last decade but has never been a part of a team that won a playoff series."

You can read that story here.

Panelists on ESPN’s Daily Dime discussed who, besides Cleveland and Los Angeles could reach the finals.

"David Thorpe, Scouts Inc.I like the Magic in the East. They’re back to defending like champs, and to beat them you have to hope they have four bad shooting games, thanks to Dwight’s inside dominance. And you could still lose because you can’t score either."

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).