Orlando Magic News & Notes: SVG Defends His Comments, More On Dwight Howard

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The talk of the day were the fines handed down to Matt Barnes and Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy by the NBA. You can read more about that here.

On Thursday, Van Gundy stood by his comments.

"“I’m not saying the officials are wrong. I don’t know. Their official supervisors and the people who watch their tapes would have to tell you that. I’m just saying it’s a unique situation. I’m not saying anybody’s getting screwed or anything.“I’m just saying it’s a unique situation. When I turn on the Cleveland game, LeBron’s going to be playing. When I turn on the Miami game, Wade’s going to be playing. I know that. Carmelo’s going to be playing. Dirk’s going to be playing. It’s different in our game. You don’t know when you turn it on. You don’t know when you turn it on. You don’t know how many minutes Dwight’s going to get.”"

Josh Robbins has that story here.

George Diaz weighed in on the situation.

"There’s the rub for Howard. He’s got to stay in that happy place and not let the demons rattle his brain. The Magic went through some of these same frustrations last season during the Eastern Conference Finals, questioning the foul disparity between Howard and LeBron James.Let’s be honest, Dwight: You and the zebra people are not the best of friends. This foul-prone madness is nothing new. Howard has averaged 4.17 fouls in 39 career playoff games. That number is up slightly in two games this season. Howard has been socked for five fouls in each of the first two games of the series, limiting him to an average of 28 minutes on the floor.The Magic need Howard’s fouls to go down and the minutes to go up to have a legitimate shot at winning a championship."

You can read his column here.

Austin Burton compared Howard to Shaquille O’Neal when discussing the way he is officiated.

"Another thing Dwight has in common with Shaq is that NBA referees have no idea how to call his games. Even more than his free throws or his much-criticized skills scoring in the post, foul trouble has consistently been Dwight’s biggest handicap in the League. It’s like the more dominant and famous he gets, the refs slap him with even more ticky-tack calls. Usually it goes the other way when you’re a superstar: For example, I don’t think LeBron is going to foul out of a game for the rest of his career."

You can read that story here.

Howard is trying to shake his foul trouble.

"Part of Howard’s foul trouble is clearly because of his position and his aggressiveness. He set NBA history this season by leading the league in both rebounds and blocked shots for a second consecutive season – dirty work that usually involves scrapping inside, flinging his body around and contesting shots at the rim.During the NBA’s regular season, the top nine players in the league in fouls per game were either centers or power forwards. Golden State’s Corey Maggette and Denver’s Carmelo Anthony were the only two non-post players in the top 12 in fouls per game.Van Gundy, a voracious studier of statistics and the history of the game, said another thing that makes Howard’s foul problems unique is that some of the game’s best centers ever haven’t encountered the same trouble as Howard."

John Denton has that story here.

Luckily, the Magic retained Howard’s backup, Marcin Gortat.

"“I think it’s always good to have a back-up center. Everybody wants them, but there are not a ton of them,” said GM Otis Smith, who matched the Mavs’ five-year, $34-million offer sheet for Gortat, a restricted free agent. “Marcin comes in and keeps us somewhat whole. He’s not the same guy (as Howard), doesn’t demand the same respect, but he can hold his own at the position when Dwight’s in foul trouble.”Gortat realizes his playing time could shrink at any moment.“It’s kind of surprising that I got this playing time. I’m really excited about playing right now, so many minutes,” he said. “But I know it will come back to reality one day and I will be playing just five minutes a game, probably.”"

You can read that story here.

Kelly Dwyer makes Dwight Howard his Defensive Players Of The Year.

"Dwight Howard(notes) changes games. He changes a team’s offensive game plan before it even has the chance to hit the floor, and then once the ball goes up, Howard changes shots. He changes plays, he changes the arc on a shot taken within his vicinity, and he changes the chances a team has at a second shot should it escape his grasp and carom off the rim. No other player in the NBA changes things, defensively, as much as Dwight Howard. No guard, no other big man, no roaming wing. Nobody."

You can see why here.

Bethlehem Shoals talks about Vince Carter.

"So with the Magic in the driver’s seat until we hear otherwise, it’s time to turn back to the big stories that hang over this team. There, the front-runner has to be the Vince Carter Question. Namely, what does it mean for the oft-maligned swingman’s legacy if, in the twilight of his career, he can play a key part in a Magic title run. Note: Although Carter was lackluster in the opening game, last night he lead Orlando in scoring with 19 points, along with 5 boards and 2 steals.Up to this point, Carter has been reviled for any number of reasons, most of them some version (in many cases, founded) that Vince is soft, a quitter, only interested in putting on a show, and possibly not even interested at all in basketball. But what if the Magic are the last team left standing? Kevin Garnett, and Shaquille O’Neal-less Kobe Bryant, were only the most recent examples of mega-stars who needed a championship to fully-legitimate their careers. They took the leap from magisterial choker, or at least somehow incomplete, to full-fledged Hall of Famers."

You can read that story here.

Aaron Brooks was named the league’s Most Improved Player (I would have given the award to Kevin Durant but that’s another story. J.J. Redick earned some votes, finishing 21st. You can see the full results here.

Van Gundy does not think that Bobcat’s Majority Owner Michael Jordan is a shoe-in as the greatest player of all-time.

"“(Jordan’s) certainly right there with anybody and he may be (the greatest). But the people who say it’s obvious and everything else….. I think maybe don’t know enough history,” Van Gundy said.“I think one of the really tough things is to compare players from generation to generation. The game has changed a great deal. He’s the best player by far since I’ve been in the league. I came in the early 90’s when he was in his prime. I think in the last 20, 25 years, he’s the best.“But to me, the two other guys I think of are Oscar Robertson and Wilt Chamberlain… the things they did.”"

Brian Schmitz has that story here.

Rick Bonnell also touched on the subject.

"Van Gundy said television helped make Jordan an icon:“We didn’t have the saturation on TV and that,” in earlier generations. “I don’t even know how many times Oscar Robertson was on national TV his entire career….Michael Jordan, people saw him from college and all the way through.”"

You can find that story here.

The people of Charlotte are excited for the Bobcats’ first ever home playoff game.

"At least four of uptown Charlotte’s buildings are being lit at least partially in orange this week, in honor of the Charlotte Bobcats and their first-ever NBA playoff appearance.“It’s great to see people getting behind the team like this,” said Moira Quinn, chief operating officer of Charlotte Center City Partners. “We’re working with other property managers to join in.”"

Steve Lyttle has that story here.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor on the Fansided Front Page and at 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).