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Orlando Magic News & Notes: Magic Sweep, Lakers/Cavs Not Inevitable


The Orlando Magic completed a four-game series sweep of the Charlotte Bobcats with a 99-90 win on Monday night.

Mickael Pietrus talked about why he had such a big game.

"Trademark 3-point shots bailed out the Magic, and Pietrus made two critical long-range efforts in the fourth period, playing with a sore right wrist.Pietrus, born on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, received some treatments on his wrists in his homeland last offseason from what he described as a voodoo priestess. Better than having surgery on the left one, he said.“She put this sauce on it and some weeds,” Pietrus said. “I think it helped me.”"

Brian Schmitz has that story here.

The Magic won this series with Dwight Howard missing major minutes, but the Magic need him on the court.

"“If you would have told me that Dwight would have averaged less than 30 minutes a game and we’d sweep, I’d have said there’s no way that could happen.” Van Gundy said. “It’s a testament to our other guys.”Even so, the Magic obviously need Howard to stop committing so many dumb fouls and stay on the floor. Yes, they can beat the offensively challenged Bobcats without Howard, but they can’t beat the Cavs if Howard spends half his time on the bench.Van Gundy has been fined for saying NBA refs treat Howard differently than the league’s other superstars. Maybe so, but if Howard wants to be treated like a superstar, he needs to start playing like one."

Mike Bianchi that story here.

Not only did Dwight Howard fire his agent, Aaron Goodwin, but now he may miss this summers’ World Championships.

"C Dwight Howard not only has fired his longtime agent, Aaron Goodwin, but there are indications he might forgo the World Championships in Turkey this summer in order to rest and possibly act in a movie and/or appear in a television reality show, among other things.Howard has said publicly he would play for Team USA in the World Championships, but those close to Howard say he might be looking for a diplomatic way later to bypass playing in the tournament.Cleveland’s LeBron James already has said he is leaning toward skipping it.After Monday’s shootaround, Howard refused to comment on reports that he is leaving Goodwin, but he didn’t deny them, either."

You can find that story here.

Ken Berger thinks you’re getting ahead of yourself if you expect a Cleveland-Los Angeles Finals.

"But the point of all this is not whether you like the Magic, but whether I can convince you that they represent by far the biggest obstacle in Cleveland’s path to the Finals, and potentially the biggest challenge to the Lakers’ bid to repeat as champions. (Assuming the Lakers can wake up in time to dispense with the Thunder by the end of the week.)Of those Big Three, Orlando was the only one to finish in the top six in scoring (102.8) and points allowed (95.3), resulting in the highest points differential in the league (7.5). The Magic were seventh in field-goal percentage (.470), first in 3-point percentage (.363) and first in opponent field-goal percentage (.438). The only thing they didn’t do well is defend the 3-point shot (.363, tied for fifth worst in the league)."

You can find that story here.

The Dwight Howard-Emeka Okafor debate will forever tie the Magic and Bobcats together.

"“We debated about it, but to be honest, it was pretty clear to us what we were going to do,” said Vander Weide. “And I know it’s easy to look back at it now, but right away, we were pleased with our decision.”How could they not be?Howard arrived and was just as advertised: raw and yet intriguing. With tremendous upside. Eventually, he grew into the position and his body (“he weighed 240 pounds then, now his shoulders are 240,” said Vander Weide) and his role as franchise cornerstone. Howard is the best player at the game’s most important position, a back-to-back choice as Defensive Player of the Year, and has developed a dependable offensive move or two.Orlando gradually surrounded Howard with 3-point shooters to transform itself into a dangerous team that went to the NBA Finals last summer and could return this June. Also — and not by coincidence — the Magic this fall will move into a new arena, the House that Howard Built."

Shaun Powell of has that story here.

The Magic once again executed better than the Bobcats down the stretch.

"Orlando started the fourth quarter with a 71-68 lead. By the nine minute timeout, the Magic had two threes from Mickael Pietrus and some scoring from a refreshingly aggressive Vince Carter to extend the lead to seven at 83-76.Charlotte did not score a field goal for about eight minutes in the third quarter, getting only nine points from the free throw line in that time. This gave Orlando all the time it needed to extend its lead into double digits and oust Charlotte from its first postseason with a 99-90 win on Monday."

Philip Rossman-Reich has that story here.

When Vince Carter was called upon Monday night, he delivered.

"Coach Stan Van Gundy relied on Carter despite his cold shooting throughout the series; he’d shot just 13-of-40 from the floor and 0-of-12 from beyond the arc prior to tonight. In the second half, with the chance to finish the Bobcats’ season and earn some rest, he called on Carter to initiate the offense. He answered that challenge by attacking the basket more aggressively and purposefully than he had at any other time in the series. And he got a few jumpers to drop as well. Carter’s never one to doubt his shot, but I do think Van Gundy’s move here made sense in the short-term (to win the game) and the long-term (to get Carter going for the next series)."

Ben Q. Rock has that story here.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, 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).