Matt Barnes spoke up on Thursday - he would like to guard Paul P..."/> Matt Barnes spoke up on Thursday - he would like to guard Paul P..."/> Matt Barnes spoke up on Thursday - he would like to guard Paul P...","articleSection":"","author":{"@type":"Person","name":"Andrew Melnick","url":""}}

Orlando Magic News & Notes: National Media Rips Howard (Again), Barnes Wants Pierce


Matt Barnes spoke up on Thursday – he would like to guard Paul Pierce.

"Looking at an 0-2 deficit, Magic coach Stan Van Gundy is expected to unleash Barnes and his edgy, defensive mentality on Pierce Saturday night in Game 3, hoping to claw back into the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals.“I’d love to guard Pierce. I think I can slow him down,” Barnes said Thursday after a two-hour practice. “I’ve studied his game. I’ve played against him in the summers. I don’t go for a lot of stuff he tries to do. This is the kind of thing I’m about.”Pierce scored 22 points in Game 1. He scored 28 points in Game 2, hitting big shot after big shot in both victories. In Game 2, though, the difference was that he scored 22 of his points in the first half — before Barnes made the switch to guard him."

Tim Povtak of NBA Fanhouse has that story here.

Rashard Lewis is putting his struggles behind him.

"He is well aware that his shooting has a carryover effect on the Magic as in when he’s drilling 3-pointers is usually creates more space inside for center Dwight Howard and bigger driving lanes for Vince Carter and Jameer Nelson. Lewis has worked the past two days on altering his game to get more shots, primarily by shooting one and two-dribble pull-up jumpers rather than driving into traffic or taking solely 3-pointers.“The past couple days I’ve just been trying to think to myself what I can do to get myself going. If they keep denying me like they are, maybe I can crash the offensive glass or catch the ball and try to take them off the dribble,’’ Lewis said. “Just try to get some type of rhythm going because they’re completely trying to take me out on the offensive end. Try to make them switch on pick and rolls or make bigs close out on the shooters.“We did we put a couple plays in and I think those plays will work,’’ Lewis said. “Hopefully they will. It just all comes down to moving the ball on offense, executing and doing everything hard.’’ Lewis said the Magic are approaching Game 3 as if it’s the Magic’s Game 7 and the season is on the line. Minutes after Tuesday’s Game 2, the team discussed the fact that it won in Boston last spring in a Game 7 and won twice there during the regular season."

John Denton of has that story here.

Mike Bianchi encourages Magic fans to keep believing and he uses the Philadelphia Flyers, who rallied from a three games-to-nothing deficit to defeat the Boston Bruins in the NHL’s Eastern Conference Semifinals.

"Don’t think Magic point guard Jameer Nelson, a Philly guy, isn’t reminding his teammates of the amazing comeback pulled off by his hometown hockey team.“Those guys on the Flyers were counted out and look what they did,” Nelson says.I don’t know why, but I believe Nelson when he says this series is far from over. I’m not saying the Magic are going to win it, but these guys are too good and care too much to roll over on their back, curl up their legs and die like a bug-sprayed cockroach."

You can read that story here.

Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy could be looking at a $1 million bonus.

"According to two NBA sources familiar with league contracts, Van Gundy’s contract is filled with incentives that pay him based on how far the Magic advance in the playoffs.When the Magic beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern finals and advanced to the NBA Finals a year ago, he made $1 million, in addition to his base salary, estimated at $4 million annually.The incentive-based contracts are common among NBA head coaches, yet the amounts paid fluctuate. Celtics coach Doc Rivers, whose base salary is $5.5 million, also would receive a sizable bonus if his team advances to the NBA Finals, but his incentive to reach the Finals is less than Van Gundy’s."

Tim Povtak has that story here.

Jason Whitlock of Fox Sports becomes the latest National to columnist to bash Dwight Howard for enjoying the game of basketball.

"After getting routed in Game 1 in the East, Howard childishly took the court for Game 2 by first performing his “comical” LeBron James, powder-throwing impersonation and then focusing all of his Superman-like powers on scoring more points than he did in Game 1.These guys are clueless. They’re the most talented and important players on their teams and they have the maturity level of 13-year-olds. They set a terrible tone for their teams.Howard just wants to have fun. Stoudemire just wants to score points. Neither is interested in giving a playoff-level defensive effort."

You can find that story here.

Zach Harper of Hardwood Paroxysm takes a look at Howard’s Game 2 performance.

"The problem with Dwight is his positioning and the way his body is constructed. Think about powerful centers like Moses Malone, Shaquille O’Neal and even guys like Patrick Ewing and Hakeem Olajuwon to some extent. All of those guys were blessed with tree trunks for legs. Some of them were blessed with big behinds too. These natural physical assets are the reason they were able to dominate and score so easily in the post when they needed to. They had leverage (not a TNT plug but it feels like it because of the constant promos we’ve seen during the playoffs).Dwight doesn’t have that luxury. He has skinny legs and a small waist. He’s built much more like David Robinson except he doesn’t have the shooting ability. Guys like that have a hard to moving people around in the post with their lower body. Instead, Dwight has to either accept the postposition afforded to him by the defensive player or try to push his way with his upper body into better position without drawing a foul."

You can read that story here.

Howard says the Magic will be ready for Game 3.

"We know those were two winnable games. From here on out, it’s about winning one game. You have to win a game, then you win another and you keep on winning. We’ve been in this situation before and it’s time for us to respond. There’s no need to say that we’re going down fighting because we’re not going down!!! We have to think positive because if we think negative, we are going to lose. Like I told the guys in the locker room, if anybody has doubt, we’re not going to win. But if everybody’s on the same page and believes we’re going to win, then we’re going to win it."

You can read his blog here.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, a contributor on the Fansided Front Page and on Sir Charles In Charge. Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here