Dwight Howard has grown up in the weight room.

Orlando Magic News & Notes: Weight Room, Remaining Title Contenders, Shaq A Fan?

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Dwight Howard has grown up in the weight room.

"So the grueling, twice-a-day workouts that Howard puts himself through a week before training camp starts are a means to an end he that hopes to finally reach this season.“Everything that I do here, I play mind games with myself,’’ Howard said as sweat beaded on his forehead and massive shoulders. “Whether it’s in practice, in the weight room or on the court, I play mind games and play like it’s a Game 7 against Miami, Boston or — I was going to say Cleveland — or L.A. I try to put the pressure on myself so I can reach that next level. It helps me mentally by doing it that way and my teammates see it and they feed off of it.“When we’re working out together during the day as a team and they see me taking possessions so serious, it pushes us all to be better,’’ Howard continued."

John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com has that story here.

Think Dwight Howard has no post game? Think again.

Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel has a must read story on everything Magic wing Quentin Richardson has overcome in his life.

Zach McCann wonders if Mickael Pietrus or Quentin Richardson should start at Small Forward?

McCann also wonders who will guard Miami’s point guard if the Heat line up LeBron James or Dwyane Wade at the position.

"All this is a lot take in if you’re an Orlando Magic supporter. In my eyes, the Heat’s crunch-time backcourt will consist of Wade, Miller and James. What exactly does that mean for Orlando? Can Jameer Nelson play against that unit?Honestly, I don’t know that he can. Nelson can’t guard LeBron, obviously. Mike Miller is 6-foot-8 and there’s really no counter for a 10-inch height advantage. That really only leaves Wade, who’s 6-foot-4 and comfortable operating from anywhere on the floor, including the low block. Few players can adequately guard Wade, let alone a 5-10 point guard.And because of that, I believe there could be situations where Orlando’s best offensive creator — the smooth-stroking Nelson — would have to sit the bench during key stretches against the Heat. You hate to let the other team dictate the matchups, but when two of the game’s three best wing players are on the same team, sometimes you have no choice.To counter the Heat’s backcourt of Wade-Miller-LeBron, the Magic would have to go with Redick-Carter-Pietrus, or perhaps Carter-Richardson-Pietrus. That puts even more pressure on Carter to be the team’s offensive catalyst, as neither Richardson not Pietrus are particularly good on-ball offensive players."

You can read that story here.

Speaking of McCann, Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post has a Q&A with the newest Magic reporter.

Believe or not, Shaquille O’Neal wants to see Dwight Howard win a title.

Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel doesn’t think it’s a good idea.

"Even worse, it sounds now like O’Neal is trying to befriend Dwight, which is absolutely frightening news if you’re a Magic fan.No doubt, Shaq is one of the greatest big men to ever play the game, but he is not exactly the type of role model the Magic want mentoring young Dwight. What is Shaq going to teach Dwight — how to bolt for L.A. when your contract is up, how to send the Magic franchise into a decade-long death spiral when you leave, how to not work hard during the offseason and how to fire coaches and feud with teammates?Dwight, listen to me.You know how your parents used to tell you not to hang out with the wrong crowd? Well, Shaq is the wrong crowd. He is not to be trusted."

You can read that story here.

Eddy Rivera of Magic Basketball says the Magic remain title contenders.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, a contributor on the Fansided Front Page, and co-host of CB Sports Radio from 5-7 pm week days (1420sports.com). Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).