Dwight: “We’re Going To Be Fine”

 

 

PHILADELPHIA – This schedule is going to test every one of the league’s 30 teams, both mentally and physically, at one point or another. Right now, it’s the Orlando Magic’s turn.

On Monday, the Magic completed a stretch of six games in eight days, with a 74-69 defeat at the hands of the Sixers. The Magic lost five of the six games, with this one, in which they shot 33 percent from the field, being the least embarrassing of the five losses.

Of course, with Dwight Howard seeking greener pastures, the Magic have additional stress to deal with. And after watching the Magic play some awful basketball of late, it’s easy to say that Howard and his teammates are mailing it in.

Magic coach Stan Van Gundy admits that he can’t fully diagnose his team’s problems, but he definitely isn’t going to worry about the Howard situation anymore than he has in the past.

“That becomes a real convenient excuse,” Van Gundy said, “when things start going badly and now you’ve lost four in a row, and all of a sudden that’s the situation. Well, was it the situation the night of the Indiana game (a 102-83 win)? Yeah, it was the same situation. So how much it’s wearing on people, I don’t know. All I know is we were able to play well in spite it before.”

Howard doesn’t believe that trade speculation should affect his team when it steps on the floor. And he certainly doesn’t feel like he’s captaining a sinking ship.

“We’re going to weather the storm,” Howard said. “We’re still a great basketball team. We’re just going through a tough stretch. That’s it. There’s no need for us to complain, point the finger, or for anybody to panic. We’re going to be fine.”

Indeed, as long as Howard is in Orlando and Van Gundy is on the bench, the Magic are a team with the ability to play at an elite level on both ends of the floor. They’re the only team that has finished in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency in each of the last four years. And they’ve still got the tools to make it five.

“We’re Dwight in the low post and we’re Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu on pick-and-rolls primarily, with the floor spread out,” Van Gundy said. “And so if we’re not getting good pick-and-roll play, then we’re going to struggle. That’s who we are. Obviously, Jameer’s out (with concussion-like symptoms) and Hedo is struggling right now. He’s really struggling. And I do think with him, we’ve got a guy who’s pretty tired right now, in his case.”

Howard called out his teammates after Friday’s loss in New Orleans, but made it clear that had nothing to do with any trade request.

“It’s not the first time I called them out,” he said. “My teammates understand why I said what I said. And they all agree.

“My job is to challenge my teammates and challenge myself to go out and play every night. I’m included in everything that I say and everything that I do. My teammates understand that.”

Now that this six-game stretch is over, the Magic don’t exactly get time to rest. They’re back at home for a game against the Wizards on Wednesday and don’t have consecutive days off until the All-Star break.

It’s too early to say that the Magic’s run near the top of the Eastern Conference is done. If they can put this stretch behind them and put the speculation aside, they can still win a lot of games and compete with the best teams in the league.

But it’s also fair, given the added stress of Howard’s fluid situation, to wonder if they can really recover from such an ugly slide.

***

John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. Send him an e-mail or follow him on twitter.

42 Comments

  1. Bruce Bell says:

    Dwight go to Miami! He fits better in Dallas….He is an absolute champion!
    http://9pillsonline.com/

  2. charles says:

    Am i the only one that is getting annoyed with Stan Van Gundy? I mean seriously, y our team is getting CRUSHED. What some teams score by half time your team seems to be struggling to do in a full game and your absolute best player – by far- has asked to be traded and you that’s an excuse? Seriously? Is this the level of forthrightness you provide to your players? Because no wonder they have tuned you out dude. At least be blunt and honest and just say that this is a distraction but we are professionals and doing the best we can under the circumstances. But this is an excuse? No rational human being will buy that.

  3. palomar says:

    dwight come to chichago!!!!!!!!11

  4. palomar says:

    go to bucks………

  5. MARK says:

    Just trade straight up dwight for amare. that be good..

  6. kobe says:

    Orlando will trade him by the deadline cause the fear of him walking after the season with nothing in return..hes not going to Miami people..they have nothing to offer..He will go to the Lakers FOR Bynum 1st round pick of Lakers in 2102 draft from Dallas and maybe Darius Morris or Matt Barnes

  7. Chris says:

    Forget the rest Howard. If its not GREEN, it don’t mean a thing.

    Why go to LA? Kobe didn’t embrace his center when he had one. Plus, the name “Superman” is there common there.

    Dallas, please. Orlando, what a waist.

    Come play for the Coach Doc Rivers. He knows how to get the most out of your talents. Thatz why we call him the “D.O.C.” because “NO-ONE CAN DO IT BETTA”.

    Celtics baby,
    Jus go GREEN

  8. Chris says:

    Forget the rest Howard. If you really want a ring, come to Boston. We will immortalize you in one color.

    Become a LEGEND in GREEN and put all these immortals to the Test.

    Celtics baby,
    Jus go GREEN!

  9. reagan says:

    I would like miami to go after Dwight. I hope they will trade Bosh for howard but I am sure it ain’t goin to happen. I am just day dreaming. Lol

    I hate to say this but I think a possible destination for Howard is L.A. Howard will likely accept this because he will have a chance to compete on a higher level. I don’t like him going to the Bulls because he will make the offense stagnant. Clippers and New Jersey are his best options.

  10. Arn says:

    to DALLAS! plzzzz…the mavs need a good center like u for back to back to back to back championship!!! :)

  11. matt says:

    it’s sure howard is unhappy and if the magic dont trade him… well he’ll be gone like shaq did and i recommend to howard to leave the magic.. and i dont care where he might go. but he’s got to leave. Everybody knows, i mean himself staff coaches… I just feel howard is not happy as a player and human being right now. and i just wanna say to him that i know he likes his coaches the city the magic and them lovin him too… but if he stays that would be bad for a lot of people, his career… life goes on and nobody there wanna accept that.. conference finals are way far from them.. out of reach and howard knows it… for everybody to be happy in this and have no real looser… just trade him

    • chris says:

      How can you say there will be no loser? No way Orlando wins if Howard leaves. But if he refuses to stay, the Magic have to try to get the best deals possible. So, if your teams want him, tell them to put everything on the table that they are willing to give up. Or risk losing him to whatever team he wants to go to most (and only he knows for sure). These deals I see you guys offering here are not going to get it done.

  12. . says:

    How about amare + chandler for howard? the amare + anthony thing isnt working and clearly orlando need to move howard

    • Oz Heat Fan says:

      They are not the problem it is Melo who is taking 25+ attempts a game and not converting he is forcing everything nd is diiging New York into a bigger hole it was made really obvious watching the Miami game when they played New York minus Melo they didn’t play all that bad and stuck with Miami for most of the game.

  13. magic man says:

    whoever said hes goin to MIA doesnt know the concept of contracts. to be honest im a magic fan and i want him gone for the best we can get. no use having someone here who doesnt want to be here. I just cant see dwight going to LA for personal reasons a.k.a. 2009 championship. He really would fit well in dallas though…

  14. magic man says:

    whoever said hes goin to MIA doesnt know the concept of contracts. to be honest im a magic fan and i want him gone for the best we can get. no use having someone here who doesnt want to be here. I just can see dwight going to LA for personal reasons a.k.a. 2009 championship. He really would fit well in dallas though…

  15. NBAIQ says:

    D-12 in L.A. in 2012!!

    Lakers will recieve an early christmas present!

  16. hahah... says:

    dwight to MIAMI! and d wil to miami! now we are talking.. wohooo!!
    JK i know it wont happen but we can dream right?

  17. bj says:

    dwight to lakers….plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  18. Chitown says:

    Magic aren’t really “playing without a heart” its hard to muster up all that energy and enthusiasm when you’re playing back to back road games and playing 4-5 games in a week. Its really tough. What the highlights don’t show you is the amount of travelling and lack of proper rest these players have to go through. Stop bashing the magic just because of a skid, skids happen. Miami had a 5 game losing streak last season and yet they bounced back. The magic were playing great this season, they hit a speed bump but they will bounce back and once jameer comes back to that line up they’ll be solid and good to go for the playoffs.

    • Tampa Trish says:

      Amen to that! How nice to see a post which is supportive for a change! All of this talk I am seeing is just talk, as if speculating on who or where or when to trade Dwight is going to change anything! Constructive criticism is acceptable on the other hand because it’s goal is to improve the team (or person)! My one thought on the Magic struggles of late: the team needs someone (s) to step up and be a “Leader”. A “Leader” steps up and the rest of the team starts to follow and play with confidence, energy, intensity! I see Ryan Anderson as a possible leader since Dwight would have to squelch all trade talk in order to convince the rest of team that he is committed to staying and leading them…Ryan showed signs of being a leader in his refusal to give up in the game against the Sixers….Also, the team needs to play “loose”, like they played in the first game at Indy, they were having fun- and as a result played really well!

  19. Khan says:

    Dwight is such a pain dude just tell them where you want to go instead of adding new teams everyday holding the damn team hostage. This dude is worse then LeBron, Dwight wants to be loved so bad in ORlando that when he leaves they give him standing o’s not happening dude.

  20. Leo says:

    go to Boston is another good choice

  21. Mr. OMG (Blake) says:

    Loosing games is a bad stretch!! Playing hard and loosing hurts but its the NBA where loosing streaks happen… but PLAYING WITH NO HEART IS A BIG PROBLEM…and thats what the magics are doing right now!!

  22. LG-1 says:

    Dwight to T-wolves for Beasley, Ridnour, Wes Johnson, Anthony Randolph(or Derrick Williams) and future picks! Makes sense?

  23. Gold says:

    Dwight best fits in Dallas… for multiple championships!!!

  24. Erdal says:

    Go to LAKERS..

  25. Mike Brown says:

    heeeey buuuudddyyyyy, come to LA man… we good on offense, just need someone like u to harden the defensive core… tell ur front office people to call our front office people… set up a time, while there is time…. :)

  26. QuestionMark says:

    Dwight is right, every team goes through bad streaks, just give them time, if they start losing like the Knicks who are below .500 for a team with high expectations then they have a problem, for now its just a bad stretch.

  27. CHI-TOWN ANYONE?!?!? says:

    Dwight said he’s open to playing with the bulls so…

    • Haydz says:

      I dont want to give up the pieces required to land him, and we probably cant afford him in FA next season. I’d rather keep the Bulls team together as it is and let it play out. Patience is a long forgotten attribute in the NBA these days.

  28. Dwight Howard to Miami Heat!!! says:

    It is amazing what power people have when they all focus on and believe in the same thing. I mean, we all thought there would be no season this year, and boom, Miami @ Dallas on christmas day.

    So let us all focus and believe that Dwight Howard will end up in Miami to help the big three win multiple championships. Isn’t that exciting?

    • Dude says:

      Ive seen more than a few posts from you believing that Dwight is gona go to Miami
      Either you are trolling or a complete idiot
      Dwight Howard cannot end up in Miami this season AT ALL unless Miami gives up one of Lebron/Wade or Bosh + bench players. They also dont have expiring contracts so Dwight Howard cant be signed in the off season.

      • lakermig says:

        plus why would you want or need d howard he would totally fudge their style of play,plus as the saying goes ..if it aint broke dont fix it dude….as long as he doesnt go to the clippers im happy

    • Anon says:

      David Stern would most definetely veto that trade

    • TTKIN says:

      What big 3 are you referring to? Because for Dwight to go to Miami, you’re going to have to give up at least 1 of your current big 3. Even if you dont trade and sign him via free agency, good luck affording Dwight, James, Wade and Bosh. Honestly I say forgo Wade and Bosh. If you have James and Howard, you wont need anything else.

  29. Kobe Bryant says:

    Just shut up Dwight and come here in LA!!!! You are welcome here in Hollywood,!

  30. prix says:

    Take Nelson out of there or better Dwight take yourself out of there…so sick and tired with this Orlando team…playing without a heart.