Orlando Magic

Dwight Howard is going to suck the oxygen outta the building on Saturday

Everybody and their mother knows Dwight Howard was robbed at last year’s slam dunk competition. Luckily, he’s getting another shot at the crown this year and according to his practice sessions, he’s gotta be the favorite.

If you think those are some sick dunks, can you imagine what the kid could do if he actually got to raise the rim to 12 feet? Unfortunately, we might never know because for the second straight year the NBA has denied his request to raise the rim an additional two feet.

NBA General

Around the Rim: All-Star Saturday Night Fights

1. Forgive and Forget? Uh, No.
J.R. Smith is hoping he can earn back some of the cash he lost during his suspension by participating in either the three-point or slam dunk contest at the All-Star Game in Las Vegas. Apparently Smith hasn’t heard about the vendetta David Stern has against the leagues trouble makers. The aftermath from the brawl in Detroit is still being felt in the league today; it’s safe to bet he hasn’t forgotten about Smith’s bad behavior in New York just yet. Smith returned from his ten game suspension on Wednesday and proceeded to shoot and miss all four of his three point attempts; not a good endorsement for his long range skills. But Smith can certainly dunk in impressive fashion and it’s a shame that the fans won’t be able to enjoy his talents because of a flagrant foul gone wild.

2. New Life in New Jersey
For a guy who’s supposed to be going through one of the more traumatic experiences in life, Jason Kidd sure isn’t showing any ill effects on the court. His team is currently winning the Atlantic Division and Kidd picked up the 82 triple-double of his career with 23 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists in a win over the Bulls last night. Since filing for a divorce from an allegedly violent Joumana on Tuesday, J-Kidd has led his team to a perfect 2-0 record and the Nets have won five of their last six games. So, something about the bachelor life must be treating Kidd right. It could be the cold pizza in the morning. It could be Jason simply finds sanctuary from his problems on the court. But it’s probably the lack of physical abuse.

3. The Antique Road Show
The Kings use to be one of the best home teams in the NBA; now, not so much. But one thing remains the same from the early part of the decade, and that is that the Kings are not good hosts. As of now, visitors have a 50/50 chance to take home a win when traveling to Sac Town but that’s still not enough motivation for some players to want to take the trip to Arco Arena. Even coaches hate the accommodations. Phil Jackson recently compared the locker room to a dungeon. It’s situated in a confined area with a small rack for clothes and there’s no television for players to watch while they are kicking back in folding chairs during their stay. Oddly enough, one of the most hated men in Sacramento loves the amenities offered by the Kings. “I’m a traditionalist,” said Kobe Bryant. “Look at that chalk board, the stains all over it. This is Arco. I love coming here. I don’t want them to change a thing.”

Thursday’ Player of the Day: Jason Kidd @ Chicago 43 min, 23 pts (FG: 8-17, 3FG: 3-5, FT: 4-6), 14 reb, 11 ast, 2 stl

Friday’s Game to Watch: Orlando (22-14) @ Los Angeles Lakers (23-13) Orlando has worked their way back to the top of the Southeast Division after a stretch where they lost ten of 14. Behind the play of Dwight Howard, the Magic are riding a five game winning streak into Los Angeles where the Lakers are 16-4. L.A. has amassed a remarkable list of victims who have all fallen within the walls of the Staples Center, including Phoenix, Utah, San Antonio, Houston, and the recent, streak ending victory over Dallas. But the Lakers have lost their last two games; a defeat to the lowly Grizzlies and a 25 point beat-down by the Rockets.

Buzzer Beater: Could any one play better sum up the season of the Boston Celtics than the attempted dunk during the final moments of the game against Indiana on Wednesday? The answer is no. Late in the fourth quarter, guard Tony Allen went for an unnecessary, uncontested dunk after the whistle had blown and in the process of landing tore two ligaments in his left knee which will cause him to miss the remainder of the season. Poetically, Boston lost the game, 97-84. In addition to Allen, the Celtics are without Paul Pierce, Theo Ratliff and Wally Szczerbiak.