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Old 01-09-2012, 08:57 PM   #1
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Default Magic fighting through Dwight Howard distractions

Although Orlando have started its season 6-3, each win came against teams that have losing records. And in two of the losses, the Magic lost convincingly to elite teams, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Chicago Bulls.

The schedule will grow tougher Wednesday night, when the Magic face the Portland Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden, the site of one of Orlando's ugliest losses last season. After his team fell 97-83 on Dec. 9, 2010, in Portland, Howard could not contain his frustration, saying, "Until everybody steps up on the team and mans up, then teams are going to throw their best punch at us and we're going to fold."

Van Gundy insists he has spoken just once with Howard about Howard's long-term future. Van Gundy said he explained to Howard that he would not try to recruit Howard and that he would leave the issue between Howard's agent and the Magic front office.

The situation also was discussed once in a team meeting before the regular season started, but that was part of a larger discussion about how everyone would attempt to deal with distractions.

-- Orlando Sentinel
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