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Magic needs Howard to play better

BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Sports Writer Published: June 7, 2009
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Hubie Brown first tried positioning two recorders and a knife on the table in front of him. When that didn’t work, he grabbed a reporter’s notebook and sketched his idea on paper.

Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy has his own equipment and undoubtedly spent his Saturday doing what Brown was doing: Trying to draw up ways to make Dwight Howard more effective.

After a lackluster start to the NBA finals, the Magic need Howard to play better — and maybe smarter and harder — when they face the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 2 on Sunday night.

"I don’t think I was patient enough in the post. I don’t think that they caused a lot of problems for me. I think it was just rushing and wanting to do so much without being patient,” Howard said. "I think out of all the games I’ve had in the last two playoff series, I was probably the most impatient the last game.”

Howard was limited to six shots — six Orlando players took more — made only one, and scored 12 points in the Magic’s 100-75 loss on Thursday.

After dominating the Cavaliers and averaging 25.8 points in the conference finals, Howard found things much more difficult against the Lakers, whose post players are stronger and much more mobile than Cleveland’s.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Anderson Varejao played behind Howard, who bulled his way into good position down low and often just had to spin around and dunk.

Orlando vs. L.A. Lakers

Thursday, June 4: L.A. Lakers, 100-75, L.A. Lakers leads series 1-0

Sunday, June 7: at L.A. Lakers, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, June 9: at Orlando, 8 p.m.

Thursday, June 11: at Orlando, 8 p.m.

Sunday, June 14: at Orlando 8 p.m. *

Tuesday, June 16: at L.A. Lakers, 8 p.m.*

Thursday, June 18: at L.A. Lakers, 8 p.m.*

* = if necessary


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