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Sunday nights game against the Orlando Magic (2-3) brings together two of the NBA’s premier High School athletes. Lebron James and Dwight Howard. Last year as a rookie, the No. 1 selection in the 2004 draft led the Magic in rebounding (10.0) and blocked shots (1.66). Howard causes problems for any opponent because of his ability to run the floor with guards and he can easily bang inside with the league’s toughest centers.
In addition, Guard Keyon Dooling practiced without pain Friday and plans to make his much-anticipated debut Sunday night against the Cavaliers. Dooling was Orlando’s top catch in free agency this past summer. The Magic gave Dooling a three-year, $9 million deal to lure him from the Miami Heat. Dooling missed the final four preseason games and the first five games of the regular season after suffering a bone bruise in his right heel on Oct. 18.
“I’m pretty much predetermined that I’m going to get out there and give it a try,” Dooling said. “It’s been frustrating for me because I worked hard in the off season to get ready and played pretty well in the preseason. It was a setback for me, but it’s still early and I think I can get back into the swing pretty quick.”
Coach Brown isn’t the only one stressing defense either. Through five games, Orlando is holding opponents to a NBA-low 85.6 points per game. The Magic have held each of their past three opponents (Washington, Houston and New Orleans/Oklahoma City) to less than 90 points. Orlando hadn’t accomplished that feat since April 9-12, 2003. New coach Brian Hill has stressed defense from the start of training camp, and the emphasis is paying dividends now.
For a complete look at Orlando’s roster click HERE.