Pump Up Music: Ryan Adams -- "This Is It"
The Big Picture: The Orlando Magic are still probably a Finals contender, even though going from Hedo Turkoglu to Vince Carter hasn't really worked out as well as they'd hoped. I mean, Vince is shooting a horrifying 39% from the field this year.
However, they're always going to be a dangerous team as long as they've got Big Bad Dwight Howard. Without Tyson Chandler, the Cats are in the nearly untenable position of trying to contain him with only two real centers, Nazr Mohammed and DeSagana Diop, one of whom isn't that great a defender and the other a black hole on offense. Oh, and Boris Diaw, who is always going to surprise bigger guys with his defensive abilities, but can only go so far.
Even though it's a home game, this will be another test for the Cats, given Raymond Felton's possible absence, but especially given Gerald Wallace's possible absence, per Rick Bonnell. However, as noted here before, the season isn't screwed even if the Cats go on a disastrous run during their West Coast swing. Patience. Get healthy first, guys.
Key to Victory: The Cats are well-equipped to rotate and close out on perimeter shooters, but they simply don't have the weapons to battle Howard unless someone steps up and plays beyond his proven abilities. We're going to need lots of veteran savvy -- barrels of it -- to contain the big man and keep the shooters from getting open looks, since he's developed a knack for kicking it out just as defenses collapse.
Detail That May Interest .08% of You: Allegedly, Dwight Howard was his high school team's backup point guard, and only started developing his post game once he got to the NBA, where he was forced to become a center, rather than a swingman, like he thought he might be.