Denton's Notebook: February 15, 2012

By John Denton
February 15, 2012

ORLANDO – Many of the Orlando Magic’s players and coaches admitted to being shocked and somewhat disturbed at the boos directed at power forward Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis throughout Monday’s win against Minnesota.

It was revealed after the game that Davis, who missed nine of his 10 shots on Monday, is dealing with the second tragedy in his family in the past month. Just weeks after his grandmother died, Davis’ biological father died earlier in the week. He planned to leave the team after Wednesday’s game and return to his native Baton Rouge, La., for the funeral services. The hope is he will be back on Friday for the Magic’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Davis was booed mildly last week after returning from a two-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team. But the intensity of the scorn picked up dramatically on Monday despite the Magic defeating Minnesota 102-89. The boos surprised many of the Magic’s players, especially considering what Davis was going through with his family situation.

``We were playing well, it’s the home crowd and you just don’t do that to your own players; not even the opposing players get booed here,’’ Magic forward Ryan Anderson said. ``We want to play in front of fans that have our backs no matter what and supports our team. Our crowd usually has a huge role in the flow of our game and when it’s loud we’re playing well. But for them to boo him Glen was surprising.’’

Anderson said at one point Monday night that franchise center Dwight Howard stood up from the bench and questioned some fans as to why they were booing Davis. Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, who has for years voiced displeasure with hecklers and booing, admitted that he was disappointed a pro-Magic crowd would turn on one of its own players.

``I’m one who is always shaking my head at athletic events. Now, if you think our team puts out no effort, by all means boo us because you paid a lot of money and we didn’t put out the effort,’’ Van Gundy said. ``But all of the negative stuff that people yell, I don’t understand that.

``I’ve been to restaurants where I didn’t have a great meal, so does that mean I’m allowed to abuse the cook or the waitress?’’ Van Gundy continued. ``There’s this idea that you’ve paid your money and you can say whatever you want. I just don’t understand what would compel people to sit at a game and yell things.’’

HOMECOURT ADVANTAGE: Anderson is hoping that his familiarity with the rims and shooting background inside the Amway Center will help him when he participates in the Foot Locker 3-Point Shootout during the NBA All-Star Weekend.

Anderson, who made his first four 3-point shots against Philadelphia, was officially announced as one of the participants in the contest on Wednesday. Miami’s James Jones and Mario Chalmers, Atlanta’s Joe Johnson, Minnesota’s Kevin Love and New Jersey’s Anthony Morrow.

Anderson case into Monday’s game leading the NBA in 3-pointers made (80) and 3-pointers attempted (190). His 42.1 percent shooting percentage from beyond the arc ranks second among the participants behind only Chalmers (46.3 percent).

Anderson is hoping that some of the jitters from being in the All-Star Weekend for the first time will be soothed by being in familiar surroundings in Orlando and at the Amway Center.

``Considering that I play all of my games here and know all of the people in the building, I’ll be more comfortable,’’ Anderson said. ``Thankfully it’s not like I’m going to a city I don’t know and won’t be out of my element. I’m really proud (the event) is here.’’

HUFFING HOWARD: Howard’s ability to post big numbers sometimes gets taken for granted because of his frequency of 20/20 performances and big blocked shot numbers.

But when those numbers drop off, as they have somewhat of late, it tends to raise a few eyebrows. The fear with the Magic is that all of the minutes that Howard has logged could be fatiguing the all-star center. Howard entered Wednesday’s game third in the NBA in minutes per game, playing 38.2 minutes a night.

Howard, the league’s fifth-best shooter at 55 percent, made just five of 15 shots on Saturday in Milwaukee and he connected on just four of 11 tries on Monday against Minnesota. Those poor shooting nights and so moments where Atlanta center Zaza Pachulia beat Howard down the floor have some wondering if fatigue is catching up to Howard.

``He’s played a lot of minutes and doesn’t get much rest,’’ Van Gundy said. ``He’s asked to do a lot for us and he doesn’t miss days. So there’s no question there could be some fatigue there with him.’’

ETC: Former Magic general manager John Gabriel, now the Player Personnel Director for the New York Knicks, attended Wednesday’s Magic-Sixers game and was asked about the phenomenon that is Jeremy Lin. Gabriel said that Knicks executive Allan Houston, a former all-star shooting guard, gets the credit for pushing for Lin to stick on the Knicks roster after getting sent down to the NBA’s Developmental League for a game. Gabriel said the Knicks were blown away by Lin’s triple-double performance in the D-League game and gave him a chance as a replacement for demoted starter Tony Douglass. The rest is history as Lin has scored the most points ever by a player in his first five starts. His 136 points broke the previous record of 129 points that Shaquille O’Neal scored in his first five starts with the Magic in 1992. … The Magic were hoping to get two participants into the 3-Point Shootout what with J.J. Redick ranking 18th in the NBA in 3-point shooting at 42.6 percent, but the shooting guard was snubbed. By comparison, Joe Johnson (35.6 percent), Kevin Love (36.1 percent) and Anthony Morrow (42 percent) are shooting worse than Redick from 3-point range this season. James Jones has made just 19 3-pointers all season (compared to Redick’s 43), but is in the contest because he is the defending champion. … The Magic host the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night in the last home game until March 1. The team hits the road for a six-day, four-game trip against the Heat, Bucks, Nets and Hawks before the All-Star break. The Magic open the second half of the season in Washington against the Wizards.

John Denton writes for OrlandoMagic.com. John has covered the Magic since 1997 and recently authored ``All You Can Be’’ with Magic center Dwight Howard. E-mail John at jd41898@aol.com

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