Denton's Notebook: February 22, 2012

By John Denton
February 22, 2012

NEWARK, N.J. – Orlando Magic shooting guard Jason Richardson said he might have to seek a second opinion after lingering pains in his chest and lungs caused him to miss a third consecutive game Wednesday night.

But if the veteran guard had it his way he would have played Wednesday had he not been barred from playing by Magic athletic trainer Keon Wise.

``I hate sitting out so bad that if it was up to me I would have played but they won’t let me,’’ Richardson said. ``I told them that the all-star break is coming up and I can rest plenty during the break. But they won’t let me play.’’

Richardson first started experiencing chest pains on Saturday night and he brushed them off as a case of heartburn. But when sharp, shooting pains returned on Sunday as he prepared to play against the Miami Heat he was advised not to play and was seen by a cardiologist. Doctors eventually determined that Richardson has a flu bug in his chest, resulting in inflammation of his lungs.

Richardson attempted to warm up before Monday’s game, but the pains in his chest returned when he breathed deeply. He went through some drills on Wednesday morning and said that he was feeling better, but he was again kept out of action because he wasn’t totally pain free.

``It’s getting better and not as painful as it was the other day, and I think it’s just a precaution that they aren’t letting me (play),’’ said Richardson, who went through more shooting drills before Wednesday’s game. ``It’s frustrating because I’m the last person to sit out of a game.’’

RECRUITING PITCH: The New Jersey Nets are moving into the new, $1 billion Barclays Center in Brooklyn next season and they are making sure that prospective free agents get the picture. In that vain, the Nets posted large placards of the Barclays Center along the path that the Magic took from their team bus to the locker room.

On the first billboard, there is a picture of the Barclays Center with the Manhattan skyline in the background and a headline screaming, ``Opening Sept. 28, 2012.’’ The second and third boards showed construction photos of the inside and outside of the facility.

The fourth board was an expanded version of the Wall Street Journal with a picture of Nets minority owner Jay-Z. The headline read: ``Jay-Z Determined to Make Nets Stylish.’’

The fifth billboard, which was situated just steps away from the Magic locker room, was an artist’s rendering of the court inside the Barclays Center.

Undoubtedly, the Nets are hoping the images appeal to Magic superstar Dwight Howard, who can be an unrestricted free agent in July. Howard issued a trade request prior to the season, and one of the teams on his wish list was the Nets so that he can play with close friend, Deron Williams.

Magic President of Basketball Operations/GM Otis Smith said the signs were of no concern to him, adding: ``It is what it is.’’

New Jersey coach Avery Johnson said his franchise will undoubtedly use the move to the Barclays Center as a recruiting tool this summer, but his focus for now is on the perpetually injured Nets roster. The Nets were forced to start their 17th different lineup on Wednesday because of injuries.

``I think from time-to-time we put those signs out there, but you’ll have to ask the guys in marketing about it because I’m not in marketing,’’ Johnson said with a laugh.

``Right now for us it’s not about recruiting anybody; it’s about the guys in our locker room, especially with a team decimated by injuries. I’m just trying to figure out who I’m going to have in the lineup every night.’’

ANDERSON BACK IN NEW JERSEY: Magic forward Ryan Anderson spent his rookie season playing with the Nets before he was traded to Orlando in June of 2009 along with Vince Carter.

While in New Jersey, Anderson developed a tight bond with Nets center Brook Lopez – a college rival while Lopze played for Stanford and Anderson starred at Cal. The two talk regularly and Anderson has tried to help Lopez deal with the frustration of missing most of this season with foot.

Anderson said he and Lopez had big plans of going to dinner at a New York City steakhouse on Tuesday, but things got altered for the better.

``I took a cab to his house and had to wake him up from a nap because Brook is the worst communicator on the planet,’’ Anderson joked. ``We were planning to go to a great steakhouse, but his mom was at the house so we just hung out there. We had dinner in and got a home-cooked meal, which is nice because I don’t get many of those. So there were no crazy New York City stories for me.’’

ETC: Deron Williams, who formed a tight friendship with Howard during the 2008 Summer Olympics and talks to the Magic center regularly, said the constant trade rumors concerning him and Howard haven’t been a distraction. Said Williams: ``I don’t think it’s been a distraction at all. Not here. It hasn’t really been talked about and brought up.’’ Williams said he didn’t envy Lopez having to go against Howard after missing most of the season with an injury. ``It’s probably a tough game to have your second game against the best center in the league,’’ Williams said. ``I’m sure he’s ready, he’s excited. He’s just excited to be back on the court.’’ … Magic forwards Hedo Turkoglu and Earl Clark missed Wednesday morning’s shootaround because of illnesses. However, both were available for the game. … Magic rookie forward DeAndre Liggins said he got several calls from family and friends after making his NBA debut Monday in Milwaukee. Liggins called being on a NBA court for the first time ``like paradise’’ and said on Wednesday, ``I was so happy, but I look at it as just a starting point for where I’m going as a player.’’ … When Atlanta’s Joe Johnson was forced to drop out of the all-star weekend festivities replacements had to be found for the All-Star Game and the Foot Locker 3-point Shootout. Boston point guard Rajon Rondo was chosen for the All-Star Game, while Kevin Durant was picked for the 3-Point Shootout. Durant’s selection dashed the hopes of Orlando guard J.J. Redick, who ranks 17th in the NBA in 3-point shooting at 43.8 percent. By comparison, Durant – a MVP candidate – is shooting 36.7 percent from 3-point range. … The Magic close their four-game roadtrip at Atlanta on Thursday. It’s the Magic’s first trip to Atlanta since losing there in the playoffs last spring.

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

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