Denton's Notebook: January 26, 2011

By John Denton
January 26, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS – Orlando Magic shooting guard Jason Richardson is already in some elite company being that only he, Michael Jordan and Nate Robinson have ever won NBA All-Star Game Slam Dunk titles in consecutive years.

Now, Richardson wants a shot at a piece of history that no other player has ever accomplished.

Richardson, who entered Wednesday’s game in Indiana having made the second most 3-pointers (104) in the NBA this season, is hoping for an invite to the 3-point Shootout during the NBA All-Star weekend on Feb. 19.

And Richardson thinks he would have a good shot at winning the shooting contest, which would make him the first player in NBA history to win both the dunk and 3-point competitions.

``I’d definitely love to do it and it would be fun. I want to try and be the first one to win a dunk contest AND a 3-point Shootout,’’ Richardson said. ``There are a lot of great shooters out there, but I think I could win it. You never know. I’ve never done the contest before, but I feel like I’m a pretty good shooter.’’

The Magic are hoping for an invite for J.J. Redick and/or Richardson. Redick ranks 21st in the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage (41.6 percent) and 43rd in made 3-pointers (64). Richardson shot 41.9 percent from beyond the stripe with Phoenix and has shot 38.2 percent since getting traded to Orlando.

``I’d like to see him and Jason in it because that would be really interesting,’’ Magic coach Stna Van Gundy said. ``It would give me a reason to watch because I like seeing our guys in those events.’’

Richardson, a 10-year NBA veteran, still considers his two dunk titles to be among his greatest career achievements. But he predicted that the 3-point shooting competition would be more pressure-packed than the dunk contest.

``That memory is right up there for me. Me and Mike were the only ones to do it before Nate. It’s pretty hard coming up with new dunks and the people had already seen you the year before,’’ Richardson remembered. ``The dunk contest was something that I wanted to do since I was 5 years old and when I got the opportunity to do it, it was like back home at the park or on my little Fisher Price rim. That was an incredible feeling.’’

ALLEN BACK: Veteran power forward Malik Allen was available to play for the first time since Dec. 20 when he badly sprained his left ankle. Allen, a 10-year NBA veteran who has outlasted many of the players chosen higher in his draft class, missed the past 18 games as he dealt with what he said was the worst ankle injury he’s had since college at Villanova.

Allen said the severe sprain aggravated other issues he has in the ankle. He ultimately needed an anti-inflammatory injection that required him to sit out of action for 10 days for the medicine to take effect in the joint.

``I have all of these bone fragments from years of playing that kept the swelling in the ankle,’’ Allen said. ``And then I had this issue with my Achilles’ too. So there was a lot of stuff going on down there.’’

Van Gundy said that he’ll continue to use a rotation of Dwight Howard, Brandon Bass and Ryan Anderson at the center and power forward positions. But he said he wouldn’t hesitate to use Allen because of his understanding of the offense and his defensive toughness.

ETC: In what appeared to be a tribute to Jason Williams, who was released on Wednesday, the Magic left an empty spot where the veteran point guard normally stands during the playing of the national anthem. … Howard, Orlando’s superstar center, will be appearing in animated form on FOX’s ``The Cleveland Show’’ on Feb. 13. The episode will also feature the voices and likenesses of LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O’Neal, Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash and Dwyane Wade. … Magic President of Basketball Operations/GM Otis Smith, who announced Wednesday’s release of Williams, said that the veteran point guard was brought back this season more for his communication skills and leadership than his play on the court. Said Smith: ``Jason had other responsibilities. He played for a lot of years and saw things differently. He was also someone that I thought had a good communication method with Stan (Van Gundy) and from that regard we’ll miss him. Whether we had four point guards or not, he brought something to the table. It was unfortunate it didn’t work out for him. Anytime you lose one of your guys it feels like one got away from you and that’s what this feels like.’’ … The Magic are in Chicago on Friday to face the Bulls in a showdown of two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. The Magic routed the Bulls 107-78 in Chicago on Dec. 1. Jameer Nelson dominated his matchup against Derrick Rose that night with 24 points and nine assists.

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