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NBA COAST TO COAST

Drama continues to unfold for Orlando Magic

Center Dwight Howard appears oblivious and denies wanting Coach Stan Van Gundy fired. The Times' Ben Bolch goes coast to coast in the NBA.

April 07, 2012|By Ben Bolch
  • Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy talks to Dwight Howard during a game against the Heat earlier this season in Miami.
Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy talks to Dwight Howard during a game against the… (David Santiago / Associated…)

More drama in the Magic kingdom

Dwight Howard wrapped an arm around Stan Van Gundy on Thursday, a gesture intended by the Orlando superstar as a show of support for his embattled coach.

It felt more like a front put up by a separating couple.

The Magic coach had disclosed to reporters only a few moments earlier that franchise management had confirmed Howard's previous request for him to be fired. As Van Gundy was concluding his remarks, Howard approached and placed an arm around Van Gundy, unaware of the bombshell that had been unleashed.

Howard was nearly engulfed by the fallout, sputtering out a new round of denials.

"I haven't said anything to anybody about anything," Howard said. "Why would I want Stan to be fired with 12 games left in the season? Who's going to be the coach?"

It may be anybody but Van Gundy if Orlando keeps losing. Howard's return from a two-game absence related to back spasms couldn't help the Magic from falling to the New York Knicks for a fifth consecutive defeat.

Van Gundy seemed almost resigned to his fate.

"It's 12:02 right now," he said. "If they want to fire me at 12:05, I'll go home and find something to do. I'll have a good day."

Ask and he'll tell

Notoriously nasty fans, defensively deficient teammates … is there any touchy topic that Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala won't take on?

The 76ers swingman took a few verbal swipes in a Sports Illustrated story that could leave him ducking to avoid the backlash.

Iguodala, on the local fans' preference for high-scoring stars over defensive-minded players like himself: "In Philly, it's not about who you are; it's about what you do for us. You could be the worst person in the world, but if you score a lot of points or win a championship, you can murder somebody."

Iguodala wasn't done. He also singled out teammate Lou Williams for criticism, saying: "It makes no sense to me why so many good scorers can't defend. Like Lou Williams. He's one of the toughest guys to guard in the league, but he can't guard anybody. I don't get that."

Iguodala apparently also didn't get the memo on keeping certain things to yourself.

A royal proposal

There was a love story involving a Cameroonian prince Wednesday at the Bradley Center.

Milwaukee's Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, primarily known for his defense and rebounding, provided a big assist to a fan before the Bucks played the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The former UCLA forward rolled a ball to a female fan seated courtside next to her boyfriend. Not taking time to notice that "Will you marry me?" had been written on the ball, the woman tossed the ball back.

So Mbah a Moute tried it again. This time, the woman's boyfriend grabbed the ball and showed it to her before dropping to one knee and proposing. She said yes.

No word whether Mbah a Moute will be in the wedding party.

— Ben Bolch

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