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Thursday, April 2, 2009
The TrueHoop Network Shootaround

Dwight Howard wants to exact revenge against Detroit. Vengeful Mavs fans got a little satisfaction last night at Dwyane Wade's expense. Want to get back at someone? Furnish them with some of Drew Gooden's old kicks. Sweet revenge at the TrueHoop Network: 

Dwight HowardMatt Moore of Hardwood Paroxysm: "Dwight [Howard] thinks that the only way for the Magic to really prove themselves is to go through Detroit. That they have to prove to themselves and the world that they can beat the Pistons. That you have to overcome your demons. This is a load of crap. Look, the Magic are going to end up winning sixty games. The Pistons are not a lock to make the playoffs at this point. The Magic have beaten the Lakers, the Celtics, the Cavs, and just about everybody except the Pistons. So are the Pistons a better team than the Magic? Does anyone think that? Do the Pistons think that? Okay, well, maybe. But then, they're biased. The fact is that the Magic have nothing to prove by beating the Pistons."

Dwyane WadeRob Mahoney of Two Man Game: "You want vindication, Mavs fans? There's your vindication. We can talk Warriors and catharsis all day long, but what brings more emotional closure than beating Dwyane Wade at his own game? The Mavs and the Heat traded big shot for big shot for what seemed like days, but this time around, Dallas got the edge of a beneficial whistle and a nice shiny dagger. Trophy-less revenge never seemed so sweet.

I'd be lying to you if I said that I just knew it would end up that way.  Even with the Mavs clutching a small lead, the big Wade shot seemed inevitable.  But a strange thing happened, and I'd like to think that this is at least one area improvement since the original letdown of '06: It never came.  Jason Kidd denied, denied, denied, and when Wade did get the ball, the double-team came immediately and Kidd went into an all-out frenzy to swipe the ball away.  The result?  Dwyane Wade's last real shot attempt (excluding his last second heave from the three-point line) went up with 5:03 left in the fourth quarter, and his last actual points with nearly 6."

Russell WestbrookJohn Mietus, special to Daily Thunder: "Thunder Fans: There's no such thing as a 'rookie mistake' in basketball. Only a 'mistake.' Russell [Westbrook] isn't making mistakes so much as he is pushing the envelope, the limits of on court creativity. A bigger mistake would be trying to harness Westbrook and eliminate his intuitive capability. It would be counter-productive now to rein him in, probably causing confusion for Westbrook. Russell represents the fine line between a 'practice' player and a gamer. A practice player can run through all the plays in practice, hit his spots, shoot when it's his turn and succeed on a regular basis. But a gamer can perform when the lights come on at night and the curtain goes up. A gamer can improvise and make magic out of simple sport."

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(Photos by Gregory Shamus, Evan Gole, Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)