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Dwight Howard Leads Magic Despite NBA Trade Rumors — Weekly NBA Roundup [VIDEO]

Dwight Howard
Sam Greenwood, Getty Images

The NBA trade deadline is Thursday. While some teams are trying to make a deal that could help elevate their franchise into the elite category, Chicago and Oklahoma City, the league’s best squads, don’t figure to make a major move. Here’s what’s happening in the NBA:

Team on the Rise: Orlando Magic

Winners of seven of its last 10 games, Orlando (27-15) has overcome the endless speculation on the future of superstar center Dwight Howard to achieve the third-best record in the Eastern Conference. The Magic showed poise by beating the Bulls and Pacers in back-to-back games on Thursday and Sunday, respectively. It’s hard to imagine Howard being dealt before Thursday’s trade deadline, but Orlando may wait until after Tuesday’s game against the division-leading Heat to decide for certain.

Team on the Decline: New York Knicks

‘Linsanity’ seems like a distant memory to the Knicks (18-24), who have lost six games in a row and eight of 11. Coach Mike D’Antoni needs to get his team to play better defense than it did in giving up 39 points in the third quarter of Sunday’s 106-94 loss to the 76ers. Jeremy Lin made just five of 18 shots from the field and had six turnovers, while Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony were on the bench at the end of the game as New York tried to rally. Monday’s loss to the Bulls drops the Knicks into a tie with the Bucks for the last playoff spot in the East.

Play of the Week: Gerald Green, New Jersey Nets

New Jersey’s Gerald Green had 26 points against Houston in the Nets’ 112-106 loss to the Rockets. Green’s best play of the night was this incredible dunk off a pass from teammate MarShon Brooks. Watch the clip below:

Player on the Rise: Monta Ellis, Golden State Warriors

The key player in Golden State’s 3-1 week, Monta Ellis averaged 20.5 points and 7.5 assists per game over the team’s past four contests. Ellis had 21 points, 11 assists and six rebounds in a 97-93 win over the Clippers on Sunday. Often rumored as trade bait, Ellis either solidified his place on the Warriors’ roster or increased his value prior to the March 15 deadline.

Player on the Decline: Vince Carter, Dallas Mavericks

Dallas (23-20) has lost four out of its last five games. Veteran guard Vince Carter has not been at his best during that stretch, averaging just 5.6 points per contest, including going scoreless in two games. The Mavericks need Carter to contribute, if they want to have a legitimate shot at repeating as NBA champs.

Coach on the Hot Seat: Vinny Del Negro, Los angeles Clippers

After leading the Pacific Division, the Clippers (23-17) now trail the Lakers by 1.5 games. Vinny Del Negro’s team has lost seven of its last 11 games, including a 97-93 loss to Golden State on Sunday and a 94-85 loss to the Celtics on Monday. The Clippers have plenty of talent, but Del Negro must get the team to play a complete game instead of just hoping their natural athleticism is enough to produce wins.

Bizarre Stat of the Week: New Orleans Hornets

New Orleans (10-31) has more road wins (6) than home wins (4) this season.

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