Carter: Magic will douse Heat

Vince Carter came to the Cayman
Islands a couple of months ago and essentially stated he was less than
impressed with the NBA’s new powerhouse in the Miami Heat. Now his Orlando
Magic team-mates are expressing similar views.

In fact, based on the sentiments
from the opening days of the Magic’s training camp, South Florida could be home
to an explosive and engaging basketball rivalry. As starting centre Dwight
Howard states Orlando is already frustrated with talking about Miami.

“I think I got tired of hearing
about the Heat as soon as LeBron said he was going to Miami,” Howard said. “Our
discussions are not about Miami and what they’re doing. Our discussions are
about what we are going to do to win a championship. What are we going to
sacrifice? How are we going to play night in and night out so we can win a
championship?

“We’re not banking on beating the
Miami Heat or saying, ‘Hey we need to beat the Heat.’ That’s not our concern.”

LeBron James announced his decision
to join the Miami Heat 8 July on national television. James joined fellow
big-name addition Chris Bosh and guard Dwyane Wade to form the next Big Three.
The sheer collection of talent has many experts predicting over 50 wins for the
Heat this season and Miami having a chance to usurp Orlando and the Boston
Celtics (with a Big Three of their own in Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul
Pierce) as the top dogs in the Eastern Conference.

Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy
appreciates Miami’s collection of individual stars but doesn’t consider them
favourites.

“Look, they’ve got great talent,”
Van Gundy said. “Having three guys at that level in the league is unprecedented
and people have a great interest in them and what they’re going to do. But I
know and the players know that nobody can win a championship without going on
the court and doing it.

“We’re not playing in a fantasy
league now. You want to win in this league, you have to go on the court and get
it done.”

Both Howard and Van Gundy’s
sentiments follow on Carter’s comments in late July. The starting guard/forward
was here as part of the annual Magic basketball camp put on by the Cayman
Islands Basketball Association. Over 70 kids attended the camp. Carter stated
the Heat are no different from every other team trying to challenge Kobe Bryant
and the Los Angeles Lakers for a championship.

“Everyone is trying to load up and
get to the finals,” Carter said. “They feel they can get over the top but it’s
a very tough conference. At the end of the day the Lakers are still the team to
beat.”

Another Magic player who has a link
to Cayman is J.J. Redick. The shooting guard was slated to come to Cayman at
the inaugural camp last year but ended up cancelling due to other commitments.
Former great Nick Anderson came down instead. Redick states the media frenzy
surrounding the Heat will not serve as much motivation for the Magic.

“If you’re at this level and you
need all those outside motivations then you’re not going to be that
successful,” Redick said. “I think the guys on our team are motivated to win a
championship for us, not to beat Miami. We’re motivated to be great.”

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