Tonight’s best game: New York at Orlando

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The twists and turns of a wild season for the New York Knicks have been upstaged by the Dwight Howard saga.

magic small logoIn a bizarre sequence of events for the media that had twitter in a state of frenzy, Stan Van Gundy addressed questions today and confirmed rumors that came out yesterday, saying Dwight Howard demanded Van Gundy be fired as the head coach of the Orlando Magic.

“I was told it was true by people in our management,” Van Gundy said. ”So right from the top.”

Dwight Howard disputed the claim, saying it would make no sense to ask for the coach to be fired with little time remaining in the season, though sources claim otherwise.

Whatever the case may be, the Orlando Magic will host the short-handed New York Knicks in Thursday’s best game on TNT.

The last time the two teams met back on March 28, the Knicks crushed the Magic at Madison Square Garden, 108-86. The final score did not indicate the severity of the blowout, as Orlando trailed by as many as 39 points.

That loss was part of the second four-game losing streak of the season for Orlando (32-22), which has allowed 103.5 points during that span.

The Magic won the first meeting against the Knicks 102-93 on Jan. 16 at Amway Center. Tonight will be the final matchup between the two teams.

Howard, after missing a total of seven games in his 619 career starts – has missed the last two games due to back spasms, but is expected to play in tonight’s contest.

“Big Baby” Glen Davis has stepped up in Howard’s absence, averaging 24.5 points and 13 rebounds playing center in the last two games. With Howard expected back, Davis will likely start at power forward for Ryan Anderson who has been ruled out due to an embarrassing ankle sprain.

Jameer Nelson (calf) missed the previous contest and is a game-time decision.

knicks small logoNew York (27-27) will look to regroup after suffering an embarrassing 112-104 loss to the Pacers in which they squandered a 17-point second-half lead.

Playing power forward for the injured Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony had a season high 39 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.

New York has lost four straight games at the Amway Center. The last win came on April 10, 2009 when David Lee and Al Harrington were still wearing Knicks uniforms.

Jeremy Lin remains sidelined after successful knee surgery and will likely miss the remainder of the regular season.

James Park is a regular contributor to Sheridanhoops.com. Follow him on twitter

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