Time for Magic to start Harkless

"I wish I would have played more in the end because I thought I was doing a pretty good job on Carmelo," Harkless said matter-of-factly.

Harkless looked far more aggressive than in his Minnesota cameo. If he was intimidated against Anthony, it never showed. He plays expressionless, with a poker face.

He turned in the Magic's best individual defensive sequence of the young season on one trip down the floor. Harkless blocked two of Anthony's shots, then contested a third after 'Melo kept grabbing offensive rebounds.

Sure, it's a sample size, but it's something for the Magic and Moe to build on.

Start him.

Music to Dwight's ears?

New Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni told Dwight Howard – who, ahem, hasn't agreed to sign an extension – exactly what he wanted to hear. Who knows if it's enough?

"I know that the point guard is the one running the ship, but I told Dwight he can be in every play," D'Antoni said. "We don't call plays. So he can run down and pick the ball and he's rolling to the basket. One of the least efficient plays in basketball is just the straight post-up. It's just not efficient.

"His touches should increase, his ability to get to the rim should increase, and it should be a lot easier for Dwight."

To which Dwight replied, "The big man should eat."

Uh-oh. This will be tricky, considering Kobe sits at the head of the table.

Farewell, coach

I don't think in 30-some years I ever called Murray Arnold anything but "coach."

He passed away this week after losing a battle with cancer. Arnold coached at every level – high school (DeLand and Lyman), college (head coach at Stetson and Western Kentucky) and pro (assistant with Chicago Bulls). He was a regular at Magic games in recent years.

He would talk with enthusiasm about all his players, whether it was a prep stand-out or a rising young star for the Bulls named Michael Jordan.

Arnold was fond of telling the story about attending a Nike banquet in the mid-'80s. The party had a Roaring Twenties theme, complete with toy water pistols at each table. Within minutes, Arnold was being hit with streams of water. It was Jordan pulling the trigger.

This 'n' That

Obviously, Phil Jackson didn't want the Lakers' job that badly. Or for that long. … Every time Shaq says on TNT that Clippers C DeAndre Jordan is better than Dwight, the network should run a disclaimer. Shaq hasn't retired from being big or from needling Howard. … Magic headed into Friday night's game against the Detroit Pistons riding a five-game losing streak. Last time the club lost six or more in a row was 2005-06, when the Magic lost eight straight. Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu were on that team.

bschmitz@tribune.com

 

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