Call it "Breakfast at Shanghai."

To get into the spirit of watching the Orlando Magic face the Cleveland Cavaliers at 8 a.m. Wednesday on ESPN2, you could pour some Dou Jiang (sweet soybean milk) over your cornflakes and have your duck eggs over easy. Or just have a nice, warm bowl of congee (porridge).


The Magic have joined the Cavs to spread the NBA's global gospel, playing an exhibition game at the Shanghai Forest Sports City Arena at 8 p.m. Shanghai time.

Orlando and Cleveland then travel to the gambling mecca of Macao. The Magic meet a Chinese national team on Thursday before again facing the Cavs on Saturday to conclude their junket.


Magic center Dwight Howard, who has made two previous trips to China, already has the basketball-crazed Chinese all atwitter. He has intimated that he either will dunk on Cavs star LeBron James -- or at least cause considerable structural damage.

"Well, I don't know if LeBron . . . if he's around the rim. I'm pretty sure I'm going to dunk the ball on whomever is around," Howard said. "I'm going to try to break the rim."

While Howard might be looking to entertain, Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy insists that the club is, in effect, in China on a work visa.

The Magic practiced Monday, although power forward Rashard Lewis (sprained ankle), small forward Trevor Ariza (inflamed foot) and guard Keyon Dooling (abdominal strain) were held out to nurse injuries.

Magic officials said Lewis will not play in the first game and Ariza could be out the entire week. Dooling could play in the last game of the trip.

The Magic's first team on the floor in practice consisted of Howard at center, veteran Bo Outlaw at power forward, Hedo Turkoglu at small forward, J.J. Redick at shooting guard and Jameer Nelson at point guard.

Van Gundy wants to focus on defense and protecting the ball in China.

"We're not where we want to be as a team. We just can't afford to take any time off and not get practices in," he said. "We just have to keep it going. There's distractions, but we'll approach it as if there won't be any difficulty."


Van Gundy, in fact, said he was eager to see how his players would respond to the arduous trip, which began Saturday with a 18-hour flight from Orlando to Shanghai.

The Magic already have endured a hard-nosed training camp and played three exhibition games at home. They will be tested early once the regular season starts, playing 20 of their first 33 games on the road.

"We already have a dog-tired group of guys," Van Gundy said. "I like the fact that we have to go over there. I think we need to develop more mental toughness."

Coaches would rather be drilling their teams at home, but Van Gundy said neither the Magic nor any other team should be complaining about being basketball ambassadors.

"People [are] watching NBA basketball around the world. . . . None of us can complain after all the benefits basketball has provided us," he said. "I always say, 'If you want to complain, would you agree to make just half of what you're making for them to cancel the trip? I didn't think so.' We're all reaping the rewards."

Injured Magic power forward Tony Battie said, "I just want to experience the culture. It will be as great for us as the fans. You have to appreciate how many doors basketball opens for you."


There probably can be no better NBA ambassador than worldly Magic backup center Adonal Foyle. He graduated magna cum laude from Colgate and is working on his master's degree. He recites poetry, reads voraciously and is a political activist.

"Shanghai is the city of economic boom. Where the world is seeing an economic slowdown, China is the opposite. It's a pretty amazing city," said Foyle, who was in China with the NBA-sponsored Basketball without Borders. "When you think of communism, you think of the restriction that comes with communism. Shanghai is the antithesis of that.

"It's a pretty modern city. I mean you'll see hotels, every American fast-food joint, Gucci socks. I think the NBA is big [in China] because we work at it. [Commissioner] David Stern works at it.

"Basketball is a global sport, and we're global ambassadors whether we like it or not. We come from all over the world now, playing in the NBA, and we have a great opportunity to continue to grow the sport. We ought to see it as part of our mission to do that. "