Howard Won't Sit Like Kobe and LeBron
Otherwise, there will be no days off.
A night after fellow superstars LeBron James and Kobe Bryant sat out games to rest for the playoffs, Howard played 37 minutes in his 79th consecutive game this season.
"I'm not jealous. Those guys (Bryant and James) can rest, but I'm going to continue to play,'' said Howard after getting 25 points and 13 rebounds in an easy 118-103 victory over the Knicks Friday night. "I think (Coach) Stan's (Van Gundy) motto is 'you can rest when you die.'''
Howard has played all 82 games in four of his previous five seasons. Although he takes particular pride in his durability, a bigger reason why he won't be resting before the playoffs is the Magic's belief that they are headed toward a rematch in the NBA Finals against the Lakers.
The Magic and Lakers have identical records (56-23). If they meet in the Finals, the team with the better record will have home-court advantage. That hasn't stopped Bryant, though, who watched his second consecutive game from the sideline Friday night.
"I don't know what it gains you,'' said Van Gundy. "These guys have been playing all year, and they get days off. I don't understand why everyone thinks that one day off (from a game) is just going to have them rejuvenated.''
In 11 of the last 14 NBA Finals, the team with the home-court advantage has won. The Magic lost in the Finals last season to the Lakers, who had the home court.
The Magic did beat the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals without the home court, something they will have to do again to reach the Finals.
Van Gundy wasn't criticizing the Lakers and Cavaliers, but he obviously didn't agree with their thinking. Fans still have to pay the same price for tickets when the stars don't play.
"If we ever get there -- and that's a long way to go -- but I'd hate to be sitting there in the Finals going 'we could have had a shot at this if I didn't rest so-and-so for no damn reason,''' Van Gundy said. "I'm not saying we'll get there, but if we do, I want every advantage and I think that's a lot more important than giving a guy a night off.''