Dwight Howard may well have muscled the Sixers out of the playoff picture last night, along with giving Orlando an outside shot at their own post-season participation.

The San Antonio Express News’ Mike Monroe — bouncing back nicely from that messy Hanoi Rocks tenure — cites the trade of a certain point guard as the catalyst for the Magic’s remarkable run.

The Knicks are 7-19 since acquiring Steve Francis from the Magic in a trade that was classic addition by subtraction for Orlando, which is 15-11 since the deal, including its recent 11-1 run that produced victories over the Pistons, Heat, Mavericks and Spurs.

Said one respected NBA player personnel executive recently, “Steve’s a great player, but that’s only if you’re talking about the ‘And 1’ league.”