A day after sending the blogosphere abuzz with pointed criticism of coach Stan Van Gundy, Magic F Dwight Howard — perhaps taking an unfortunate tip from guarantee-crazed Orlando assistant Patrick Ewing — has put all the focus prior to Game 6 against Boston squarely on himself. The AP’s Antonio Gonzalez quotes Howard promising “We™re in this series to win it. We are going to win this series”, though that’s not nearly as inflammatory as Van Gundy suggesting Orlando’s basketball fans just aren’t sophisticated enough not to freak the fuck out.

œIf you™re an Orlando fan and you consider a (Game 5) loss like that on Boston™s home court humiliating, it probably speaks more to the fact that you haven™t seen enough playoff series around here in a long time, Van Gundy said. œThat kind of panic wouldn™t exist in cities that are used to having teams in tough playoff series year after year after year.

Magic GM Otis Smith today poured cold water on an ESPN claim that Van Gundy’s job was in jeopardy, and while Smith might well have been speaking the truth, it’s not as though Orlando would publicy threaten the coach on the eve of the franchise’s most important game in 14 years.