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Magic Vs. Nets: Amid Dwight Howard Trade Rumors, Orlando Hosts New Jersey

With Dwight Howard's future in the foreground, Orlando (1-1) takes on New Jersey (1-1) on Thursday.

The Orlando Magic (1-1) continue their season Thursday evening when they host the New Jersey Nets (1-1) at Amway Center. As New Jersey is one of three teams to which Magic center Dwight Howard would consent to be traded, there will certainly be plenty of focus on Thursday's game, undoubtedly more than would usually accompany an early-season meeting between a 52-win team and a 24-win one. The fact that Howard ate dinner with Nets point guard Deron Williams on Wednesday, as Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel reports, will only fuel speculation about Howard's future more.

In their last outing, the Magic topped the Houston Rockets, 104-95, behind 23 points from Hedo Turkoglu and 21 from Howard. Turkoglu scored 13 of Orlando's 27 fourth-quarter points and hit the game-clinching three-pointer. The Magic held Houston star Kevin Martin to four points on 1-of-10 shooting and limited Luis Scola to four second-half points on 2-of-9 shooting.

New Jersey did not fare nearly as well. Wednesday, the Atlanta Hawks drubbed the Nets, 106-70, in the franchise's last home opener in New Jersey before moving to Brooklyn next season. Six Hawks scored between 12 and 17 points in a balanced effort. The Nets shot 31 percent from the field, committed 18 turnovers, and suffered a 15-board disadvantage on the glass.

Tipoff for Thursday's Magic/Nets game is scheduled for 7 PM Eastern on Fox Sports Florida.

For more Magic coverage, please visit Orlando Pinstriped Post, SB Nation's Magic blog. For the perspective from the other side, please visit SB Nation New York and NetsDaily, SB Nation's Nets blog.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.