Josh Robbins">
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Patrick Ewing advises Dwight Howard: Stay with the Magic

NEW YORK — Only in New York.

Maybe this is the only place where

Dwight Howard

is the runner-up as the

Orlando Magic

's most beloved big man.

Magic assistant coach

Patrick Ewing

received a standing ovation at

Madison Square Garden

when he was introduced during a break in the first quarter of Monday's 102-93 Magic win over the

Knicks

.

Ewing, of course, has been asked what advice he has given Howard, who can opt out of his deal after this season and has requested a trade. Ewing said he has advised Howard to remain with the Magic.

"Everybody always thinks the grass is always greener," Ewing said. "But it's a great opportunity for him to stay in a [single] place. I wish I had stayed and finished my career here in New York. But it's his decision."

Howard, who can opt out of his current deal after this season, has requested a trade. One of the three teams on his list of preferred destinations is the

New Jersey Nets

, who will relocate to Brooklyn after this season.

Ewing played the first 15 seasons of his 17-year

NBA

career with the Knicks, and he understands that the spotlight is brighter in the New York market than Orlando.

"You've got to have a thick skin to play in a place like this," Ewing said.

Looking to London

As expected, USA Basketball on Monday included Howard on its list of 20 finalists for this summer's U.S. Olympic team.

Howard indicated that he is fully committed to participating, even if he becomes an unrestricted free agent in July. Howard said he has assured USA Basketball Chairman

Jerry Colangelo

that he wants to play.

"I talked to Jerry a couple of days ago, and I told him that I'm committed to being on the team, and I'm looking forward to winning another gold medal for the U.S.," Howard said. "So nothing else matters."

J-Rich out

Jason Richardson

was deactivated for Monday's game because of a bone bruise in his left knee.

Coach

Stan Van Gundy

said his "guess" is that Richardson will not play again before Friday's home game against the

Los Angeles Lakers

.

J.J. Redick

started at shooting guard in Richardson's place and finished with 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting.

Quentin Richardson

played for the first time since Jan. 5, the day he irritated the skin on his left foot trying to self-treat an

ankle sprain

.

Remembering Dr. King

Monday was the third season in a row that the Magic played on

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

.

The Knicks honored King before tipoff by flashing King's image on the scoreboard and having rookie

Iman Shumpert

speak to the announced crowd of 19,763.

"The

Martin Luther King Jr.

holiday is definitely something that you want to play in and be a part of," Jason Richardson said. "He changed so much, not just for African-Americans but just the human race in general."

Howard said: "Everything he stood for, just what he wanted to see happen in our world, it's getting there. His dream of just being treated equally and everybody understanding that we're all one — no matter the shape, size, color, we're all the same. He will always be remembered."

Layups

• Howard was whistled for a technical foul with 5:21 remaining in the first quarter. It was Howard's second technical of the season.

• Knicks strength and conditioning coach

Bill Burgos

said hello to Magic players, coaches and staffers before tipoff. Burgos was the Magic's strength and conditioning coordinator until he was hired away by the Knicks this past offseason.

• The

Charlotte Bobcats

, the Magic's opponent Tuesday, should be even more fatigued than the Magic. The Bobcats played Monday, losing 102-94 to the

Cleveland Cavaliers

in Charlotte. The Bobcats will be playing their fifth game in six days when they face the Magic.

New York Yankees

pitcher

C.C. Sabathia

attended Monday's game. In recent years, Sabathia has attended Magic games in Orlando during

spring training

.

• R&B artist

Ciara

also attended the game.

jbrobbins@tribune.com. Read his blog at OrlandoSentinel.com/magicblog. Subscribe to our Orlando Magic newsletter at OrlandoSentinel.com/joinus.

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