PORTLAND, Ore. — Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy empathizes with Urban Meyer.
Meyer cited a desire to spend more time with family as his reason for resigning as the Florida Gators' head coach.
"I've done it once," Van Gundy said Thursday, referring to his resignation as the Miami Heat's head coach early in the 2005-06 season.
"I've stepped down. If coaches are really honest I think … most of us with kids at home would admit that it's something you think about a lot. It's a constant pull. Not everybody steps away, that's for sure.
"But I think that most coaches out there with families have at least thought about it at times and thought about the sacrifices that our families are having to make and also the sacrifices that we make in terms of time away. So, I think if people are being honest, it's something that pulls on you all the time. So, to me, it's not surprising to see a guy make the decision that Urban Meyer made."
Magic's gameplanPeople who enjoy faceoffs between traditional centers circled Thursday night's game between the Magic and the Portland Trail Blazers the moment the 2010-11 schedule was released.
It looked like Dwight Howard would battle against Greg Oden, but that matchup evaporated once Oden needed season-ending surgery on his left knee.
As tipoff approached, it sounded like the Magic planned to go often to Howard on offense, even with Marcus Camby starting at center for the Blazers.
"They've got a pretty big lineup, a very physical team," Howard said. "I think the way we beat these guys is pound them on the inside and hit our shots from the outside."
Layups• Jameer Nelson was slated to play for the first time since Dec. 1. He missed Orlando's last three games because of a stomach virus.
• Van Gundy said his team's stretch of difficult games through Christmas "will really show us where we are and where we need to go and where we need to improve." He added, "I think it'll be a very good stretch, one where we will learn a lot. I think this could be a pivotal thing for us."
• Magic Assistant General Manager Dave Twardzik didn't join the team on this road trip, but he still had a presence inside the Rose Garden. Twardzik played for the Blazers from 1975-76 through 1979-80. His jersery number, 13, has been retired by the team and hangs in the arena's rafters.
• The big controversy in Oregon these days is the one-game suspension Blazers PG Andre Miller received for banging into the Los Angeles Clippers' Blake Griffin. Asked for his opinion on the play, Van Gundy said, "If I were in the league office, what I would be most disturbed about is you had a play that you deemed was so bad that it was a flagrant foul and a guy got suspended, and you had three referees who didn't call a foul on the play. If I were in the league office, that's what I would find a lot more disturbing than what Andre Miller did."
• Each fan who attended Thursday's game received a free red Blazers T-shirt.
Read Josh Robbins' blog at OrlandoSentinel.com/magicblog and e-mail him at email@example.com. Subscribe to our Orlando Magic newsletter at OrlandoSentinel.com/joinus.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times