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Early on, there is no "D' in Orlando

It's early in the season, but already a strange thing is happening. The Magic, guided by one of the best defensive coaches in the league, isn't playing good defense.

Go figure.

Granted, the Magic had played only two games before Tuesday night's contest in Milwaukee, but its defensive numbers weren't pretty.

Orlando had given up an average of 100.5 points and allowed opponents to shoot 45.7 percent.

"It's got to be a pride thing," forward Horace Grant said. "Every player is going to have to take pride in playing good, solid defense. Unless we do that, we're going to be in for a long year."

Orlando went into Tuesday's game 1-1.

PENNY NOT KNEE-DEEP IN PAIN: Penny Hardaway's right knee acted up against the Bucks.

Hardaway was questionable for the season opener against Atlanta on Friday and complained of some pain early in the game. Before Tuesday, he said the knee had not troubled him since, but he said it started bothering him in the first quarter against the Bucks.

Hardaway is not taking any chances with the knee, which is why he will not play in the World Championships next summer in Greece.

"It's no knock on the World Championships, but if this were the Olympics, it might be different," he said. "But I really didn't want to play this summer. I've been having some injuries to deal with the last couple of years, and I need to take care of myself."

DEREK IS STRONG AGAIN: Power forward Derek Strong is healthy again and back in the lineup, but missing the opener was a big deal.

Strong was the only player to suit up for all 82 games last season. The best he can do this year is 81.

"Coach (Chuck Daly) said he thought I looked a little gimpy in the last practice before the game, so he left me out," Strong said. "But I was ready to play 82 games again this year."

MORE THAN A PENNY'S WORTH: Hardaway, who has been asked to score more at shooting guard, put up 31 and 32 points in the first two games

Asked if he was going to have to score that much for the team to win, Hardaway said: "I think so. I'm going to have to score 25, 30 points a night for us to have a chance because we're still a little bit out of rhythm offensively."

BOSTON'S UNFRIENDLY SKIES: It's amazing the Magic beat the Celtics on Sunday because it almost didn't get to Boston.

The Magic's plane encountered a heavy storm on the way. The wind, about 47 mph, was so strong airport officials ordered the aircraft to circle Boston's airport for more than an hour before a safe landing seemed possible.

The ordeal left several players shaken. Said Nick Anderson: "Penny and I normally sit in the back, and we were hanging on to each other, it was so scary."

PENNY TALKS TO THE BIG O: Hardaway is going to be on Oprah.

He's taping the episode today while in Chicago for tonight's game against the Bulls. No word when the show will air.

Hardaway also is scheduled to be a guest on Late Show with David Letterman soon.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Newly acquired forward Bo Outlaw continues to be the same pleasant surprise in the regular season he was in the preseason.

Before the Milwaukee game, the former Clipper shot 58 percent and averaged 7.5 points and 4.5 rebounds. He also had six of the team's 13 blocked shots.

STAT OF THE WEEK II: Rebounding continues to be a problem. Before Tuesday, the team was being outrebounded 45.5-34.5 per game.

_ Information from other news organizations was used in this report.

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