Double Dribble

An NBA blog from Newsday's Bobby Bonett

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Howard talks about Van Gundy, back injury

Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, left, talks

Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, left, talks with Dwight Howard (12) during a timeout in the first half. (April 5, 2012) (Credit: AP)

TMZ.com caught Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard on his way out of rehab Thursday, and asked him how his back is recovering, what he thought about the firing of Stan Van Gundy, and who he thinks will win the NBA championship

Howard told TMZ that his "back is doing a lot better." He added he's "happy with the progress."

On Van Gundy, Howard reiterated that he didn't have anything to do with Orlando's decision to let the coach go.

"Me and Stan had our ups and downs, but for the most part, we had one goal," Howard said, "and that was to win the championship in Orlando. And we fell short."

So who does Howard think will win the title?

"I think the Thunder might take it . . . I think this is just their time."

TMZ also also asked Howard about an interview ESPN has with him. The reporter suggested that ESPN was set to run the interview Friday. Howard warned the reporter that the interview was outdated.

"It's old," Howard said. "It's an interview from about two months ago. And the stuff on there is inaccurate. A lot of stuff has changed since then."

Howard was named to the All-NBA First Team Thursday. He averaged 20.6 points and a league-leading 14.5 rebounds per game during the 2011-12 season, but missed the end of the regular season and the postseason due to his back injury.

(h/t @sheridanhoops)

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