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Magic's Howard won't have cape now

GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Dwight Howard and Nate Robinson will be reunited Wednesday night when the Orlando Magic visit the Knicks at the Garden. Chances are Robinson won't be jumping over Howard, as he did when he won the Slam Dunk contest at the All-Star Game.

Howard won't be wearing a cape, either, as he did when Robinson jumped over him to win the Slam Dunk contest on Feb. 14. But that doesn't mean the 5-9 Robinson won't try to dunk on the NBA's leading shot-blocker, who is listed as 6-11.

"We'll see," Robinson said on Tuesday after practice at the MSG Training Center. "He's a good dude. After the dunk contest and everything, it's going to be fun. I've got a T-shirt for him. Hopefully he likes it."

How did the winning dunk come about? Robinson said he had been prepping the move before the contest by jumping over 6-11 Jared Jeffries in practice. He ran into Howard the day before the dunk competition during pregame interviews and asked the Magic star to participate.

"When we were doing our interviews, we walked to the elevator, and something told me to ask," he said. "I was just, 'Yo, Dwight, I have a dunk that I want to do, but I'm going to need your help.' He was like, 'Oh, yeah, anything.' I was like, 'I want to jump over you. But you've got to wear your cape.' He was cool about it."

Robinson hopes to do more than just dunk tonight, of course. He scored 41 points off the bench on Monday in the Knicks' 123-119 win over Pacers and is in the middle of the best stretch of his pro career.

The Magic is coming off a 120-102 loss to the Bulls in Chicago on Tuesday. Howard, who is averaging 2.96 blocks per game, scored 26 points and had 12 rebounds, but had no blocks. Robinson hopes that stat stays the same.

"We've got to get a win," he said. "He can block a hundred shots as long as we get a win."

The Knicks, who will play their first game since the Stephon Marbury situation was settled with a long-awaited buyout agreement on Tuesday, hope Robinson's dunk-contest theatrics aren't the highlight of their season. Even if Robinson downplays how big a highlight it was.

"It wasn't that big a deal," he said.

Sorry, that's just wrong. Along with being a Knicks fan favorite, Robinson has become a media sensation, with a visit to David Letterman's show and a farcical story about his continuously jumping over Howard on the satirical Web site "The Onion." Here's an edited portion of that story:

Since leaping over Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard to claim his second NBA dunk title Saturday, 5-9 Knicks guard Nate Robinson has apparently dedicated himself to the sole task of jumping over Howard as the 7-footer goes about his daily life.

According to Howard, Robinson bounded over him roughly two dozen times on Tuesday alone, most notably while the All-Star center was putting gas in his car, as he was standing in the checkout line at the grocery store, immediately after he woke up in the morning, two minutes later when he was taking a shower, and right afterward as he began to shave.

"I can't do anything without that guy jumping over me," said Howard, who glanced over his shoulder every few seconds during his news conference Wednesday. "He's everywhere. When I took my mom to her doctor's appointment last Monday, at church communion, and every time I get off my couch to put in a new DVD. And I watch a lot of DVDs."

"I don't know where he's coming from or how he's getting into my house, but I --" Howard added before he was interrupted by a pair of green shoes and shorts sailing over his head.

Following the leap, Robinson recreated his post-dunk celebration, performing a dance step with his right foot while making an odd gliding/flying motion with his arms as Howard watched.

"I don't quite get this," Howard said.

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