Tag:Dwight Howard
Posted on: February 14, 2012 12:00 am
 

Report Card: LeBron gets ridiculous in Milwaukee

Posted by Royce Young

 LeBron had the kind of night where you mention him with Ewing, Barkley and Duncan. (Getty Images)

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.

LeBron James
In 31 minutes, LeBron basically demolished the Milwaukee Bucks. That's what they get for beating the Heat twice this season, I guess. LeBron went for 35 points on 16-21 shooting with eight rebounds just for fun. As pointed out on Twitter, the only players to do that the last 20 years are Tim Duncan, Alonzo Mourning, Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing.
Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks continue to steadily climb the hill as they picked up a very nice win over the Clippers Monday. Dirk scored 22 but on 5-15 shooting. He did close the game especially well, which he tends to do. The Mavs though got a bit of everything from a lot of different parties -- Shawn Marion had 16, Vince Carter 10, Delonte West 10, Brendan Haywood 10. Not that anyone ever wrote the Mavs off, but now they're actually getting our attention again.
Chris Kaman
The big guy started for New Orleans and did his job putting up 27 points and 13 rebounds in a win over Utah. He was deactivated as the Hornets shopped him around so this does two things: Helps the Hornets win because a good player played well and increases his trade value. The Hornets probably prefer losses to help the lottery ball odds, but Kaman playing well is a very good thing for New Orleans.
Kenyon Martin Martin played his best game with his new team scoring 10 points in 26 minutes while adding four blocks. He's absolutely everything the Clippers need off the bench. He's a big, physical body and if he's in good shape, he'll probably be a 25-30 minute fixture in that rotation. 
Dwight Howard The Magic picked up a nice win over the Wolves, but it certainly wasn't because of Howard. He was in constant foul trouble which limited him to only 11 points and seven rebounds in 28 minutes. And as for being a closer: He scored three points in the fourth on three shots. 
Charlotte Bobcats The Bobcats put up a fight against the 76ers, but as you might've assumed, lost. Why do you assume? Because that makes 15 in a row Charlotte has lost. 
Utah Jazz
Maybe the Jazz are coming back down to Earth. Another loss, with this one coming to the dreadful Hornets. Granted, it was the second night of a back-to-back and they won in Memphis the night before, but that's five of seven in the loss column for Utah, with this one being against a terrible team. You can't do that when you're trying to compete for a playoff spot in the West. 
Posted on: February 12, 2012 3:17 pm
 

Dwight Howard wants the ball in the fourth

If Howard wants the ball in the fourth, he's going to need to do better than 49 percent at the free throw line. (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

There's often a trend with pretty much every Orlando Magic game. Dwight Howard dominates for three quarters and then fades in the fourth taking only two or three shots.

Why? Because defenses clamp down, clog the paint, foul him when he gets it near the basket and he doesn't have teammates that can create good opportunities for him. It's not like someone like LeBron disappearing. Howard can't really help it. He doesn't handle the ball, can't create for himself and in general, has to be set up with opportunities.

But he wants the ball. He wants to be a fourth quarter player. He wants to start shouldering that load, on his very oddly wide shoulders. Via FoxSports.com:

"I do want the ball more in the fourth quarter," a frustrated Howard told FOX Sports exclusively after the game.

"I want to become a closer. The only way you get there is by getting the ball and have coach have the confidence in giving me the ball.

"That’s how Kobe (Bryant) and the rest of the great fourth-quarter players got that way. It’s trial and error. When Kobe first got in the league, it took him a while to become the killer he is in the fourth quarter now. That’s because he went through that phase where he had to learn what shots to take and just get confidence in taking shots in the fourth quarter.

"That’s one thing that I want for myself, so I can become the guy who finishes games for my team. I want to be that guy whose team wants him to close games out for them. Coach just needs to have confidence in me."

Obviously the Magic would love for him to be that closer too, but as I mentioned above, there are obstacles. The most obvious one being Howard has to do better at the free throw line. He's shooting just 49 percent from the stripe this season (a career-low, by a longshot) and hasn't ever shown the ability to be a consistent back-to-the-basket scorer. He gets a lot from lobs, putbacks and just overpowering his defender.

Howard doesn't care though. He wants the ball.
"Just run plays through me, so I can be comfortable in being the guy and have confidence in getting the ball late in the game and scoring," Howard said.

"That’s what I’m worth. I want to be that guy who controls games. As a kid, that’s what you dream about in the NBA, taking that shot. I want to do that.

"I’m the leader of the team. Ride my back. I’ll lead. I don’t care if I miss every single shot, I’m going to continue to play hard. Just get on my back.

"That’s why they call me Superman."

Actually, I'm not sure THAT'S why. I'm pretty sure it has more to do with you putting on a cape and calling yourself that, but whatever. Not the point.

It's such a challenge to do that with a post player though. It's so difficult to rely on a guy on the block to hit a crucial late game shot. Shaq was sort of an exception, but still, he faced challenges of Hack-a-Shaq and Kobe getting him the ball.

The Magic have always been most dangerous when they play inside-out with Howard drawing extra defenders and then kicking out to a shooter or to someone who can penetrate a rotating defense and then dish again. They've never really succeeded just dumping the ball to Howard and letting him go to work. He doesn't have the footwork or touch to really do that.

But he wants the shot. And at this point with his future in the air with Orlando, it might be best to just give him what he wants.
Posted on: February 9, 2012 1:42 am
Edited on: February 9, 2012 1:58 am
 

Report Card 2.9.12: Linsanity strikes again

Jeremy Lin led the Knicks to their third straight win in his second start. (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore 

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.

Complete Linsanity He did it. Again. In NBA history, there have been four players to post 20+points and 8+ assists in their first two career starts. Jeremy Lin became the fifth Wednesday night, with 23 points, 10 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal, just two turnovers and 9-14 shooting. Once again an opponent opted to go over the screen, to dare him to drive and/or pass off the pick and roll, and once again Lin destroyed a team. The dream continues. An amazing ride. Also, this happened, which is Landry Fields and Lin's new handshake, in which they open a book flip through it, put on glasses, and then slip on pocket protectors:

Orlando Magic Orlando did not stomp the Heat. But they did throw them up against the lockers, shook their lunch money out, and bloodied their clothes a bit. The Magic essentially had a two step process. Challenge the Heat at mid-range in face-up and passinsg situations defensively, and hit a metric ton of threes. It's nothing we haven't seen from Orlando before, just against a very good team. The occasional lapse to let the Heat back in it, even as good as Miami is, keeps them from an A, but a very solid performance for Orlando and a huge win.
Memphis Grizzlies The Grizzlies beat the Wolves by just five (though it was really a seven-point lead before a needless foul and so-what three), when they were without Kevin Love. Scoring just 85 points isn't going to get it done. Memphis passes with a win over a quality team with or without Love, but fails to show anything that suggest they have resolved their myriad problems.
Los Angeles Clippers The Cavaliers were without their best player in Kyrie Irving and still ran the Clippers out throughout the game. Not the comforting start to the post-Billups era you would hope for, particularly letting Ramon Sessions have his way to the tune of 24 and 13.
New Orleans Hornets What do you want to go with, here? Scoring just 67 points? 14 points in the first period, causing an awkard situation when the crowd didn't get to sit down for five-plus minutes to start the game waiting for the first bucket? Such a wide range of sad failure for the Hornets. Anthony Davis, Hornets fans. Anthony Davis.


E FOR EFFORT
Jeremy Lin (23 points, 10 assists, Linsanity)
Tony Parker (37 points and 8 assists, validating All-Star reserve status if selected)
Dwight Howard (25 points and 24 boards in win over Heat)
Posted on: February 8, 2012 9:40 pm
 

DeVos on Howard: 'I don't want to trade him'

Posted by Royce Young

The Magic's owner said Wednesday that he doesn't want to trade Dwight Howard. (Getty Images)

For whatever reason, before the Magic's game Wednesday against the Heat, owner Rich DeVos made a surprise visit to Orlando's locker room to speak with the media. And put it simply to the reporters there:

"I don't want to trade him," DeVos said of Dwight Howard who could become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

That's not exactly "I won't trade him" but it signals what some are beginning to suspect. The Magic aren't in a hurry to trade Howard and aren't going to just give him away.

According to reports, DeVos was greeted by players like Jason Richardson and Daniel Orton but did not get anything from Howard, who dressed only a couple feet away. Tension? Yeah, probably. Howard has made it pretty clear he'd like to be traded as well as making it painfully clear he doesn't want to remain with the Magic. But Devos still holds on to some optimism.

"We like to think we're making headway," DeVos said of negotiations. "But I don't know. He probably won't know until the end and I won't either."

DeVos wouldn't put a percentage chance on Howard staying.

"I don't gamble on that, I just plan on him staying," he said.

"You never give up," DeVos said. "We've got a great talent, a great young man. He's got to look at his options (and) what's best for him and I have to tell him what I think is best for him. I'm selfish."

DeVos, who is 85 and in a wheelchair, obviously isn't keen on the idea of starting a major rebuild with the team. If his hand is forced, he would prefer to keep his team competitive for as long as possible. DeVos told reporters he wants to keep the teams in the hands of his family for "forever," and certainly doesn't want to pass on a deterioating product.

It sounds like he's not glass-half-full in these Howard talks, but glass-half-full-of-whiskey. He's probably being unreasonable and far too optimistic that Howard stays, but I understand his position. Why give Howard away and not get anything near comparable in return? DeVos is looking at a chance to win now and wants to hang on to that for as long as possible.

DeVos told reporters that if he leaves Orlando for a new city, he might not ever equal that connection he has with the team that drafted him and the fans that watched him grow.

"Listen to the fans tonight, cheering," DeVos said. "He's respected. You have to move in life, but the loyalty you develop in a community is always remembered. But if you leave, you don't pick it up in the next town. It's not an add-on, you know, because you lose what you had. Maybe you gain some new [loyalty], but maybe you don't. Maybe the net gain isn't as good you think. We just talk about stuff."

A quality pitch, but it's probably not enough to sway Howard into staying. Not going to stop DeVos from trying though. Maybe well past the March 15 trade deadline.

Via the Orlando Sentinel

Posted on: February 7, 2012 2:04 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 2:07 pm
 

Kobe calls Howard trade report 'kiddy drama spit'

Kobe Bryant denies a report that he tried to bring Dwight Howard to L.A. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver

Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant has many things to do: carry a weaker-than-usual Lakers team, find a new house to live in after his divorce, pitch KobeSystem shoe products, the list goes on.

One thing Bryant will not do: engage the daily Dwight Howard trade rumor mill.

Last week, a RealGM.com report indicated that Bryant pitched the Orlando Magic's All-Star center on joining the Lakers by saying that Howard could be a defensive stopper and third wheel before eventually become the franchise guy once Bryant retired.

The New York Post reports on Tuesday that Bryant called the report "not true" and said that he was "too old" for the online coverage of potential Howard trades, which he called "kiddy drama spit." 
“I have no clue what’s even being said. I have a lot to deal with as it is,” he replied. 

“omg! I’m not getting mixed up in this kiddy drama spit, bro. too old for that spit,” Bryant responded via email.
Bryant, 33, has made multiple references recently to his body clock ticking. He passed future Hall of Fame center Shaquille O'Neal on the NBA's All-Time scoring list on Monday and his key quote, as reported by Ken Berger of CBSSports.com: "I don't have many more of these games left."

It's difficult to argue when Bryant says that he is above the day-to-day minutiae of the rumor mill. But it's equally hard to imagine that he is actually above interest in acquiring Howard, who would help him acquire his coveted sixth championship ring.

After L.A.'s attempt to land All-Star point guard Chris Paul fell through before the season, all eyes turned to Howard as a potential savior for the Lakers. And that story isn't going anywhere until he signs an extension or is traded somewhere else. Bryant may have the luxury of tuning out the small stuff, but the bigger issue still looms. This kiddy drama spit ain't going away anytime soon.
Posted on: February 6, 2012 10:36 pm
 

Report Card: Jeremy Lin carries the Knicks

Posted by Royce Young

It's Linsanity in New York right now. (Getty Images)

It was a milestone kind of night in the NBA as the story was Kobe Bryant passing Shaquille O'Neal on the all-time scoring list, but a couple upsets, a couple overtime games and some big matchups were all part of a wild Monday night.

The New York Jeremy Lin's.

No Amar'e Stoudemire. No Carmelo Anthony, who went out with groin injury early in the first quarter. No problem for the Knicks against one of the West's good teams, the Utah Jazz. Behind a new career-high from Jeremy Lin who had 28 points and eight assists, also new career-high (but also eight turnovers, all in the second half), the Knicks were able to pull out an improbable win over a solid team. Jared Jeffries took five charges (!), Steve Novak randomly had 19 points and the Knicks got just enough from all over to win. This is maybe the type of game you can build on a bit. Backs against the wall and the role guys step up. Great win for the Knicks.

Philadelphia 76ers

Over the last seven days, the 76ers have taken down the Lakers Magic, Bulls and Hawks. I had them as a contender and the Sixers did a good job of making that call look pretty good. Lou Williams was terrific down the stretch against the Lakers Monday and the 76ers put away yet another good win. It's time to wake up about this team. These guys aren't just good. They're LEGIT.


Dwight Howard

Another tremendous game from Howard in a losing effort. It's a shame to see a guy go for 33 points and 14 rebounds in a losing effort, but the assertiveness from Howard was certainly nice to see. Howard took 21 shots, including 17 in the first half. Which moght then show you one of the issues the Magic tend to have -- getting the ball to Howard in key situations. It's not that he disappeared, he just wasn't near the offensive factor.

Kobe Bryant

Kobe passed Shaq on the all-time scoring list and did it in a very Kobe way. He needed 24 to pass Shaq and so he got 24 in the first half. The problem: Kobe finished with 28. He had just four points in the second half and shot 10-26 with five turnovers. A great night for Kobe in terms of history, but not a good night in terms of what transpired in his hometown Philly.


Utah Jazz

Yes, the Knicks winning is the story, but don't overlook the fact that the Jazz blew an easy opportunity to put another win on the board. No Stoudemire, no Melo and the Jazz let Novak, Lin and Shumpert beat them. That's not a good look for a team trying to battle for playoff positioning in the West.


New Jersey Nets

The Nets stink. They're bad. The Bulls probably could've beat them by 60 had Derrick Rose not left the game early with back spasms. The game was over very early as Chicago led 35-14 after a quarter and seemed to be ready to increase that every quarter. The final score, 108-87, doesn't really illustrate what a blowout this was.

Posted on: February 5, 2012 2:00 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2012 2:03 pm
 

West thinks teams shouldn't trade stars

By Matt Moore

Jerry West is old school. And while there were certainly players who wanted out and negotiated their way out of their teams during his era, it wasn't the marketing/sponsorships/exposure/sta
r-power league it is today back when he played. West has been involved in the league for decades, was around for the Shaq transformation in L.A.. And in his mind, all this nonsense from players forcing their way out through trade demands should be stopped... by management. From ESPN.com: 
I honestly think I'd call their bluff," West said in an interview on 710 ESPN's Mason and Ireland show Thursday, not mentioning Howard specifically. "I really would, because I don't think any agent or player is going to leave $30 million on the table.

"I just don't believe that's going to happen."

"If I were an executive on a team where a player says he's going to leave, let him leave," West said on 710 ESPN's Max and Marcellus show earlier Thursday. "It would be better than saddling yourself with a bunch of players that are not going to fit in to what you're trying to do -- high-salaried players, in many cases overpaid players by today's standards, that would burden you going forward. "I'd almost rather start over again myself. You're not going to replace that player, but there's an enormous penalty there and it looks like to me like the inmates are running the asylum if you let that happen."
via Jerry West says teams shouldn't give in to players' trade demands - ESPN Los Angeles.

West is basically saying "Orlando, if you trade for a bunch of high-priced vets you're stabbing yourself in the face." And West's right. 

Orlando is reportedly looking for veterans back in a trade for Dwight Howard, in an effort to keep some semblance of a window of contention open. But the reality is that when Howard leaves, the franchise is starting over and having an expensive terrible team is much worse than a rebuilding terrible team because of the limited capacity for improvement. 

But more to the point, West's advocation of calling the bluff is salient. How are players ever going to be deterred from trade demands and scuttling seasons if there's no punitive reaction from teams? Forcing Howard to walk away from a significant amount of money may not stop players like Howard from their plans, but it'll make them think twice and at least give those smaller market teams some leverage. 

West is a former member of the most star-studded, bandwagon-hijacking franchise in history (though his relationship with the Lakers has been strained at times), and he's advocating for smaller market teams to stand up for themselves. Unfortunately, the era may have simply changed. After "The Decision" and the Melo trade last season, it's hard to see things reversing direction, for anyone. 

Posted on: February 3, 2012 5:26 pm
 

Friday 5 with KB: Power plays

By Matt Moore



In this week's edition of 
the Friday 5, KB talks the best power forward in the West, how good the Bulls are, and whether Griffin-over-Perkins was a dunk . You can follow Ken Berger on Twitter @KBergCBS


1. Who's the best power forward in the West?

If you consider Pau Gasol to be a power forward (and I do, despite the fact that he doesn't play with much power), it's hard to do better. But in terms of all-around game, LaMarcus Aldridge is about to pass him, if he hasn't already.

2. Are the Bulls better, worse, or the same as they were last year?

Better. Rip Hamilton gives them an experienced scorer for the playoffs and makes their bench more potent -- whether he starts or Ronnie Brewer does, either way. Omer Asik will be ready to contribute in a meaningful way in the playoffs and is becoming a bear to deal with on screens. Also, I love the way Derrick Rose has responded to falling short against Miami in the conference finals, with a quiet but edgy determination to go farther this time.

3. Brian Cardinal noted to me this week that teams that can go 9, 10 deep are having success. Do you think the need for depth in this crazy compacted schedule will carry over in the playoffs or are we just going to see the usual 8-man rotation we usually see?

I think it depends on the team, but for the most part, the extra days of rest, practice and game-planning will allow teams to go with a more orthodox rotation. For teams with quality bench players (Spurs, Mavs, Thunder, Bulls, Sixers), getting them additional floor time and experience during the regular season will make them more effective in the postseason.

4. What should the Pistons do to fix this mess?

Where to begin? As I alluded to in Postups, Joe Dumars could be in for some tough times. For starters, I'd see if a financially flexible contender would be willing to take Ben Gordon off my hands between now and the deadline. Then, I'd amnesty Charlie Villanueva next summer and go from there. Where I'd be going, I'm not sure, but I'd get moving in that direction -- whatever that direction is.

5. How does the Blake Griffin/Perkins dunk measure up on your all-time scale?

I don't really keep conscious track of such things. But I enjoyed the EOB roundtable on the best dunks ever, and I'll say this: 1) Like Dwight Howard's "Superman" stunt in the dunk contest, if you don't flush the ball and make the rim snap, it ain't a dunk. Impressive that Griffin is the only player in the league who can get so high above the rim that he's literally throwing the ball through the rim from on high, but still, it ain't a dunk; and 2) Whatever it was, it still wasn't better than Vince Carter over Frederic Weis.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com