Superman Returns from Phoenix with Career Night for Magic

aSenior Analyst IFebruary 18, 2009

This past weekend, Dwight Howard was a very busy man.

On Friday night, he coached the rookie-sophomore game. Saturday, he was competing in the dunk contest and pranking fellow All-Stars until 3:00 in the morning. On Sunday, he started for the East in the All-Star game and logged a team high 28 minutes.

Not to mention all of the parties that go on during the All-Star festivities and the charity work Howard did with his Orlando Magic teammates, Rashard Lewis and Jameer Nelson.

Most people would be exhausted after such a weekend.

Luckily for the Magic, Dwight Howard isn't most people.

"Dwight doesn't know the meaning of tired," says Orlando Magic commentator David Steele.

In Orlando's first game since the break, Howard proved just that. In Orlando's 107-102 overtime win over the Charlotte Bobcats, he recorded a career high 45 points while chipping in 19 rebounds and eight blocks.

That's right. 45 points, 19 rebounds, and eight blocks while shooting 70 percent from the field. That's impressive in NBA Live, nonetheless in an actual game.

In a remarkable game, the Magic trailed the Bobcats for much of the third and fourth quarter, and it took a J.J. Redick three-pointer to send the game into overtime. But once there, the Magic led for most of the way thanks to Howard's perfect free throw shooting and the big man's tenacious defense in the paint.

Howard came just two blocks shy of his second career triple-double. His first just three months ago against the Oklahoma City Thunder when he recorded 30 points, 19 rebounds, and 10 blocks in the Ford Center.

In the past, Howard has had impressive performances against the second overall pick in the 2004 draft, Emeka Okafor. Leading up to the draft, some analysts and fans said that Okafor would be the better pick for Orlando. The Magic, however, didn't listen and took a risk on the high schooler from Atlanta. Today, there is no debating which player is better overall and Dwight continued to silence his critics tonight.

Just two days after a game dedicated to the game's best players, Howard solidified his place among the league's best players.

Several aspects of his game, which have been criticized in the past, include his free throw shooting and post moves. But tonight, both flaws couldn't have been further from the truth. Howard finished 13-18 from the line including 4-4 during overtime. His 32 other points came mainly with his back to the basket, using an array of post moves over Okafor. He only had two dunks on the night, an impressive feat considering how dependant he used to be on the two-handed slam.

This performance shows us that the All-Star break was a fun break, but Dwight Howard isn't wasting any time getting back to business and knows it's his responsibility to lead his team in the second half of the season with Jameer Nelson out indefinitely.

For Howard and the Orlando Magic, there's no time to rest. Luckily, Superman needs no rest.


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