It's been a torrid string of three games for Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard, who is starting to come into his own with his new squad. The newly acquired star will continue his recent hot streak with another strong outing against the Houston Rockets on Sunday evening.
In front of the Staples Center home crowd, Howard will thrive on both ends of the floor. During the aforementioned strong stretch, he is averaging 18 points, 15 rebounds and 3.3 blocks.
As stellar as underrated center Omer Asik has been for Houston, he hasn't faced Howard yet. Asik has been playing particularly well on offense in the past three contests, but that will come to an end in the Staples Center. D12 is going to overwhelm him on that end of the court with his typical dominant play that has garnered him three NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards.
The ability that Howard has to rotate exceptionally for his size and his gigantic frame will also bother the shots of more perimeter-oriented power forwards in the Rockets' rotation.
Marcus Morris and Patrick Patterson both have range to the three-point line and mid-range games, and with Pau Gasol's ability on the defensive end, Howard should continue to rack up plenty of rebounds and opportunities for blocks due to his superior strength.
There isn't much of a paint presence to speak of on the Rockets roster outside of Asik due to the styles of Morris and Patterson.
What that translates to is more spacing for Howard to operate in the post. Although Asik may be a solid defender, he won't be able to match up with Howard one on one, and only pesky help defenses by pocket-picking guards Jeremy Lin and James Harden will be able to save him.
Speaking of the Rockets' backcourt, it should be relatively easy for Lin to penetrate the lane since he'll be matched up with some combination of Darius Morris and Chris Duhon for the majority of the game. Obviously, that's Howard's territory, and that could definitely result in a few blocked shots or more.
As the only player who can even dream of guarding Howard on the Rockets' front line, it's easy to surmise Asik getting into early foul trouble and getting frustrated in such a pivotal game.
Howard is obviously not the greatest free throw shooter, but the number of freebees he will get will be pretty much limitless if Asik can't stay on the court—a distinct possibility.
Ironically, Houston is the team that reconfigured its roster to accommodate for Howard's potential acquisition.
Now GM Daryl Morey will get a look at how good the Lakers center is matching up with the young but talented roster he built.