Dwight Howard: Could He Be Bored Of Grabbing Boards For The Orlando Magic?
It's no surprise that Dwight Howard is a rebounding machine. His lengthy 6-foot, 11-inch frame and athletic talents give him an obvious advantage when climbing the ladder and trying to grab rebounds over his competition.
This season alone, Dwight has already hauled in a hefty 478 rebounds, which is only second in the NBA to Kevin Love, who leads the league with an out of this world 616 total rebounds.
However, what is surprising is that on nights when Howard has had some of his most impressive rebounding performances, the Orlando Magic have failed to haul in the victory.
In San Antonio on Nov. 22, Howard had the most outstanding individual performance on the floor as he led both the Magic and the Spurs in both scoring and rebounding by dropping 26 points and snatching 18 rebounds. The Magic fell to the Spurs on this occasion by a final score of 106-97.
Almost a month later, on Dec. 18 the Magic fell 97-89 to the Philadelphia 76ers in the City of Brotherly Love.
Again, Howard led both teams in scoring and rebounding as he scored a game high 26 points and picked up 20 rebounds, yet his efforts could not stop the Magic from losing on this night, either.
The very next game, two days removed from Orlando's loss in Philly, Howard put up another stellar performance by keeping the boards cleaner than any of the other players on the floor, racking up 20 rebounds in Atlanta against the Hawks.
Howard again led his team in scoring, as he was responsible for 19 points against the Hawks, but again the Magic fell to their Southeastern Division rivals 91-81.
Then, the following evening in Orlando, Howard, for the third game in a row, led both his team and the opposition in rebounding by snatching a season-high 23 boards and added a game-high 26 points in an effort help ameliorate his club's recent misfortunes and achieve their 17th victory of the season.
However, the Magic fell short to the Dallas Mavericks, only this time at home in Orlando.
On Wednesday of this week, Howard again had a 20-rebound performance en route to scoring a game-leading 29 points. In the closing moments of the game, Howard then missed two free throw attempts, which would have given the Magic a one point advantage with 11 seconds to play.
Instead, his failure to connect on those either of those two attempts allowed Marcus Thornton, Chris Paul, and the rest of a thriving Hornets crew to barely edge out the Magic 89-92 on their home court.
Then on Thursday, Howard matched his season high in points (39) and pulled in his seventh consecutive double-double by hauling in 18 rebounds, putting up arguably his most impressive individual performance of the season against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Still, his team could not find a way to win as they fell to the Thunder by a final score of 125-124.
Looking more closely at each of these losses, the common thread in each of these performances is that Dwight has been responsible for 18 or more rebounds and still his club failed to find a way to win.
In each of these contests, Howard has been responsible for more than just outstanding numbers in rebounding and scoring, but he has also responsible for keeping the Orlando competitive as he has not let his club drop one of these contests by more than 10 points.
More surprisingly is the fact that the Magic have only won two games this season when Dwight Howard has accounted for 18 or more rebounds, and those victories have come against the Eastern Conference leading Miami Heat and the revamped New York Knicks.
Personally, I think that Orlando's issues in San Antonio were an early indicator that something was not right within the Magic organization, which prompted their dealings for Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu, and Gilbert Arenas in December.
Then their consecutive losses to Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Dallas coincidentally came at the time of their two "Dwight-sized" trades in December.
Howard's huge performances were the only chance the Magic had to win or even stay in the game while their new roster got acquainted and attempted to develop chemistry without any time off.
The Magic's last two losses have both been one-possession games.
Perhaps, Howard is to blame for their loss in New Orleans because he couldn't put sink his final two free throw attempts to give his club the lead in the final seconds of the game, but that would be unfair especially considering Jameer Nelson, Brandon Bass, and J.J. Redick all shot poorly from the field and only managed 13 points between the three of them after consuming a great deal playing time.
In Oklahoma City, Howard was responsible for keeping his team in the game, but two amazing performances on the opposing end by Russell Westbrook, who recorded his seventh career triple-double, and Kevin Durant who recorded a 36-point effort allowed the Thunder to narrowly escape the Magic at home.
Howard's efforts have been super, to say the least, but what else would you expect from a guy they call Superman and who averages 21.9 points and 13.4 rebounds per game.
If I were Howard, I may be getting tired of putting up outstanding numbers in both rebounding and scoring, only to be on the losing end more than not.
On Friday, ESPN published an interview between Dwight Howard and Marc Stein in which Howard reiterated how important winning a championship was to him.
More specifically, No. 12 said, "The only thing that's going to keep me happy is winning...winning a championship. I always have to do what's best for me at the end of the day."
Although he loves Orlando and believes they have all of the pieces it will take to win a championship this year, his responses in the interview may indicate that he may be bored of grabbing boards in Orlando, especially if his efforts are rewarding him and his team with victories.
If Orlando is unable to provide Howard with some hardware at the end of this season or the next, especially in the form of Championship ring, he may be looking to take his services elsewhere.
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