It was all positives for Dwight Howard as he stepped on the floor for the first time as a Houston Rocket in Saturday night’s pre-season opening loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. While the big man finished with 19 points and 9 rebounds in 27 minutes, it was his impact aside from the scoring and rebounding that really stuck out. Here are highlights of Howard’s night:
Two big plays in the early going that Howard made will really be huge for the Rockets once the season gets under way: early in the first quarter, the Pelicans ran a pick-and-roll with the combination of Jrue Holiday and Greg Steimsma, with Howard defending. Holiday decided to pull up for a little floater in the middle of the lane, only to have it swatted back by Howard.
The Rockets also made a commitment of feeding the ball to Howard in the low post in the first quarter, and it opened up plenty of lanes for everyone else. The Pelicans sent a double team every time he touched the ball on the block, and the second time that Howard got the ball in the first quarter, he found a wide open Chandler Parsons cutting through the lane.
Here’s Dwight speaking after the game: