Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
The Houston Rockets All-Star center Dwight Howard turned 28 on Sunday, and not only played his former franchise the Orlando Magic, but had an amazing game.
Dwight finished with 20 points, 22 boards, 2 steals and 3 blocks. He shot 6-12 from the field, and 8-14 from the free throw line, as the Rockets beat the Magic, and notch their 15th win of the season.
I’m pretty sure Dwight knew this game would fall on his birthday, and I’m also pretty sure the NBA knew it would as well. Orlando made Howard the top pick of the 2004 NBA draft. He played for the Magic from 2005-2012, once led the team to the finals and remains Orlando’s all-time leading scorer.
So far this season Howard is averaging 17.3 points and 12.9 rebounds in 34.0 minutes per game. His current mark of 34.0 minutes per game is his lowest since his rookie season in 2004-05, and head coach Kevin McHale has done a fantastic job of rotating him in and out. Howard is a 56.1-percent foul shooter in 2013/14, a possession which ends with him taking two foul shots is worth, on average, 1.12 points.
With Howard and James Harden, the Rockets own one of the NBA’s most potent offenses: through Saturday’s games, only the Portland Trail Blazers average more points per 100 possessions than Houston, which tallies 108.3, according to NBA.com/stats. The 15-7 record for the Rockets is the best record in the first 22 games since the 1996-97′ season.
So Happy Birthday Dwight Howard, and hopefully you made championship wishes when you blew out those birthday cake candles.