Jan 7, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) grabs a rebound against Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0) and forward Tristan Thompson (13) during the second quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports
The Turning Point:
I’ve lamented the fact Dwight Howard wasn’t getting enough touches since his return and has looked too complacent at times. I’ve wondered whether the team hasn’t made getting him the ball a priority or if it’s been Howard himself that has limited his progress just by not being engaged. Recently McHale reassigned Josh Smith to the bench and incorporated having one of Howard or Harden on the floor with the reserves presumably to always have a priority option of one of the stars in place.
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Still Howard has been hit and miss in his performances leaving us to wonder when he would break through with a truly stand out performance. Well last night he erased all of these concerns in the second half. It literally seemed like he pushed a button to change gears and in doing so took over the entire game.
He had accumulated ten offensive rebounds half way through the fourth quarter and by night’s end had 19 rebounds as well as 17 points, 2 assists and a block. As usual he wasn’t very strong from the free throw line, but his aggressiveness in the paint allowed him to get to the line 11 times where he was able to make 5. Moving forward we’ll hope this was the start of Howard stringing together several of these efforts in a row.
Next: The Irving Stopper