Don’t call it a comeback: Dwight Howard’s recent success

Dec 31, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) reacts after a foul is called against the Golden State Warriors in the second half at Toyota Center. The Warriors won 114 to 110. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 31, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) reacts after a foul is called against the Golden State Warriors in the second half at Toyota Center. The Warriors won 114 to 110. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports /

Since the early 1980s, MLK day has became a national holiday, to celebrate the life and legacy of  civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. For an association that has seen their share of race related controversies over the years, the NBA has became a showcase to honor King’s legacy.

The sports world is still buzzing after what took placed this season on MLK day. From Kemba Walker setting a new franchise scoring record with 52 points in the overtime victory against the Utah Jazz, to the Golden State Warriors handing LeBron James his second worst lost of his career, in a 132-98 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. (The 109-74 lost to the Detroit Pistons in 2007).

Without a doubt, the league’s most competitive game of the night went to the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers. Although the Rockets overcame a 16 point deficit in the fourth quarter to force overtime, the game was overshadowed by J.J. Redick‘s career high of 40 points to carry Los Angeles to a 140-132 win over Houston.

While everyone is talking about Walker, James, and Redick, only a few people are talking about Dwight Howard‘s monster game against the Clippers, and his success over the past few weeks.

During Monday night’s loss, Howard posted a season high 36 points and tied a career high of 26 rebounds. It was also Howard’s 10th straight double-double. His longest streak since the 2013-14 season.

In addition to another double-double, Howard became the first player since Chris Webber in 2001, and Rocket since Hakeem Olajuwon in 1990 to post a 20-25 game over the past 30 years. Howard also continued his statement as the NBA’s all-time leader for the most 20 points and 20 rebound games during his career.

Dwight Howard has the most games (45) with at least 20 Pts and at least 20 Reb in the past 30 seasons.

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 19, 2016

Dwight Howard has reestablished himself as a dominant force in the league, and over the past month has played his best basketball since leaving the Orlando Magic in 2012.

Just take a look at his recent numbers. Since his breakout 30 points and 16 rebounds against the Atlanta Hawks, there has not been one big man in the league who has been better. (Maybe Anthony Davis)

Over the past 10 games, Howard has posted a ridiculous 19.6 points, 14.6 rebounds, 1.6 blocks while shooting 63.3 percent from the field. Although he is shooting 55 percent from the foul line this season, in his 10 game stretch Howard has shot a respectable 63.6 percent from the free throw line. Not even the Hack-a Howard strategy is enough to slow down the eight-time all-star.

Offensively, his post moves have become more efficient, while reclaiming his role as the Rockets’ defensive anchor. When Howard is playing this well and shooting a higher percentage from the charity stripe, the Houston Rockets are a tough team to stop. Yeah, his running mate James Harden may get all the glory when this team is winning, but the Rockets will only go as far as Superman takes them.

.@DwightHoward has 13pts & 15reb at the half, his 10th straight double-double. #NBAVote

— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) January 19, 2016

Although he has been the Rockets most valuable player in recent weeks, people still find the need to shed light on last month rumors about Howard’s unhappiness and wanting out of Houston. Regardless if Howard’s rumors were true or not, the truth is, no one was happy with the Rockets a month ago. Especially after the team fell two games under .500.

However, since JB Bickerstaff has given Howard a bigger role in Houston’s offense, the Rockets have won six of their last eight games. Despite their slow start to the season, Howard has made Houston a legit contender in the Western Conference once again.

Regardless of his horrendous start to the season if the team continues to win, do not be surprised if Howard’s name becomes a late addition to the MVP race in the second half of the season.

Hopefully Howard will continue his dominating play, and regains his respect as one of the league’s most feared big men around the league. Since Howard has returned to Superman status, I would like to see what Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn think of Howard’s decline now.

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