Nov 5, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks center Dwight Howard (8) grabs the ball from Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) in the first quarter at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
The Houston Rockets welcome back Dwight Howard to the Toyota Center
Dwight Howard’s tenure with the Houston Rockets was a mixed bag, to the say the very least. It seemed like with every success, there were huge steps backwards. I mean how else would you explain a Western Conference finals appearance, then the very next season a first round exit in the playoffs. Houston became James Harden’s team, but Howard was still under the impression he was the star. A change needed to happen, so Dwight decided to return home to his Atlanta Hawks.
While Howard is looking for retribution here in the H, Harden is looking for revenge. The Hawks were able to defend their home court and beat the Rockets in their last match up. But, the roller coaster ride of the regular season takes on different characteristics as it progresses. The early success for the Hawks has now transitioned into mid season stumbles. They have slipped into fifth place in the East and have gone 6-4 in their last ten games.
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The Rockets are not without their own struggles as of late. In the last ten games they have gone 5-5 and at times, lack any defensive presence in the paint. This is the exact reason the Hawks got the victory in Atlanta previously. Howard and co. scored 62 points in the paint in their first match up. To get the win tonight Nene, Capela, and Harrell will have to control the paint and be ready to fight for boards.
All was not always bad for Dwight here in Houston though. The impact of his charitable contributions is still felt and Capela still holds him in high regard. In fact, the Rockets plan to play a tribute video and honor Howard’s time here. What remains to be seen is how exactly Red Nation will react to him being back. I’m assuming, much like his time spent here, it will be a mixture of emotions.
Tip off is at 7pm and can be seen on RTSW and TNT. And on a more overall basketball note, I’m curious to see if the TNT crew will discuss LeBron and Barkley’s recent beef. If they do, Chuck is not one to mince words at all. Should be interesting.