It so often seems that Dwight Howard gets called for fouls on nearly every single opposing offense's possession, simply because he is a dominant behemoth force with which to be reckoned.
Strategically, this worked for the Warriors, who were well aware that Howard struggles at the line. Of the record-setting 39 attempts Howard took at the line, he sunk only 21. His presence was more than felt elsewhere, as he scored 45 points and grabbed a remarkable 23 rebounds in the Magic's 117-109 win over the Warriors.
Monta Ellis, the inconsistent, scrappy Warrior, led the scoring for Golden State, racking up 30 points. Howard set the record for most free throws attempted in an NBA game and almost tied Wilt Chamberlain's record of 22 missed free throws, as he did not connect on 18 of his attempts.
He also became the only active player to have a 40-plus point game combined with 20 or more rebounds.
There is no question that Howard is a top-five player in the league with perhaps only LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and, on good days, Derrick Rose outshining his monstrous abilities. But as the season continues and Howard's discontent with Orlando grows, his efforts may diminish. The team itself will finish in the top six in the East, but it remains to be seen whether or not they can be legitimate playoff contenders.
It is a mistake to label the Chicago Bulls as a one-horse chariot with Rose at the helm. However, this metaphor is more than apt for the Magic, who rely totally and completely upon the strength of Howard.
Seeing as he is currently averaging 18 points and 14.4 rebounds per game, who could really blame them?
So long as Howard can be appeased for a little while longer, the Orlando Magic franchise can remain sound and viable—that is, until they face that other Floridian team.
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