Dwight Howard has been amazing so far this season. Last night, we saw another stellar performance from him as he hit all of his 10 shots from the field to put up a 20-point, six-rebound, two-block performance coming off the bench in 26 minutes in a 105-102 loss to the Indiana Pacers.
While many have been impressed with the stats that Howard has this year, the same doesn’t go for teammate LeBron James who has seen him post monster stat lines before as the Orlando Magic took the Cleveland Cavaliers out of their path to the NBA Finals and kept him from facing Kobe Bryant. During a postgame interview last night, he said:
“No, I’ve seen Dwight be special before when he averaged 35 (points), 17 (rebounds), and 5 blocks in the Eastern Conference Finals against my Cavs. So him going 10-for-10 is nothing (compared) to what I’ve seen before, knocking me out of a chance to play Kobe in The Finals.”
While James’s perception of Howard is a little inflated (he only averaged 25.8 points, 13.0 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in that series), Howard was one of the best players in the league a few years back, shooting 63.2% throughout the course of that six-game series.
Howard did end up losing to Bryant’s Lakers that year and has yet to win a championship ring. He might just get that wish fulfilled this year, as he and his Lakers are tied for the best record in the league at 24-4, despite Tuesday’s loss to the Pacers.
Howard won’t have many opportunities to dial back the clock with vintage performances of this kind, however, he is a valuable asset to his team. This season, he is averaging 7.0 points and 7.0 rebounds while shooting a career-high 74.8% from the floor and a career-low from the foul line at 48.6%. If all goes well, he and the Lakers should get their first championship win in ten years.