Melo: Dwight Howard tried ‘extremely hard’ to recruit me

Before Carmelo Anthony decided to remain with the New York Knicks, Dwight Howard had him thinking about donning a Houston Rockets uniform. Anthony met with the Rockets in July. On Tuesday, Carmelo told reporters that Howard was a big part of the recruiting pitch when he visited Houston. “We had some great dialogue back and…Read More

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How Critical Is Dwight Howard to Houston Rockets?

The Houston Rockets have announced that Dwight Howard is out indefinitely after undergoing “platelet-rich plasma therapy to treat his strained right knee,” per Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com.

How much does his loss hurt the team?

In large part, that depends on how much time Howard misses. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports tweeted just hours before the announcement that Howard might play against the New York Knicks:

While Wojnarowski’s suggestion didn’t come to pass, it certainly makes it seem that Howard may not be out for a long time, making short-term survival the  apparent need.

A look at its immediate schedule indicates it could survive temporarily without him.

It already beat the Dallas Mavericks on Nov. 22 and the New York Knicks on Nov. 24.

This allows the superstar center some time to recuperate from his procedure. The Rockets have just three more games between now and Dec. 10. Only two of those—the Los Angeles Clippers on Nov. 28 and the Memphis Grizzlies on Dec. 3—are against teams who made the playoffs last season. Both of those are at home.

Even if they win just half of those games, it would mean a 5-3 record without hima result Houston would gladly take.

After that, though, the schedule gets denser and more difficult. The Rockets will play 11 games in three weeks, with six of those games being against 2014 postseason teams. If they are still sans Howard, that’s when things will get difficult.

 

Other Injuries

There are reasons that there is a shelf life on that survival, though.

Most pressing is the fact that Howard isn’t the only injury the Rockets are facing. Starting power forward, Terrence Jones has been out for most of the season, having played just four games.

He is suffering from a peroneal nerve contusion, which means he has a bruised nerve in his knee which cuts off feeling to his lower leg, and there is no timetable on his return.

He recently told Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle he’s improving, though:

It was scary, very scary for me not to have any movement in my leg at first and not being able to move it as a basketball player is going to scare anybody. Now I’m able to move it a little bit. It’s getting better.

I couldn’t move it at all and had no feeling. From the swelling of the nerve, I didn’t have too much feeling at all in my leg. Now, I can move my toes again. It’s getting better.

In addition to Jones and Howard, Second Team All-Defensive point guard Patrick Beverley missed the New York game. It was the third time this season he’s missed time with that injury and he may need more prolonged rest to recover.

Dealing with a Howard injury by itself is certainly a big enough issue, but compounding it with other injuries doesn’t help. The longer the Rockets are dealing with multiple absences from their starting five, the harder it will be to survive.

 

The Real Concern Is Offense

The Rockets defense is the peg upon which it hangs its hat now, and there’s some good news and bad news which comes with that.

The good news is that it means Houston can stay in a lot of games and win when those it really shouldn’t. Look no further than the aforementioned Dallas game.

The bad news is that Howard also happens to be its best defensive player, so continuing to dominate opponents without his presence is going to present a challenge.

The Rockets have been terrific on defense when Howard is playing. When he’s on the court, the Rockets yield a miserly 90.0 points per 100 possessions. Certainly he is an asset there, but even without him, they give up just 99.0.

The latter number would amount to the sixth-best defense in the league. Losing Howard a hit, but one which can certainly be absorbed.

Having a relatively light schedule will help to maintain that. Houston will be able to keep its battery charged and have the crowd behind it for its toughest games. Good defense keeps you in games, and if you’re in a game, you can win it.

The other concern for Houston has to do with its offense: Arguably the biggest weakness the Rockets have is reliable scorers, and Howard is the second-best it has.

The impact of his loss in that regard is the disparity between scoring 103.7 points per 100 possessions when he’s on the court and only 97.3 when he’s not. That’s the difference between the 16th-best offense and the third-worst.

So, in terms of points, Howard might matter more defensively, but the Rockets are still borderline elite without him.

The loss on offense drops them from average to horrible. Only the disastrous Philadelphia 76ers and the Kevin Durant-and-Russell Westbrook-less Oklahoma City Thunder are worse.

His impact isn’t just statistical either. It’s essential to their scheme. Houston needs to score in the restricted area, and he’s the team’s best low-post scorer. With Howard on the court, it averages 78 field goals per 48 minutes inside the restricted area and shoots 60.8 percent.

When he sits, the Rockets take just 63.4 field goals per 48 minutes and shoot a mere 53.4 percent.

When they get shut out of the lane, the Rockets amp up their three-point chucking even more than normal. Their attempts leap from 29.8 per 48 minutes with Howard to 38.8 without him. But the nine extra attempts only result in 2.5 more makes—13.4 instead of 10.9.

In the Dallas and New York games combined, the Rockets fired an amazing 82 threes, making 29 of them.

The entire offense consists of either giving James Harden the ball and getting out of the way or passing the ball around the perimeter until someone fires from deep. It has all the imagination of “Houston, we have a problem” jokes.

The longer the Rockets are without Howard, the more teams will be able to plan for their lack of offensive versatility, the harder it will be for Houston to score and the more stress it will put on their already strained defense.

Those strained cables will start to snap on Dec. 10 when the Rockets travel to Golden State to face the Warriors.

If Howard is back by then, they’ll be competitive. If he stays out much longer than that, Houston fans will be willing to trade in their Christmas presents to see him return.

 

Unless otherwise noted, statistics courtesy of NBA.com/Stats.

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Kobe Bryant dishes on trash talk with Dwight Howard

To say that Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard had an acrimonious relationship when the two were Los Angeles Lakers teammates wouldn’t do justice to the rumored schism between the NBA stars. The perceived animosity that pervaded their tenure together seemed to have carried over once Howard left the team and then came to a head…Read More
The post Kobe Bryant, unlike Kevin Durant, doesn’t think Dwight Howard is a ‘p—y’ appeared first on Sportress of Blogitude.

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Kobe Bryant, unlike Kevin Durant, doesn’t think Dwight Howard is a ‘p—y’

To say that Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard had an acrimonious relationship when the two were Los Angeles Lakers teammates wouldn’t do justice to the rumored schism between the NBA stars. The perceived animosity that pervaded their tenure together seemed to have carried over once Howard left the team and then came to a head…Read More
The post Kobe Bryant, unlike Kevin Durant, doesn’t think Dwight Howard is a ‘p—y’ appeared first on Sportress of Blogitude.

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Dwight Howard Injury: Updates on Rockets Star’s Knee and Return

Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard will not play in Wednesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers due to a strain in his right knee:

Jonathan Feigen of the the Houston Chronicle had the news:

Houston’s Twitter account provided tonight’s starting lineup without Howard:

Howard has been a rare breed among centers in the NBA. He’s a true post player who can dominate down low by scoring and rebounding. He’s also been an excellent shot-blocker throughout his career, averaging 2.2 rejections per game over his first 10 seasons. 

He’s had some nagging injuries but has appeared in at least 71 games in nine of his 10 seasons (the exception being the lockout-shortened 2011-12 campaign, in which he played 54 of 66 games). Despite all of that success, it’s hard for fans and analysts to resist taking shots at him. 

The 28-year-old Howard has been the target of heavy criticism dating back to his final season in Orlando, but there’s no denying how valuable Howard is as a player. Last year, for instance, he finished third in points, rebounds and field-goal percentage, tied for third in double-doubles and fourth in blocks per game among centers.  

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports profiled Howard before the preseason started. Injuries and toughness were part of the article, with the big man noting that he didn’t regret playing through a torn labrum with the Lakers two years ago:

The good thing about it, I didn’t develop any other major injuries. The torn labrum eventually healed itself. But coming back early from the back, I believed it helped me out in the long run. It made me really develop a thicker skin, going through all the things that I went through because of the injury.

I was always taught never to show pain, never to show weakness, never to show fear. Always put a smile on your face. But I’m glad it did happen. It made me a better person. The world coming down on you, saying you weren’t playing as hard as you could.

Howard and the Rockets had a successful first season together. He averaged 18.3 points and 12.2 rebounds per game en route to a 54-28 record before losing to Portland in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs. 

While all those regular-season numbers and accolades are great, Howard is ultimately going to be judged by what happens in the playoffs. His health is a critical factor for the Rockets to make a run in a loaded Western Conference.

James Harden is the focal point of Houston’s offense, but Howard is the straw that stirs the drink because of his ability to play defense and get those tough points in the paint. His absence for any length of time is enough to cause major panic in Houston. 

 

If you want to talk sports, hit me up on Twitter. 


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Dwight Howard faces child-abuse allegations

Cobb County police looked into the alleged abuse of a 7-year-old in October but found nothing.

      
 

 

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Dwight Howard investigated for child abuse

Cobb County police looked into the alleged abuse of a 7-year-old in October but found nothing.

      
 

 

View full post on USATODAY – NBA Top Stories

WATCH: Gary Payton calls out Dwight Howard, calls him ‘fake’

Post by FOX Sports 1. Dwight Howard can’t help but catch the ire of NBA players and personalities. Earlier this year, people didn’t blink much when he and Kobe Bryant got into a spat because no one expected that meeting to go particularly well. But then Kevin Durant got into the act of calling out
Article found on: Next Impulse Sports

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Report: Kevin Durant repeatedly called Dwight Howard a ‘p—y’

The Houston Rockets’ 69-65 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday was obviously an ugly affair, as the final score abundantly illustrates. Given that both teams were apparently incapable of putting the ball in the hoop, for whatever reason, it nonetheless wasn’t the prettiest display of basketball. But the ugliness, according to one account,…Read More
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Dwight Powell, James Young back with Celtics after huge D-League performances (expect this trip often)

The pair of Celtics rookies scored 21 points apiece in their D-League debuts for the Maine Red Claws on Sunday night.  Powell pulled down 17 rebounds as well.  Here’s a bit of analysis from Mass Live’s Jay King:[Powell] dashed to the paint for a variety of finishes, including one lefty hook, threaded one perfect bounce pass to Young on a backdoor cut, and generally looked a lot quicker and more fluid than anyone defending him. Most of Powell’s offense came inside; the Celtics will likely want him to expand his game. The rest of his skill set screams “STRETCH 4!!!” but to develop into that he needs to be willing and able to shoot the basketball. It probably sounds weird, but the one play that excited me most was Young sprinting back on defense. He didn’t even impact the play in discussion, but his long steps covered ground quickly enough to forget, briefly, that he hasn’t yet learned the best practices to capitalize on his many intriguing skills. Despite misfiring on plenty of opport…

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