Throughout his seven-year career, Dwight Howard has been an unstoppable force, as long as you don’t count free throws. In those seven years, he’s put up 17.8 points , 12.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game, and that’s including a rookie year that was nothing special. Plus, there’s the Defensive Player of the Year trophies, the All-Star Games, the All-NBA teams and the dunk contest championship. It’s been total league domination.
Except against the Celtics.
Against the green and white, Dwight’s numbers are down across the board. Points, rebounds, free throw shooting percentage, assists, blocks — everything is down. that’s been the case the past few years, and now the Celtics seem to be pretty happy to talk about how easily they defend Orlando’s big man.
First, here’s Kevin Garnett talking about how simple Dwight’s game is, courtesy of the Boston Globe:
The [Christmas day] loss left [the Celtics] equal parts bitter and petty, and afterward, the Celtics started picking apart Dwight Howard’s game.
“Spin lob,’’ he said. “Or jump hook.’’
Garnett called it predictable.
Burn. Also, true. Also, obviously. But mostly burn.
Oh, and there’s more. This time from Glen Davis, that little bitty chubby guy, once again from the Boston Globe.
“Just make him a finesse player,’’ Davis said. “He’s a great player, you know, but he’s not the hardest to guard. I think it’s easy to guard him.’’
Yikesers. When Glen Davis is calling you out for being easy to guard, that’s also an additional burn. Not that Glen Davis isn’t a fine defender, but he’s also not Hakeem Olajuwon shutting guys down left and right. Plus, as you might be able to tell, he’s not quite the physical specimen that Dwight Howard is.
But, on the other hand, Dwight did go for 33 points on 19 shots, grab 13 rebounds and make 13 of his 18 free throws last night. Seems like that predictable, finesse game is working just fine.