Dwight Howard finally has the renaissance we’ve been hearing about for a long time now. Every summer, it was the best shape of his life, he finally accepted he wouldn’t be the next Olajuwon, and he will cut down on the shenanigans. He’s been ridiculed for so long, a lot of people forget that at one time in the NBA, Dwight was projected to be LeBron’s most significant rival as long as they play in the East.
So when they finally teamed up, LeBron knew that if Dwight accepts his role on the team, the Lakers have that overqualified bench player a championship team needs. Solid 20 minutes from Dwight off the bench can mean a lot in the playoffs. Last night, Dwight went 10/10 from the field, so LeBron was asked how surprised he was with Howard’s performance:
Even if LeBron wasn’t a basketball savant who remembers almost every play in his NBA career when someone outplays you in the conference finals, you tend to remember that. Sounds weird saying it, right? Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic eliminated LeBron James’ Cavs. LeBron was a monster in that series, averaged 38.5/8.3/8, playing 44 minutes a game.
But, in Game 6, Orlando being up 3-2 in the series, Dwight showed up big time. He had a 40/14/4 in 41 minutes on the court. Mind you; his main strength was his defensive presence. The only reason he only had one block in this game is he was such intimidating players didn’t drive to the basket.
The question still remains will Dwight manage to keep his attitude and mind in the place he is right now until May and June. If that happens, the Lakers will have a wildcard to throw out and hope that in one or two games, they get a blast from the past, 10-15 minutes of 2009 Dwight Howard. Trust me; it was a sight to behold.