On the night when the first All-Star ballot returns revealed Dwight Howard had garnered the league’s most votes to date, he showed exactly why he deserved every one of those 754,737 votes and more.
The Golden State Warriors are late entrants in the race for Howard and they received first hand experience of his brilliance in the Orlando Magic’s 117-109 win.
Howard absolutely beasted and bullied the Warriors.
45 points, 23 rebounds, 4 steals, 3 assists, 2 blocks and a NBA record setting 39 free throw attempts of which he made 21.
While the free throw attempts did break Wilt Chamberlain’s nearly 50 year old record, it came with a small caveat. The Warriors intentionally fouled Howard most of the game which seemed like a good strategy until Howard connected on 9 straight free throws during one stretch in the second half.
Warrior’s coach, Mark Jackson is learning on the job and he felt like his short handed front court would be better served putting Howard on the line incessantly rather than attempting to play him straight up on defense.
The Magic came out of the gates flat but recovered from an early first half 10 point deficit to trail by 4 heading into half time. The second half of the game was an entertaining contest as the Warriors continued to show their never say die spirit at home lead by Monta Ellis and his 30 point and 11 assist effort.
Orlando was able to pull away in the closing 2 minutes thanks to Howard and solid play from Von Wafer, J.J. Redick, and another balanced attack from Hedo Turkgolu (20 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists).
Unfortunately Jason Richardson exited the contest with 8:46 remaining in the third quarter with a sprained left knee and had to watch Howard’s historic evening from the locker room. He is being listed as day to day for now. If Richardson misses time Wafer will see an increased role and he seems primed and ready to contribute.
With the win the Magic improve to 8-3 and 3-0 on the brief West Coast road trip.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com