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Tag:Dwight Howard
Posted on: December 26, 2011 1:36 am
Edited on: December 26, 2011 11:49 am
 

Nightly Grades 12.25: Heat ace first test

Posted by Royce Young


A: Miami Heat

Holy Ghost of Christmas Fast Break. It was a total show by the Heat, who basically pummeled the Mavericks in every way possible. Maybe it was motivation, maybe it was a revenge factor or maybe it was just the fact the Heat are the best team in the league, but Miami bulldozed their way over the champs and did it in style. LeBron James showcased his revamped post game, rookie Norris Cole showed exciting flashes, Dwyane Wade was excellent the Heat suffocated the Mavs. If you want a signature opening win, the Heat made an early statement.

B: The NBA

Cliche, boring high mark for the league? You know it. But it's deserving. And not just because there was real basketball to be played after a longer-than-normal offseason. The league gets a good grade because its product looked excellent. For all the talk about shortened training camps and fewer practices, the NBA had two fantastic finishes in New York and Los Angeles, the Heat looked amazing, the Thunder played a quality game and the Clippers and Warriors both were good in the capper. There weren't many moments where the game turned to a total slopfest. The only guy looking that rusty was ref Bill Kennedy, who evidently needs a few more practices.

C: Lob City

It wasn't showtime or Lob City at all. It was just solid winning basketball. Bor-ing. It's really not fair to give the Clippers an average grade when they went on the road and won by 19 in a tough environment. But for about 40 minutes of the game, Lob City looked a bit mediocre with Chauncey Billups shooting them both in, and out, of the game at times. You saw what makes the Clips so darn good (Chris Paul coming in and completely closing out the Warriors -- he gets an A) and what makes them vulnerable (lack of depth, iffy shot selection and a conflict of roles -- also known as Chauncey Billups, who gets a D). The Clippers are probably more deserving of a B, but I don't think many came away feeling overly impressed by them Sunday.

D: Dwight Howard

His final line stunk: 11 points on 4-12 shooting, four fouls and just two blocks. He didn't change the game at all and Kendrick Perkins completely handled Howard. Now I haven't watched Howard up close all that much, but I would say he looked a bit uninterested for stretches in this game. For a player as dominant as him, there's no reason for him to be such a non-factor. Perkins is a really good defender, but Howard didn't affect the game defensively at all.

F: Dallas Mavericks

That first game as champs isn't always that easy. There's still a hangover from the champagne that was popped back in June and the banner raising only causes a little relapse. The Mavs had an entirely complacent look to them and it didn't help that they ran into a total buzzsaw in Miami. Still, you'd expect a little more effort in your first crack at defending your title.
Posted on: December 25, 2011 11:48 pm
Edited on: December 26, 2011 12:42 am
 

Theory and Proof: Perk handles Dwight Howard

Posted by Royce Young



OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Thunder topped the Magic 97-89 behind 30 points from Kevin Durant. But that wasn't the story. It was the way the Thunder handled Orlando on both ends, specifically Dwight Howard.

THE THEORY: The new Kendrick Perkins makes Oklahoma City a title contender

THE PROOF: Dwight Howard: 4-12 from the field, 11 points

Perkins shed 32 pounds in the offseason and re-discovered a bit of his old athleticism and agility. But the question for Oklahoma City was if the new Perkins was going to make that much of a difference. Would a quicker, lighter, more agile Perk mean the Thunder could dominate the paint.

OKC's opener against Orlando came down to an essential, simple matchup: Perkins got the better of Dwight Howard. Howard was just 4-12 for 11 points, but here's the kicker: Howard shot just eight free throws.

That's one major improvement from Perkins because of his new body: He doesn't foul. He can move his feet much better and doesn't have to use his hands to keep someone in front of him. It's a big reason Howard only took eight free throws. Perk was quick enough to stop Howard off the dribble.

When Howard can’t roll inside, it completely limits the Magic’s inside-out game, which is what they’re basically designed to do. Orlando started the game 8-9 but went through a 5-30 stretch after that and shot just 37 percent for the game.

“I thought Perk was really good staying between Dwight and the basket,” Scott Brooks said. “That’s what you want to do.”

Perkins basically played Howard by always keep a body pressed against him, staying home and giving him a 12-foot jumper if he wanted it. Howard tried it three times, hitting one. After that, Howard never went near the paint without Perkins' barrel chest right up against him. That’s how he's going to play everyone and that’s why he can change the Thunder defensively almost all on his own.

At one point after Perkins was a little hot after getting tangled with Howard. Ref Bill Kennedy told Perk to chill and then even went over and told Brooks to calm Perkins down. Brooks didn’t look at all interested in that.

“We like him a little angry,” Brooks said. “We like him mad at his opponent.”

Perkins did pick up his first technical of the season though by scuffling with Howard later. That’s No. 1 for Perk, and because of the shortened season, he’s got 12 more until he faces a suspension.

“He told me he’d slow it down when he got to nine,” Brooks said. “I’m trying to talk him into six.”

While Perkins has a new body, he's still got the same old attitude. He's rough, mean and wants to play nasty. With that kind of interior defense, the Lakers won't be able to overpower OKC with Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. Nene won't give the Thunder big fits. Memphis's duo of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol shouldn't take down the Thunder inside.

By process of elimination, if that's what the new Perkins is going to do for the Thunder defense, that's championship caliber stuff.

Posted on: December 22, 2011 2:41 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2011 3:40 pm
 

Lopez' injury puts Dwight deal in more jeopardy


By Matt Moore

The New Jersey Nets announced Thursday that center Brook Lopez has a broken foot and will undergo surgery. His listed recovery time is 4-6 weeks, but the injury is also similar to the one that sidelined Mavs' guard Roddy Beaubois for months and which SI.com says doctors have said can take up to 4 months to heal. 

So no, this is not good news.

But as bad as it is for Lopez, it also has huge ramifications for the Nets and their pursuit of Dwight Howard. Lopez was the centerpiece of any trade to Orlando, giving the Magic a young center to at least take the sting off losing the league's best big man. At 4-6 weeks, there's time for Lopez to recover and get back on the floor to show himself still worth the Magic's investment (I'm sure that's No.1 on his list of priorities). But that assumes his surgery goes perfectly, his recovery is without flaw, and that his return has no issues.

At that point, the Nets may be one of the worst teams in the league. Howard will be staring at going to a team he'd have to claw out of the cellar alongside Deron Williams with, after having had to likely give up even more assets to account for the instability of Lopez' situation. While Howard would be looking at the big picture with regards to playing in Brooklyn the next six seasons, these superstars want to win now, every year, and don't want to risk missing the playoffs even a single season. The Magic would be then trading for a seven-foot center with a foot injury, which hasn't gone well in the history of the NBA. That damages the Nets' leverage in the package they'd have to give up, which would mean Howard would be giving his commitment to a team with nearly nothing on roster outside of Deron Williams.

Which isn't wholly different from what Carmelo Anthony did. But the Knicks were at least in playoff position at the time of the trade. Without Lopez, we see more of Johan Petro. The Nets' frontcourt, even with productive big man Kris Humphries, is going to be a near-disaster. Deron Williams is one of the top five point guards in the league, but there are limits to what even he can do.

Lopez meanwhile is faced with the balance of wanting to compete and do his job, wanting to get back on the floor as quickly as possible, and leveraging that against his long-term health. Throw in how the Nets have treated him for the past year, both in terms of his relationship with Avery Johnson and in his inecessant involvement in trade rumors, and Lopez will be rushing back from a serious injury to help a team that is clearly not invested in his future. Maybe he pushes himself just to get out of the situation, but it's not an unpleasant one, and that's before you deal with the mental and physical damage from undergoing this kind of injury process.

The Nets still have a chance at pulling off the trade which would set them up long-term in the future. But after making a huge gamble in trading for Deron Williams last season and surrendering nearly half their talent base, the Lopez injury makes the odds even worse. There's really only two ways this works out. The Nets pull of a miracle trade for Dwight Howard because he simply wants to play in Brooklyn that much, or they lose everything.

Meanwhile, Andrew Bynum looked spectacular in preseason play Wednesday night.
Posted on: December 16, 2011 3:17 pm
 

Friday 5 with KB: The weird week that was

By Matt Moore



In this week's edition of 
the Friday 5, we go over the insanity of the week that was, the best value signing of free agency, and why you should be very, very scared of the Mavericks. You can follow Ken Berger on Twitter @KBergCBS

1. So... that was a fun week. What surprised you the most over the past week?

KB: Undoubtedly, it was how involved Stern and the league office were in the Hornets' trade discussions. Ultimately, I believe the Hornets got a better deal as a result. But I was stunned by the role the league took on. It had been my impression that the league would advise on certain priorities for trading Chris Paul, but I never envisioned that the commissioner would be telling the Hornets' basketball people what to do -- or that Stu Jackson would be the architect of the eventual deal. All's well that ends well, I guess. But I definitely found that surprising.

2. What's next for the league with the Hornets? When are they going to start looking at buyers?

KB: Stern said there would be a new owner in place in the first half of 2012, so they're moving fast. Clearly, there must be a list of contenders, and they'll evidently begin narrowing it down after the New Year.

3. Give me your best value signing of free agency. 

KB: It's hard not to like what the Pacers did, getting David West for $20 million over two years. Indy has a nice group with West, Roy Hibbert, Danny Granger, Paul George and George Hill/Darren Collison.

4. So Dwight Howard's off the table. Let's indulge in fairy tales for a minute and ask the question, what could Orlando do between now and All-Star Weekend to convince him to stay?

KB: Well, the hope in Orlando is that a good start over the first two months of the season, with an expressed willingness to add another significant component to the roster, would appeal to the part of Dwight that, deep down, wants to stay. I'm not convinced that's going to work, simply because I'm not sold that the Magic have enough to be a title contender. (I'm puzzled by the Glen Davis addition, for example, but I'm told that's what Dwight wanted.) I suppose one thing they could do is just give the ball to Dwight every trip down the floor from Christmas Day until the All-Star break and hope everyone else is too tired and beat up from the compressed schedule to guard him. Having said all that, I do not expect Howard to finish the season in Orlando.

5. What in the name of everything holy is Dallas doing? 

KB: That's easy. They're trying to get Deron Williams, Dwight Howard or BOTH. Getting both will be difficult, but the Mavs already are projected to be at least $18 million under the cap next summer, and if they bought out Lamar Odom ($2.4 million guaranteed) and amnestied Brendan Haywood, that's another $14 million. Scared? You should be. Just imagine how the Nets and Magic feel. 

Posted on: December 15, 2011 6:54 pm
 

Nets use amnesty clause on Travis Outlaw

By Matt Moore

Thirty-five million dollars.

That's the amount of money the New Jesey Nets just wiped off their cap space today by using the amnesty clause provided by the  new Collective Bargaining Agreement to waive Travis Outlaw. The Nets are free to unwisely spend their money again.

Outlaw will still make all $35 million dollars, it just won't be applied to New Jersey's cap. And in doing so, the Nets clear more space to take on a big contract, like, oh, I don't know, just off the top of my head, Hedo Turkoglu

Outlaw was brought in as part of the Nets' efforts last summer to spend their way into victories after having whiffed on every major free agent on the market. They had tons of cap space and nowhere to go with it, so they gave money to Anthony Morrow, Outlaw, and Jordan Farmar, along with the most egregious deal, Johan Petro's 3-year, $10 million deal. Outlaw was the bigger drain, though, as he absolutely bottomed out, posting a career low in field goal percentage and PER (a dismal 8.8). 

It was also revealed that Outlaw has a broken right hand, which will likely delay his signing by any team in particular for a while. He will likely clear waivers and be an unrestricted free agent.  
Posted on: December 14, 2011 1:03 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2011 6:39 pm
 

Video: Magic fan after the dentist

Posted by Royce Young



Bob Vander Weide's supposed drunk dial was a pretty good shot at incoherently convincing Dwight Howard to stay in Orlando. But if THIS doesn't get him to stay, then there's really no hope left. I mean, all the kid wants is to touch your shoulder blade, Dwight. And adopt you.

Via TBJ
Posted on: December 14, 2011 10:26 am
 

For Orlando, Dwight decision is matter of timing

By Matt Moore

To trade or not to trade, that is the question.

Whether tis better to suffer the slings and arrows of rebuilding or... OK, I'm done with that intro. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that talks between New Jersey and Orlando "gained momentum" Tuesday night and confirmed an ESPN.com report that the two teams have brought in Portland and another team to facilitate a deal. Portland would be sending Gerald Wallace to Orlando while getting draft picks and the cap space to sign Jamal Crawford. Granted, this makes no sense as constructed since Gerald Wallace is a near-All-Star and significantly better than Jamal Crawford, but we don't know the particulars of the deal yet or the additional team. 

For Orlando, the decision is complex, but boils down to a few factors for a simple formula. 

Circus surrounding Dwight this season and possible impact on chemistry + theoretical cap savings, first-round picks, and young players > or < the odds of convincing Howard to stay with a successful season. If it's greater than, take the deal, if not, wait. There's timing involved here. The Magic have to determine if the cost of dealing with this nonsense for another three months is worth a possible improvement in a deal if the deadline comes and New Jersey or the Lakers realize there's a chance they could miss out. As much as both suitors would try and force leverage by saying the Magic have to make a deal because they could lose Dwight for nothing, the Magic have the alternative.

Essentially, the Magic response is: "Without Dwight, we're going to be terrible, with or without picks and young players. So it's a bonus for us if we get something. For you, if you don't get Dwight, all your efforts are for nothing" and in the case of the Nets, that means the potential loss of Deron Williams. Howard's value at the deadline could be higher as teams get desperate. The Nets tipped their hand last season with their pursuit of Carmelo Anthony, offering up everything they could and having owner Mikhail Prokhorov meet with Anthony during All-Star Weekend. That same smell of desperation would be even more pungent at the deadline should the Nets be facing having sacrificed their future to get Deron Williams only to watch him walk away if they don't land Howard. There will be suitors for both men, including Williams' hometown team of Dallas.

But on the other side of that, the Magic do have to deal with this circus. Trips to New Jersey, New York, Los Angeles for either team, Dallas, Chicago will all be unbearable because of the storylines. Teammates will know their future is uncertain because of Howard's decision-making, and that will affect chemistry. That's not to say they can't overcome it, but there are consequences to constant speculation. Howard's decision has a thousand impacts on this league, and everyone is waiting to see what happens.

If Orlando wants to keep him, if they really truly believe it when he said he would consider staying, then they can try and swing a trade to improve the team and in doing so gamble even more of their future on keeping Howard. A strike-out and the Magic have set the franchise back a decade. But if you believe Howard leaving makes that the case regardless, it may make it easier to swallow.

The Magic have been reticent in these talks since the beginning. As opposed to New Orleans, who clearly are doing everything possible to get a deal done, provided the league will get out of the way and let them, the Magic aren't rushing to collapse this window of contention. From here on out it's matter of figuring out what the timing is and whether being a part of all this offseason insanity and having it carry over into the season is worth it.  
Posted on: December 13, 2011 1:53 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 2:59 pm
 

Why doesn't Dwight Howard want to be a Bull?



By Matt Moore


Back on Dec. 10th, the Chicago Tribune reported that Dwight Howard was not considering the Bulls. Chicago has not been on the list of teams Ken Berger has reported since February under consideration by Howard and his management. And Tuesday, ESPN reported that Howard's list has been narrowed to four teams, the New Jersey Nets, the Dallas Mavericks, the L.A. Lakers, and the Orlando Magic

So the question now is "Why won't Howard consider the Bulls?"

For starters, it would make a huge amount of sense for both parties in terms of basketball. For the Magic, they'd be able to get back a decent return on Howard, something that not many other teams will offer. Joakim Noah as a centerpiece, with Omer Asik, Ronnie Brewer, potentially Luol Deng, and a salary dump of Hedo Turkoglu along with picks could probably be had. That's a fine haul for the Magic. But maybe Howard simply doesn't care about what his team gets back and in fact wants to make sure they don't give up too much so that he can have a good group behind him wherever he lands. 

The bigger upside is for Howard. He would no longer have to be the sole source of offense and would have the pressure to be "the man" split between he and Rose. Howard wants help? How about the MVP point guard who can create offense for himself as well as anyone in the league? He'd be set with a young player just starting his rise to greatness and already established. Rose isn't an alpha dog and wouldn't have problems with Howard, Rose has good enough vision even as a score-first guard to create oop after oop for Howard on the pick and roll. Throw in Carlos Boozer as now a much-better-fitting third option (unless they unloaded Boozer which they may have to for salary purposes), and some combination of the Chicago shooters and you have all the help Howard's been asking for. 

Furthermore, how about the best defensive player in the league playing under the best defensive coach in the league? Tom Thibodeau could get the absolute most out of Howard's considerable abilities (not that Stan Van Gundy hasn't already done a stellar job and in fact in large part helped make Howard into the defensive presence he is), and would let him dictate what he wants on offense instead of forcing perimeter shots like SVG. 

The only conclusion is that it's some combination of weather and style that Howard balks at in regards to Chicago. Howard is rumored to prefer warm-weather destinations, coming from the south and having played there for his career. Chicago isn't exactly balmy. Then again, not like Brooklyn is all palm trees and sun tan lotion. The bigger question may be from a marketing perspective. New York or L.A. provide him with media opportunities galore, and for a guy who loves the camera as much as Howard does, that might be the kicker. 

One entity sad about this development? Adidas, who have both Howard and Rose under their label. The two teaming up under the colors of Nike's icon Michael Jordan's former team? Priceless. The money would be there for Howard in Chicago, but maybe not the level of fame he wants.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com