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Dwight Howard throws ball at heckling fan; Vince Carter calls him a ‘crybaby’ (Video)

Dwight-Howard-RocketdsDwight Howard allowed an opposing fan to get under his skin on Wednesday night, and it may have contributed to the Houston Rockets’ loss against the Dallas Mavericks. Howard was fouled by Jose Calderon with just under three minutes remaining in the game. The ball wound up back in Dwight’s hands, and a Mavericks fan who was sitting courtside appeared to yell something at him. Howard then turned around and tossed the ball in the fan’s direction.

It was a gentle toss, but throwing the ball into the stands is an automatic technical foul. The stunt accomplished nothing aside from Howard having the ball swatted back at him by the fan, who didn’t seem sorry. The Rockets were leading 116-111 at the time of the technical. They went on to lose 123-120.

After the game, Dallas swingman Vince Carter revealed that he called Howard a “crybaby” in the second quarter when Howard was complaining to an official.

“(He complains to officials) all the time,” Carter said, via ESPNDallas.com. “He always talks about how I’m a crybaby. I was like, ‘Yo, you’re the biggest crybaby I know.’ And then later, he’s like, ‘Yo, why’d you say that to me?’ But I know Dwight. It’s all good, but he is [a crybaby].

“I mean, he takes a lot of punishment, but I’m like, ‘Yo, c’mon Dwight, c’mon. You elbowed, you’re sitting in the paint the entire time. What are you whining about?’ He told me to stop crying. I was like, ‘What? Are you serious?’”

Howard finished the game with a season-high 33 points, but Houston failed to pick up its fourth-straight win. Considering the Mavericks were one of the teams Howard flirted with during free agency (remember Mark Cuban’s take on the subject?), he should expect to hear it from the fans in Dallas. He has to learn to tune that stuff out completely.

Video via SLAM Online

Dwight Howard admits free throw struggles are a mental problem

Dwight-Howard-RocketdsThrough 10 games, Dwight Howard appears to be a nice fit with the 6-4 Houston Rockets. However, he is still the same old Dwight when it comes to shooting free throws.

Howard, a career 58% free throw shooter, has hit just 49% of his free throws this season. For years we have heard about how Howard can be seen draining free throw after free throw on any given day during practice. He supposedly makes nearly 90% when it doesn’t count, so the problem is clearly between Howard’s ears.

“In practice, I don’t think about what I do when I’m at the free-throw line and I make them,” he said recently, via CBSSports.com’s Ken Berger. “In the game, I’m thinking so much that when I start missing, I start thinking about missing again — or if I miss, what people are going to say.”

Last year, Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni criticized the Orlando Magic for using the hack-a-Dwight strategy toward the end of a game. Howard ended up hitting 16-of-20 free throws in that game, so the plan backfired. Earlier this season, D’Antoni decided to give hack-a-Dwight a try for himself. Only this time it worked, with Howard making going just 5-for-16 from the charity stripe and the Lakers winning 99-98.

“Against the Lakers, I was just over-thinking and anxious,” Howard admitted. “I always thought of it as like being in love. If you grasp at sand and you hold it too tight, you tend to lose a lot of the sand. But if you hold it just right, then you never lose it. It’s just like a free throw. If you’re too uptight, you’re gonna miss. If you’re too loose, you’re still gonna miss. You’ve got to be just right.”

What a romantic metaphor. If only Howard could employ that strategy on a nightly basis. If mechanics were the issue, there would be an easier fix. The fact that Howard’s free throw struggles are a mental issue that has been ongoing for nearly 10 years should give Rockets fans zero confidence.

H/T Black Sports Online

Dwight Howard rejected by Quincy Acy at rim (Video)

Dwight Howard Quincy AcyDwight Howard had another one of those moments that his haters will love.

Late in the third quarter of the Houston Rockets-Toronto Raptors game on Monday, Howard took an entry pass from James Harden and spun around Tyler Hansbrough in the low post. Dwight then went up for a reverse dunk, but Quincy Acy met him at the rim and rejected him.

Houston still beat Toronto 108-104 in double-overtime, and Dwight finished with 18 points, 24 rebounds and five blocks, so he gets the last laugh. But you know folks are going to love that block by Acy.

Via Matt Moore

Dwight Howard booed by Clippers fans (Video)

Dwight Howard didn’t exactly receive the friendliest welcome back to Staples Center when his Houston Rockets visited LA to face the Clippers on Monday night. The Houston center was booed during team introductions before the game, and then he was booed on his offensive touches.

Dwight Howard introsWhat would Clippers fans have against him? It’s probably a combination of things.

One, maybe there are some Clippers fans who are also Lakers fans and don’t like that the center left the purple and gold. Two, Howard frustrated a lot of fans over the past few seasons with his indecisiveness regarding his future. Maybe the fans don’t like him because of that. Or, more simply, the fans may have been booing because Howard is a top player on a top team that is expected to contend with the Clippers for the Western Conference title.

Asked after the game about being booed, Howard said “I don’t care,” even though he probably does.

The big man ended up with just 13 points and 9 rebounds in 25 minutes in the 137-118 loss. The margin of defeat left Rockets GM Daryl Morey impressed:

It’s early November. I fully expect the Rockets to be one of the best in the West this season and even better than the Clippers when the playoffs come.

Mark Cuban: Dwight Howard made wrong decision going to Houston

mark-cubanMark Cuban still believes that Dwight Howard made the wrong decision by choosing the Houston Rockets in free agency instead of the Dallas Mavericks. What else is new?

The Mavericks are one of the handful of teams Howard considered in free agency. He also looked at the Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks and Los Angeles Lakers in addition to Houston and Dallas.

Mavs owner Mark Cuban and superstar Dirk Nowitzki were among the team reps who were part of the team’s presentation to Howard in free agency. In August, Cuban shared the video the team created and played for Howard. Even though Cuban says the Mavericks are better off without Howard, he still believes the center made the wrong choice.

“Obviously, he made a mistake in judgment,” Cuban said Thursday via ESPN Dallas. “Do I blame him? No, that’s what young kids do. They make mistakes in judgment.”

Cuban continued to explain where Howard went wrong.

“You choose teams. You don’t choose players,” Cuban said. “If he made a choice off of an individual player, yeah, he made a mistake. You choose teams. You choose organizations. You choose coaches. And it’s just not relative to Houston.”

Cuban was obviously talking about Howard going to Houston to pair with James Harden, whom many consider to be one of the top young players in the game.

“That’s just the way I look at it, because if he’s that good, then the right organization … Put aside Dwight. Any young superstar looking to make a move, if you’re that good, then the right organization gets all the right pieces around you. So it’s not about, you’d rather play with this guy. If you’re that good and you have [salary cap] flexibility, the right organization will put the right pieces around you and get you there.”

This just sounds to me like more bitterness from Cuban, and it makes me believe that Cuban still wishes Dwight chose Dallas instead of Houston, despite what he says. Dwight absolutely think he made the right decision, and I think it was a smart move to team up with Harden. Pairing with other players is the most important factor when you’re a superstar like him. Putting in the right coaches and supporting cast is easier to do once you have the right talent in place the way Houston does.

Mike D’Antoni admits he felt pressure to run offense through Dwight Howard, not Pau Gasol

Pau-Gasol-Steve-Nash-LakersPrior to last season, the Los Angeles Lakers were one of the better offensive teams in the NBA. Then they got Dwight Howard. The Lakers were the preseason favorite to win the Western Conference, but things went south in a hurry. Part of the reason for that was they couldn’t score.

During a recent interview with Sam Amick of USA Today Sports, Mike D’Antoni acknowledged the issue of having to run his offense through Howard when the team had been so fluid running it through Pau Gasol in previous seasons. D’Antoni basically admitted he had no choice.

“It was very uncomfortable,” he said. “I knew I was messing on (Gasol) last year. That’s not fair to him. But that was the situation we were in. How do we make the best of it? I was just trying to make the best of it. But no, it wasn’t fair to him.

“I think it was all (politics). It was all that. We wouldn’t do that (normally). If nobody had names on their jerseys, and we were just playing? You go through Pau. There’s not a question. No question.”

Gasol was relegated to a bench role last season before D’Antoni finally admitted that he was wrong to not play both Gasol and Howard. He initially thought his offense would not work with two big men, but it turned out to be more effective when Gasol was on the floor. Even Kobe Bryant sent out some tweets while he was injured about how his team needed to put Gasol in the post and feed him the ball.

The air between D’Antoni and Gasol is supposedly cleared, and Gasol will need to be the player he was before the Howard era if LA wants to stand any chance this season.

“I definitely believe I can do it,” Gasol said. “I know it. I bounced back really well. The procedure went well, my tendons are a lot healthier now than they were before. I have a lot more healthy tissue that regenerated well. I worked hard during the summer to be in the position that I’m in today, and I look forward to just to going out there and doing what I know best.”

With Kobe coming back from a torn Achilles’ and Steve Nash nursing a number of injuries, Gasol could be the go-to guy in the early part of the season.

H/T Pro Basketball Talk

Dwight Howard ‘a little upset’ Orlando Magic let Tobias Harris wear No. 12

Dwight-Howard-loves-OrlandoDwight Howard would like to think that he left behind a legacy when he was traded from the Orlando Magic to the Los Angeles Lakers. He is the Magic’s franchise leader in points, rebounds and blocked shots. However, Howard never won a championship with Orlando and left the team on sour terms. And now he expects the Magic to essentially retire his jersey number?

In a recent interview with Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel, during which Howard said he left the Lakers because he “had to do what was best for Dwight,” the 27-year-old admitted he would have liked his former team to block players from wearing No. 12. The jersey is currently worn by 21-year-old small forward Tobias Harris.

“I just think that despite whatever happened, there was a lot of things that I did and that we did as a team, and that number was special down there,” Howard said. “And I was a little bit upset about that.”

Howard also expressed regret for the way his career in Orlando ended. That being said, how delusional is this guy? No one is saying the Magic have to despise him, but is everyone just supposed to forget about the way he embarrassed the team with his phony relationship with Stan Van Gundy toward the end? Or how about all the reports that he was disgusted with Orlando and wanted out, all of which were followed with infamous Dwight denials?

As a side note, Harris is wearing No. 12 to honor a close friend of his who died from leukemia at age 17. We’re assuming Howard was unaware of that.

Maybe Howard will win a championship with the Houston Rockets and the fans will love him. Perhaps some day his number will be retired in Houston. But as of now, he doesn’t exactly have massive fan bases in Orlando and LA. Why should he?

H/T Ball Don’t Lie