- Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “At the risk of sounding obvious, [Dwight] Howard can avoid 10-second violations by shooting faster. His opponents have the right to call attention to how long he takes before shooting, just as the Magic have the right to tell officials if one of their opponents is taking too long to shoot. He can avoid technical fouls by simply passing the ball to an official instead of rolling it away. Doing so shows up the officials in front of both teams, the paying fans in attendance, and the folks watching on TV. I understand the technical call, instead of the delay-of-game one, in this instance. He’s not merely delaying the game, but expressing his frustration with the referees in an unbecoming way. The NBA can avoid, or perhaps curtail, the frustration fans and players have with the rule by enforcing it strictly or not at all. The selective enforcement of the rulebook in professional sports–not just in basketball-rankles fans because rules are meant to be rules no matter the situation. Thus, violations like the NBA’s 10-second count arouse suspicion when they’re called.”
- Dan Devine of Ball Don’t Lie: “After stepping to the charity stripe with the Bobcats holding a 50-41 lead, Howard missed the first of his two freebies. After receiving the ball from the official for his second attempt, Howard launched into his extraordinarily deliberate free-throw routine. Take a deep breath. (Beat.) Shrug the shoulders. (Beat.) Spin the ball in your left hand. (Beat.) Slow dribble. (Beat.) Slow dribble. (Beat.) Slow dribble. (Beat.) Raise your eyes to the basket. (Beat.) Bend at the knees, and then … whistle.”
- The Orlando Magic made quick work of the Charlotte Bobcats in overtime.
- John Hollinger of ESPN Insider cites Howard’s improvements on offense this season: “It’s truly impressive when a superstar-level player can still take his game to another level, and Howard did that this season by developing what had been a rudimentary post-up game. By adding a face-up jumper off the window and getting more comfortable taking a couple of short dribbles for a hook shot, he’s become more than just a physically dominant dunker — he added 3.3 points to his 40-minute average with virtually no loss in efficiency.”
- Also, Hollinger awards Howard with his pseudo-vote for Defensive Player of the Year: “Orlando is third in the NBA in defensive efficiency. Think about this for a second. They have one good defensive player in their top eight. One. Of the top eight players for Orlando by minutes, the other seven are Jameer Nelson, Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson, Brandon Bass, J.J. Redick, Ryan Anderson and Gilbert Arenas; two of them are average, two aspire to be average on their good days and the other three are just flat-out awful. For that group, somehow, to be better defensively than the Lakers, Heat, Spurs and Mavs, among others, defies all common sense. Yet it’s happening, partly because Stan Van Gundy has a strong team concept, but mostly because they have a flyswatter in the middle who is the first guy back in transition, totally dominates the glass and lets everyone else on his team play half a step closer to their man. Howard backs up his case with more traditional stats — the blocks and rebounds, the solid differential — but the greatest case he has comes from scrolling through the other names on the roster, and pondering how on earth that adds up to an elite defensive team.”
- Did you hear? Howard takes too long at the free-throw line.