Apr 23, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) controls the ball during the first quarter as Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) defends in game two during the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Keep Feeding Dwight Howard The Basketball

Dwight Howard dominated Robin Lopez in game two. If you had to compare Dwight Howard and Robin Lopez in football terms, you’d say that Robin Lopez was Matt Schaub and Dwight Howard was the opposing defense. Absolute ownage.

Howard dropped 19 points on Lopez in the first quarter of game two, and 25 points total in the first half. At halftime, TNT’s Shaquille O’Neal debated with Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith about Howard’s dominance. Though Howard dominated, the Rockets were only tied at the half, largely due to LaMarcus Aldridge‘s dominance at the other end.

The topic was centered around the Rockets’ offensive balance with Howard doing the bulk of the scoring in the first half. He was 11/17 in the first half, but finished just 2/5 in the second half for 7 points in the Rockets eventual loss. He finished the game with 32 points, yet some people believe that his high scoring numbers hurt the Rockets.

I don’t believe Howard ruins the Rockets offensive balance. When Howard was singled up on the post, he took his man down for the bucket. He did struggle with point blank shots late in the first half (missed his last four) and in the second half. It happens, but as a team, you’d prefer him taking layups and three-foot hook shots rather than contested jumpers or threes.

Speaking of those threes, the Rockets did themselves no favors by missing 13 of their 16 three-point attempts. Howard passed out of the post and hit the open shooter a few times, yet the shooter largely came up short. If the shooters aren’t hitting from the outside, then the Rockets have no other choice but to rely on Howard or Harden.

It wasn’t Howard that was off in game two, it was James Harden. Harden missed 13 of his 19 attempts and was never able to get into a rhythm. Harden’s offensive prowess is a big key to the Rockets’ success, and his inability to drive to successfully drive to the hoop, knocked the Rockets into an offensive funk.

Role players Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons were both 0-3 from three, and Patrick Beverley was just 1-4 from beyond the arc. The Rockets need those players to knock down the open looks. They need their three-point stroke back if they want to compete in the rest of the series.

It’s not Dwight’s fault the shooters aren’t hitting. The Rockets could easily be 2-0 if they didn’t shoot just 23% and 19% from beyond the arc in the first two games. We wouldn’t even be having this discussion if Harden had his usual 25 points per game.

Keep feeding Dwight Howard the ball. He’s hungry and dominant. He’ll get his points, but it’s up to the other Rockets to knock down their open looks for the Rockets offense to be clicking on all cylinders.

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