After a long and winding off-season, there has been a groundswell against Dwight Howard as the best center in basketball. Admittedly, Howard’s off-court antics have grown to be a bit insufferable, but he gave the NBA world a stern and telling reminder of what he is capable of with an epic performance on Wednesday.
Howard grabbed 26 rebounds and scored 17 points to lead Houston to a 96-83 win over Charlotte, but as impressive as those pure numbers are, the former Magic and Lakers center was probably even more impressive. Horford garnered that level of production in just 35 minutes of court time, and he held prized Bobcats acquisition, Al Jefferson, to just 6 of 19 shooting and 13 points on the night.
It is far too early to say that Howard is 100% “fixed” after a back injury left him cold during last year’s exile in Los Angeles, but this is a snapshot to remind everyone of his potential dominance. A game in November against the lowly (with apologies to the city of Charlotte) Bobcats won’t do much to alleviate the concerns of his “haters”, but 26 rebounds is 26 rebounds, and no one in the league can combine the complete athletic and defensive package of Dwight Howard when he’s right.