Dwight Howard

Abdul-Jabbar says Howard has “blind spots” in his game

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Dwight Howard is having a phenomenal season. The 25-year old center is scoring 3.3 more points per 40 minutes than he did a year ago, is the key player on one of the five best defenses in the NBA, is still a monster on the boards, and has a decent chance at winning his first MVP award.

However, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar still thinks that Howard has some room for improvement. In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about his upcoming documentary, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer gave an opinion on Howard:

Q: Is there a young center you’d like an opportunity to show a few things to?

A: Dwight Howard. I think I could have shown him a few things that would have helped his game a lot. Such an incredible athlete. There are a few blind spots in his game just because he didn’t stay in school long enough to get all of that down, but just really an incredible athlete.

One of the biggest knocks on Howard throughout his career is that his post game is lacking, but he’s been very effective from the low block this season. Howard may not have a shot as graceful as Kareem’s skyhook or footwork as intricate as Kevin McHale’s, but his ability to use either hand around the basket, nifty running hooks, and improved patience as a passer and touch around the rim have made him one of the league’s most effective post players.

According to Synergy Sports, Howard scores .92 points per post-up possession, which is a great mark for someone who scores down low as much as Howard does — to provide a point of reference, Pau Gasol also scores .92 points per post-up possession.

When a player is a physical specimen like Howard, it’s easy to focus on how good he could be instead of how good he already is. No matter how effective Howard gets in the post, people will always think he could be doing better, because his athletic gifts make him capable of things no other center can do. It’s easy to look at Howard’s power-based post game and horrific free-throw stroke and lament how much more graceful he could be down low, but the truth is that Howard has made himself into one of the most, if not the most, effective post players in the league.

The league’s all-time leading scorer may well have a trick or two up his sleeve that Howard does not have access to, but Howard deserves credit for more than just his athletic prowess.

Boston’s Marcus Smart gets flopping warning from NBA

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 17:  Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics looks on during the second quarter of the preseason game against the Brooklyn Nets at TD Garden on October 17, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Boston’s Marcus Smart is one of the league’s more notorious floppers.

He was at it again Monday night against the Houston Rockets — and the league called him on it and gave him a warning.

It happened on the game’s final play — you were probably focused elsewhere, wondering how Al Horford could miss the game-winning layup. But watch Smart as he gets in position for the rebound on that shot.

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The referees didn’t buy it then.

This warning is barely a slap on the wrist. If — in his case, when — Smart gets caught a second time this season he will get a $5,000 fine from the league. Smart is making $3.6 million this season.

Happy birthday Larry Bird. We celebrate with some highlights.

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Larry Bird — the Celtics legend, three-time NBA champion, three-time MVP, 10-time All-NBA — turns 60 on Wednesday.

We celebrate by looking back at his 60-point game March 12, 1985, against the Hawks (video above, and yes that game was played in New Orleans).

Want more Larry the Legend highlights? We got you covered.

Hawks’ Mike Scott sent to D-League on rehab assignment

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 26:  Mike Scott #32 of the Atlanta Hawks poses during media day on September 26, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta Hawks forward Mike Scott is expected to play at least two games in the NBA Development League as he comes back from a knee injury that kept him out of training camp and the first 18 games of the season.

Scott played 15 minutes for the Delaware 87ers in Tuesday night’s loss to the Santa Cruz Warriors. He scored four points on 2-of-7 shooting, missing all four of his attempts from 3-point range.

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer says the D-League is the best way for Scott to get “meaningful, competitive minutes” after undergoing a non-surgical procedure on his left knee.

Scott has played three games for Atlanta since his return. In 28 minutes, he has two points on 1-of-9 attempts, to go along with eight rebounds and six assists.

Watch Kyle O’Quinn throw alley-oop to Carmelo Anthony

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Carmelo Anthony isn’t young anymore, but he had the bounce to go get this one.

These were your two best players for the Knicks in their win over Miami Tuesday. Kyle O'Quinn was forced into action earlier than expected when Joakim Noah went on a fouling spree in the third quarter, but O’Quinn played well in the role. ‘Melo dropped 35 on 27 shots — he’s not as efficient as he once was, but he can still get some buckets.

The Knicks picked up a needed win, because they play a back-to-back Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers and a ticked-off LeBron James (New York will pay the price for Phil Jackson’s “posse” comments with a motivated LeBron Wednesday).