Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard, right, blocks a shot by Atlanta Hawks' Etan Thomas (36) during the first half of Game 1 of a first-round NBA playoff basketball series in Orlando, Fla

Dwight Howard named Defensive Player of Year. Again.


UPDATE 1:33 pm: It’s official, Dwight Howard has a three-peat as the NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

“I want to thank my teammates for allowing their men to get to the basket again, forcing me to block shots and pick up fouls, and sometimes technical fouls,” Howard joked at the press conference. Or half joked. Or maybe not joked at all.

Howard is the first player ever to win it three years in a row. He also got 114 of the 120 first place votes.

The rest of the voting: 2) Kevin Garnett; 3) Tyson Chandler; 4) Tony Allen; 5) Rajon Rondo; 6) Andrew Bogut; 7) Grant Hill; 8) Andre Iguodala; 9) LeBron James; 10) Luol Deng.

11:32 am: There’s a “major announcement” coming from the Orlando Magic at 1:30 pm Monday, following the team’s practice.

It has all the suspense of whether or not David Caruso will take off his glasses and deliver a cheesy line when they find the criminal on CSI:Miami.

Dwight Howard will be named Defensive Player of the Year for the third straight year, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

It’s well deserved. No player impacts the game defensively like Howard, who clogs the paint and allows the Magic defenders to be more aggressive out on the perimeter. What’s more, the Magic didn’t suffer a big defensive setback after their midseason trades to bring in weak defenders like Hedo Turkoglu and Gilbert Arenas. That’s all Howard.  The Magic are 3 points per 100 possessions better on defense when Howard is on the floor, teams shoot 2 percent better when he sits and the Magic’s rebounding gets worse.

This likely will be the consolation prize for Howard, as Derrick Rose is almost certain to win the MVP, with Howard coming in second or third (LeBron James will be in the mix, too).

Khris Middleton dunks, Jimmy Butler can’t stop him (VIDEO)

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Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.

Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.

Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.