Tag: Dwight Howard

Golden State Warriors v Houston Rockets - Game Four

Andrew Bogut takes veiled shot at Dwight Howard


The Rockets and the Warriors had a somewhat chippy Western Conference Finals matchup, if not one that was overly-physical — at least in Andrew Bogut’s eyes.

Bogut and Dwight Howard had plenty of battles in the post, and Howard even got away with whacking Bogut in the face without being ejected or suspended.

Howard did end up earning a one-game suspension for the total number of flagrant foul points he amassed during the postseason, which prompted Bogut to take a veiled shot at Howard when he was asked about the physicality of the series against the Rockets the day the suspension was announced.

From Rusty Simmons of SFGate.com:

On the day that Dwight Howard was suspended for a game without pay for collecting his fourth flagrant foul of the postseason, Andrew Bogut took a parting shot at the Houston center.

“There was some physicality there (with Houston), like any playoff series, but the Memphis series was more physical,” Bogut said after Friday’s practice. “This was more about ducking and weaving and getting out of the way of aired fists and elbows.”

There’s a clear difference between a physical battle where players put their bodies on the line to give their all for their team in an effort to win, and one in which guys are simply taking cheap shots whenever they get the chance.

Howard appeared to be doing the latter plenty against the Warriors, which makes it difficult to disagree with Bogut’s remarks.

James Harden says he ‘definitely’ wants Rockets to add a playmaker this offseason

Houston Rockets v Dallas Mavericks - Game Three

James Harden had an incredible 2015 season for the Houston Rockets, one that rightfully had him neck-and-neck with Stephen Curry in the race for the league’s Most Valuable Player award.

He did everything possible from an offensive standpoint to carry the Rockets for the bulk of the year, as Dwight Howard missed significant time, and key role players in Patrick Beverley and Donatas Montiejunas were lost well before the playoffs after suffering season-ending injuries.

Despite the lack of depth, Houston was still able to make it to the Western Conference Finals — and it was all thanks to the brilliance of Harden. As the Rockets look to improve their chances for next season, the team’s primary (and perhaps only) legitimate playmaker says he’d like some help offensively, so he doesn’t have to consistently do it all by himself.

From Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:

Rockets guard James Harden made the familiar case for continuity the Rockets have never had since he’s been in Houston. He spoke of the strengths of a roster that won 56 games and reached the Western Conference Finals. He cited the difference between the Warriors and Rockets, pointing quickly to his own turnovers.

Yet, when Rockets general manager Daryl Morey puts together his shopping list, Harden had a suggestion.

He said he “definitely” would like to see the Rockets add another playmaker to take some of that responsibility out of his hands.

“That’s one of the conversations me and Daryl are going to have (and) the coaches,” Harden said. “That’s one of the pieces to add, but that’s later conversations. We’ll be all right. We’re very confident in the group we have. This summer we have to work hard and be ready for next year.”

The Rockets have plenty of decisions to make this summer. Josh Smith, Corey Brewer and Jason Terry were all part of the playoff rotation, and all three were on extremely inexpensive deals, but are now unrestricted free agents heading into next season. Beverley is a restricted free agent, and will command a fairly large sum on the open market which the Rockets may or may not decide to match.

Harden, Howard and Trevor Ariza are all locked up on multi-year deals. Beyond that, in terms of what the roster in Houston might look like next season, things get murky pretty fast.

Dwight Howard suspended one game after foul switcheroo

Dwight Howard, Klay Thompson

Dwight Howard got a technical foul for this:



But not a flagrant foul for this:



Either would have resulted in a one-game suspension for the Rockets center, so it doesn’t matter much which stood as long as one did.

And one did – not the one originally called.

NBA release:

Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard has been suspended one game without pay for collecting his fourth Flagrant Foul point of the 2015 NBA postseason, it was announced today by Rod Thorn, President, Basketball Operations.

The incident, which was upgraded from a common foul to a Flagrant Foul 1 upon league office review, occurred when Howard made unnecessary contact with his forearm to the neck area of Golden State Warriors guard Andre Iguodala with 3:35 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Warriors’ 104-90 win over the Rockets on May 27 at Oracle Arena.

Howard will serve his suspension in the first game of the 2015-16 NBA regular season for which he is eligible and physically able to play.

In addition, Howard and the Warriors’ Andrew Bogut each had their technical fouls, assessed with 3:19 remaining in the second quarter of the same game, rescinded upon league office review.

The NBA got this right… eventually, and Howard was available for all of Houston’s final playoff game. That’s a win-win from the league’s perspective.

Dwight Howard: “I’m still a champion. And I won’t let anyone tell me anything different.”

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors - Game Five

There are times Dwight Howard says things — well-intended things — that just come off as his foot in his mouth.

He had one of those moments on the podium Wednesday night, after his Houston Rockets were eliminated from the playoffs by the Golden State Warriors. Here’s his answer on the difficulty of overcoming the injuries the Rockets’ had, as reported by Matt Moore of CBSSports.com’s Eye on Basketball.

“It’s tough, but I won’t stop fighting,” Howard said. “I’m going to continue to push myself to the limit and remember that, no matter how he season ends, I’m still a champion. And I won’t let anyone tell me anything different.”


I would like to think we can all cut Howard some slack on that statement, because it reads to me as he believed this team could win — and you want him to think that. I’d be worried if he didn’t believe his team could be a champion. Plus he had a strong series for Houston.

But we all know that’s not going to happen.

Howard is not a champion. He did lead the Orlando Magic to the Finals one year, but that’s not how he’s remembered. There are a lot of fans — many of them based in Los Angeles — who think he lacks the heart and passion to win it all. I’d argue that’s more about his teammates and health — one cannot will oneself to a title by himself. Michael Jordan needed Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant to get past the Bad Boy Pistons. But he couldn’t get along with Kobe Bryant and is a guy who wants the game to be fun.

His reputation isn’t going to change until he wins. For some, nobody’s a champion until they are. For Howard, he’s already there.

Rockets had an excellent season. Are they content with that?

Golden State Warriors v Houston Rockets - Game Four

After the Rockets just completed a surprisingly strong season – winning 56 games and reaching the Western Conference finals – their biggest stars were asked about keeping this group together.

“There’s been so many cases to where we could’ve folded, hung our shoes up,” James Harden said. “But they didn’t quit. I think, if you can have those guys around you, you’re going to be successful more than not.”

Howard, given two chances to answer similar questions, was much more vague.

“We just want to win,” Howard said. “I’m all about guys who want to get in there and fight and never give up.”

Put that quote in context with Howard’s comment after Game 3 – “I saw quit from everybody in the arena” – and draw your own conclusions.

Houston had a heck of a season. Houston might turn over large portions of its roster this summer.

These are both valid statements in Daryl Morey’s world.

The Rockets are always tinkering, always looking for edges. Lately, that has meant pursuing a third star – an effort that kicked into overdrive this summer.

But Houston missed on LeBron James, missed on Carmelo Anthony, missed on Chris Bosh, missed on Dirk Nowitzki and missed on Kevin Love.

The Rockets’ fortune didn’t improve from there.

Dwight Howard missed half the regular season due to injury, and Patrick Beverley and Donatas Motiejunas were sidelined the entire postseason.

Yet, Houston still secured the No. 2 seed and won more playoff series than the previous 17 years combined. By any reasonable standard, this season was a resounding success.

The Rockets proved they belong in the West’s second tier with the Clippers and Spurs and maybe the Grizzlies and healthy Trail Blazers. Houston just ran into an all-time juggernaut in the Warriors. Without Golden State in the picture, the Rockets might be on their way to their third championship.

Plenty of teams would love to be in that sub-Warriors group, a Golden State injury or two away from title contention. But I doubt Morey is content to leave his team’s fate in the hands of another team’s medical luck.

After Houston was eliminated Wednesday, the MVP-winning Curry hugged Harden, who placed second in voting.

“All year, dog, you pushed me,” Harden said. “All year.”

The Rockets were the secondary character in the Warriors’ story this year.

And that’s great!

The Rockets traded Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik and declined to match Chandler Parsons’ offer sheet in order to maximize their chances of landing another star. Morey was willing to take a step back this season.

Thanks to Harden, the year was a major step forward.

Houston can go a number of directions from here. Beverley and Josh Smith will be free agents, and Trevor Ariza and Jason Terry were backup options after the Rockets struck out on major free agents.

Morey, due to his nature and how it was created, might be less attached to his roster than any general manager ever has been with a team so successful. If he’s looking for change, he can point to this final loss. Harden had nearly as many turnovers (a playoff-record 13) as points (14), and Howard lost his composure a couple times.

Howard was asked what Kevin McHale told the team afterward.

“To be honest with you, I was zoned out, boss. I was zoned out,” Howard said. “All I heard was, ‘Great job this season.'”

There’s a lot for the Rockets to process, but Howard heard the most important part.