Dwight Howard, is again in a familiar territory after the Houston Rockets won game 7 against the LA Clippers, moving the franchise back to the Western finals after 17 years.
Dwight grabbed 15 rebounds and scored 16 points for Houston, as the Clippers fumbled their 3-1 series lead and let the Rockets gained momentum. It was a hotly contested series, but truth be known, against the Golden State Warriors in the next round, the Rockets will have to really dig deep to win the series. Dwight could summoned up his old self when he carried the Orlando Magic to the NBA finals six years ago. But we all know he is a shell of his old self today. Dwight, with all his back injuries is a forgotten franchise player. He is more like an afterthought for the Rockets team that revolved around James Harden.
Back when he was still in Los Angeles, Dwight hated the fact that Kobe Bryant talked to him that no other people have talked to him back in Orlando. For most of his career he has been coddled and babied, but not with Kobe. All those childish act, Kobe had low tolerance for people who doesn’t have the same passion and culture.
Howard refused to sign an extension and moved on to the Rockets. For Houston, it was a no-brainer to get Dwight, a defensive presence that they really lack. Houston has a history of franchise centers, from Moses Malone to Hakeem Olajuwon and Yao Ming, Dwight wanted to be part of the franchise storied history and hopefully start winning championships. With a bad back and a series of injuries, it was becoming to be clear that James Harden is the face of the franchise and not Dwight. A harsh realization with a lot of implications.
Nobody really talked to him about it, but the realization should come from within. The paradigm shift from Batman into a Robin might be too much to handle, but it might could win them a championship. Much of Dwight’s career is like Shaquille O’neal – number one draft pick, played in Orlando, went to the finals (2009), played with the Lakers, all-star and plays in team USA, but what separates them is the championships. Shaq got the rings, Dwight got none.
The Golden State Warriors have a lot of weapons in their arsenal. They can shoot, play defense and most especially they know how to win. Houston never won against the Warriors in their season matchup, and it seemed that it will stay that way. Unless, Dwight will finally stepped up. Like what he had done against the Clips.
Dwight Howard took all the harsh words that players bestowed upon him… pussy, b*tch and baby. Those words will never stop, not now and not ever. But he can change the course of history if he wants to. James Harden can take care of offense while he take cares of defense. Maybe that’s what Kobe wants of him. But never find the right ways and words to talk him out.
Nobody is an island, the Rockets needs Harden more than they need Howard, with an injured back and a broken body, the clock is ticking.
There is no “face of the franchise” discussion anymore, this is all about championships.
That’s how it always is.
Batman needs his Robin.
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