Losses are never a good thing, but I’ll honestly say, if you gave me the choice between a) a win and a down performance from Dwight and b) a loss and another huge performance like last night, in a game where we were already missing our starting backcourt, I’d take ‘b’ every time. I say this because I’m still in that cautious phase where I’m expecting those monster games from last week to be proven a fluke and every additional night like last night pushes that chance further away from reality. The prospect of Howard rounding into form (and becoming a dangerous post scorer) is so significant to this franchise’s future that I don’t want to jump the gun on a proclamation.
Last night bore out the same results as before. Dwight did his damage in single coverage but when the Mavs brought doubles after he made his move, he struggled. A few times, Dwight pump faked the pass, throwing off the help defense, but this was before he began his dribble. His problem still remains the double after he’s begun his move. And I don’t know how that can be fixed aside from getting him set closer to the hoop – any big man trying to dribble through that many arms in today’s modern NBA is going to have trouble.
Michael Pina posed an interesting question last night, over email: is Dwight a top 5 player again? At first, I was uncomfortable committing. But when pressed, who’s really better? Lebron and Durant, naturally. Chris Paul, possibly, though it’s not as if his team has fared better than Howard’s, despite better health. Harden – no. Paul George has been terrific, but also has been the beneficiary of a tremendous team scheme. Pina says that over the next three years, the only players he’d rather have than Howard are Lebron, Durant, and Anthony Davis. I’m leaning towards agreement.