Orlando Magic superstar center Dwight Howard proved once again on Wednesday why he is the leading vote-getter among the NBA all-stars by dominating the rival Miami Heat in a variety of ways.
Dwight spearheaded Orlando’s 102-89 thumping of the Heat on Wednesday with 25 points and 24 rebounds. And for good measure, Dwight added four assists, three steals, two blocks and about a dozen altered shots in the Magic’s biggest victory of the season.
“We needed a good win, we came out with pretty much the same energy we had last game and we got a good win,’’ Dwight said. “We just have to continue to do that, be more consistent and come out with the same intensity every night. I think we did a good sustaining the little run Miami made in the third quarter. All in all, we kept playing and got a good win.’’
The 20-point, 20-rebound effort was Dwight’s sixth of the season, easily the most in the NBA. Also, it’s the 38th 20/20 night of Dwight’s stellar eight-year NBA career, far and away the most among active players.
Dwight is on somewhat of a tear of late, averaging 25.4 points and 16.4 rebounds in the past five games – four of which have been Magic victories. His 33-point, 14-rebound effort on Monday against the Clippers and his 25-point, 24-rebound performance on Wednesday make him a favorite to win the Eastern Conference’s Player of the Week award for a second time this season.
Dwight is crafting another MVP-worthy season. He ranks first in the NBA in rebounding (15.4) and field goal percentage (56.6), he’s second in double-doubles (20), third in minutes played (38.2), fifth in blocks (2.19) and 11th in scoring (21.0).
Dwight was so dominant on the inside on Wednesday that he attracted the attention of Miami’s defense and it freed up the Magic to make 17 3-pointers and attempt a franchise record 42 of them. Dwight’s four assists played a big role in the Magic’s big shooting night from afar.
To keep this roll of solid play going, Dwight says the Magic must continue to share the ball and not turn it over.
“We’ve got to stop turning the ball over. That’s how every team came back in games with us,’’ Dwight said. “When we don’t turn the ball over, we’re passing the ball great; it’s tough for teams to defend us. So we have to do a better job of moving the ball well night in and night out. When teams pressure us, instead of speeding up, we have to slow down.’’