Tim Povtak has great news: Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard wants more shots, and he wants his teammates to stop shooting so many three-pointers.
He wants the ball more. And finally -- midway into the season -- he demanded it behind closed doors.
"I have reminded them (his teammates),'' Howard said with his usual politically-correct response Wednesday after practice. "We have to make better decisions with the ball, where we pass it, and where we take it.''
Coach Stan Van Gundy agrees that his team hasn't executed its offense well of late:
"I don't think, lately, that our decisions on when to shoot, when to drive and when to pass, have been very good,'' said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy. "We've shot a lot of contested shots, contested 3's. In the last four games, we've had fairly lengthy stretches where we stand around and just jack the ball up. It has cost us.''
To be clear, Howard's had his chances to score during the four-game stretch Van Gundy mentions, averaging 22 points on 17 shooting possessions, which far exceeds his season averages of 17 points on 14 shooting possessions. The issue is timeliness. Regarding the Magic's most recent game, a loss to Memphis on Monday night, Povtak writes: "His teammates hit only one of 10 from 3-point range in the fourth quarter of a 99-94 loss. During that period, he took two shots, but none in the final six minutes."
No word on how the Magic expect to get Howard involved against the Boston Celtics tomorrow night. Boston defends Howard as well as any team in the league thanks to its stout defensive center rotation of Kendrick Perkins and Rasheed Wallace. Still, if Howard's speech had any effect, we can look forward to his becoming more involved offensively... and staying more consistently involved.
UPDATE: Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel says Povtak took "a leap" with his story, and provides a full transcript of Howard's comments.