Pruiti: Orlando Magic, Not Boston Celtics, Responsible for Stopping Dwight Howard Yesterday

BOSTON MA - FEBRUARY 06: Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic heads for the basket as Kevin Garnett #5 and Glen Davis #11 of the Boston Celtics defend on February 6 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston Massachusetts. The Celtics defeated the Magic 91-80. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and/or using this Photograph User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Among the problems facing the Orlando Magic as they look to right the ship in the dog days of the season--Orlando's just 7-8 in its last 15 games--is how to keep franchise center Dwight Howard involved in the offense. He scored 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting against the Boston Celtics Sunday afternoon and looked well on his way to a huge offensive night. However, he finished with 28 points on 10-of-20 shooting and had just 6 field-goal attempts in the second half. Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook broke down Howard's offense from that loss in this must-read post, using video to show off Howard's impressive low-post repertoire.

Howard's problem isn't a lack of back-to-basket skill, but rather a lack of opportunities, Pruiti says:

I understand that you can’t give Dwight the basketball late in the game because of his poor foul shooting, but after scoring 22 points in the 1st half, he needs to get more than five touches in the post in the 2nd half.

Compounding the issue for Howard? His perimeter teammates shot poorly, which enabled Celtics coach Doc Rivers to abandon his usually rigid policy of never double-teaming. " They weren’t the hardest doubles," Pruiti says, "but you can tell they threw off Howard a bit, mainly because he wasn’t expecting it." Ultimately, he concludes the Magic, not the Celtics, "stopped Howard" because of "their inability to feed him the basketball in the second half."

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