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Orlando Magic News for November 17th: Dwight Howard Simply Had a Bad Game, Says Henry Abbott

Busy day = late link post. Also, it's 50 degrees outside. Not sure how that's relevant.

  • Henry Abbott of TrueHoop reviewed the tape of yesterday's Magic/Bobcats game to see why Dwight Howard played so miserably:

    First of all, Howard only played 26 minutes before fouling out. The fouls were nothing special -- Howard tagged [Emeka] Okafor, Ryan Hollins, Raymond Felton, and Jared Dudley while they were shooting. Okafor drew an offensive foul, and Felton coaxed Howard into his sixth and final foul.

    Okafor fought just enough to keep Howard from getting deep position -- which as Hollinger points out keeps Howard from getting high percentage shots. On the rare occasions when he did get decent position, he simply missed, or went to the line where he was always been mediocre. It worked: Howard didn't score a single field goal.

    But the most striking thing about the video is how many times Howard was content to set a screen near the three-point line ... and then float. He was simply not at all in kill mode. For the vast majority of the time Orlando had the ball, Howard simply was not in the paint, which is where his advantages lie.

    Maybe he just wasn't in the mood. Maybe he's tired after a pretty intense chunk of the schedule. Maybe he needs a strong cup of coffee. Maybe he's banged up.

    But if you're a coach, scouting this game, trying to figure out how to get Howard to play this poorly against your team ... I see no lessons for you here, other than perhaps to hire a hypnotist to keep Howard from what he does best. Against this same defense, with a different mentality, on a different night, Howard is the same 21 and 14 guy he has been all season.

    Good news. One theory a commenter proposed is that Howard is resting for tomorrow's tilt with the Toronto Raptors. I don't like the idea of any player taking a game off, but if there is a game worth resting for, tomorrow's is it. Big game.

  • Stan Van Gundy cancelled the Magic's practice today, reports Brian Schmitz. The team's trainer reported that several players were a bit banged-up from the road trip. Plus, Anthony Johnson needed to renew his driver's license. That's too funny.

  • Here's how the Magic are doing in this week's Power Rankings:

  • Tony Battie gets an honorable mention as one of the NBA's Most Depressing Players of 2008, as selected by Empty The Bench.