Dwight Howard finished last night's Lakers-Nuggets game with 15 points, 14 rebounds, and four blocked shots. That is a perfectly acceptable stat line, and it's the kind of line that Howard has been putting up all year. But last night's game also featured a collection of moments that served as reminders that despite his respectable numbers, there is something off about Howard's game.
In the clip at the top of the page, you will see Dwight Howard bully his way into the post against JaVale McGee, unleash a halfhearted pump fake, and then have his attempted hook shot blocked with ease.
Here's Howard completely ignoring a loose ball just a few feet from his grasp and allowing the Nuggets to corral another turnover:
And here he is near the end of the game, getting an alley-oop spiked on his head by Kenneth Faried:
Whether because of injury, fatigue, or disinterest, Howard was a step slow time and time again. But the Nuggets, whose fast-paced and frenetic style is designed to expose opponents who are a step slow, simply laid bare issues that have been plaguing Howard all year. He used to be the larger-than-life presence who commanded your attention and wasn't so easily victimized by the likes of JaVale McGee. Now he's just kind of there, putting up decent numbers, getting dunked on, and anchoring a defense that spent last night giving up 78 points in the paint.