Blog Entry

Dwight Howard wants the ball in the fourth

Posted on: February 12, 2012 3:17 pm
If Howard wants the ball in the fourth, he's going to need to do better than 49 percent at the free throw line. (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

There's often a trend with pretty much every Orlando Magic game. Dwight Howard dominates for three quarters and then fades in the fourth taking only two or three shots.

Why? Because defenses clamp down, clog the paint, foul him when he gets it near the basket and he doesn't have teammates that can create good opportunities for him. It's not like someone like LeBron disappearing. Howard can't really help it. He doesn't handle the ball, can't create for himself and in general, has to be set up with opportunities.

But he wants the ball. He wants to be a fourth quarter player. He wants to start shouldering that load, on his very oddly wide shoulders. Via

"I do want the ball more in the fourth quarter," a frustrated Howard told FOX Sports exclusively after the game.

"I want to become a closer. The only way you get there is by getting the ball and have coach have the confidence in giving me the ball.

"That’s how Kobe (Bryant) and the rest of the great fourth-quarter players got that way. It’s trial and error. When Kobe first got in the league, it took him a while to become the killer he is in the fourth quarter now. That’s because he went through that phase where he had to learn what shots to take and just get confidence in taking shots in the fourth quarter.

"That’s one thing that I want for myself, so I can become the guy who finishes games for my team. I want to be that guy whose team wants him to close games out for them. Coach just needs to have confidence in me."

Obviously the Magic would love for him to be that closer too, but as I mentioned above, there are obstacles. The most obvious one being Howard has to do better at the free throw line. He's shooting just 49 percent from the stripe this season (a career-low, by a longshot) and hasn't ever shown the ability to be a consistent back-to-the-basket scorer. He gets a lot from lobs, putbacks and just overpowering his defender.

Howard doesn't care though. He wants the ball.
"Just run plays through me, so I can be comfortable in being the guy and have confidence in getting the ball late in the game and scoring," Howard said.

"That’s what I’m worth. I want to be that guy who controls games. As a kid, that’s what you dream about in the NBA, taking that shot. I want to do that.

"I’m the leader of the team. Ride my back. I’ll lead. I don’t care if I miss every single shot, I’m going to continue to play hard. Just get on my back.

"That’s why they call me Superman."

Actually, I'm not sure THAT'S why. I'm pretty sure it has more to do with you putting on a cape and calling yourself that, but whatever. Not the point.

It's such a challenge to do that with a post player though. It's so difficult to rely on a guy on the block to hit a crucial late game shot. Shaq was sort of an exception, but still, he faced challenges of Hack-a-Shaq and Kobe getting him the ball.

The Magic have always been most dangerous when they play inside-out with Howard drawing extra defenders and then kicking out to a shooter or to someone who can penetrate a rotating defense and then dish again. They've never really succeeded just dumping the ball to Howard and letting him go to work. He doesn't have the footwork or touch to really do that.

But he wants the shot. And at this point with his future in the air with Orlando, it might be best to just give him what he wants.

Since: Jul 26, 2009
Posted on: February 13, 2012 12:10 pm

Dwight Howard wants the ball in the fourth

Learn how to shoot free throws at 70+% and you will.

Since: Jul 14, 2010
Posted on: February 13, 2012 10:20 am

Dwight Howard wants the ball in the fourth

156 out of 318 at the line

that's why

Since: Apr 9, 2008
Posted on: February 13, 2012 9:51 am

These Howard quotes illustrate everything that's

wrong with the NBA.  Unbelievable.  Howard: "Hey, I know I can't shoot; I know I have no post-up moves; I know I'm a FT choker; and I know it will only hurt my team to give me the ball in the 4th quarter of a close game--but HEY!--this is ALL ABOUT ME!  AND MY EGO! AND MY PAYCHECK!  SO GIVE ME THE DAMN BALL AND WATCH ME THROW THE GAME AWAY--I'M SUPERMAN."

Thank God for Jeremy Lin.  Too bad you have to get to the end of an NBA bench to find a player who knows what it means to put the team first.  

Since: Feb 13, 2012
Posted on: February 13, 2012 9:22 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Jan 13, 2011
Posted on: February 13, 2012 3:27 am

Dwight Howard wants the ball in the fourth

When Howard is willing to put his ego aside and at least try the underhanded free throw to get his percentage up, then he can gripe about not getting the ball late in games and wanting to be a closer. A closer can shoot free throws. Howard clearly cannot. If a player's ego is more important than winning, he's not the guy I want with the ball in his hands at the end of the game. Grow a pair, Dwight. Show you're willing to do whatever it takes to win. If not, just shut up.

Since: Feb 12, 2012
Posted on: February 12, 2012 11:51 pm

Dwight Howard wants the ball in the fourth

i love the magic with or without howard before 92(year we got shaq)the year b4 i was a kid and loved da magic every1 was hurt that year we won 20 games anyways since im alil tipsy none of dis has to do with the article but ima tell every1 whats wrong wid the magic. when it comes to getting another superstar u have to clear alota cap space or give everythang away that looks promising, to get the deal done neither of which magic was going to do because it guarntees a year or 2 of not contending,either u clear cap room and u have soso players for a year to clear space or 2 superstars no good role players, so i understand why otis smith built the team the way he did just the wrong talent. he had to make a move after the finals lost we wouldnt of beaten the lakers the next year with the same team.otis makes all kinds of trades trying to keep the team a contender the hole time. when teams know your trying to stay contending they get the better end of the deal as far as the future and cap space goes. were paying to win now there going the long run ur capped strapd.dis team needs a point guard bad.i want eric gordon. if i was otis i would keep rhino,jrich,vonwafer,d12,earl clark,jj questionable, and go get younger athletic and taller at the wings.turk is tall but hes to inconsistant. but if we want to compete jus dis year get steve nash. only chance to compete

Since: Oct 16, 2011
Posted on: February 12, 2012 8:50 pm

Dwight Howard wants the ball in the fourth

Part of this was the Magic's deciding to have Ewing (and not Olijuwon or Moses Malone) tutor Howard early in career. There was no posibility of Dwight being a jump shooter from the post so I never understood why they had Ewing tutor him? That was Van Gundy putting the loyalty of a fmaily friend over the good of developing a young player. In 1 1/2 years of Howard working with Hakeem his post moves have shown vat improvement over where he was with Ewing. Not where they need to be, but he is at leats visiably getting better in the post. Smart of Howard to figure this out, but the Magic wasted a few years of his development. 

Since: Nov 6, 2006
Posted on: February 12, 2012 7:35 pm

Dwight Howard wants the ball in the fourth

Get your free throw percentage up to 75% and you just might see the ball more late in games. As it is, you can't be trusted to handle the ball, you're a liability on the offensive end.

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