With only one marquee matchup in college basketball tonight, I went through some recorded NBA games and took in the Eastern conference battle from Sunday between Boston and Orlando. Both teams were rollin' around Christmas time but both are sputtering a little now, Orlando especially.

One of the big things I noticed was how the Magic were unsuccessful many times at getting Dwight Howard the ball. I haven't seen that many Magic games, but from the limited video I've seen, I definitely think there is some blame to go around both with Howard himself and his teammates. No question though, the Magic aren't going anywhere unless they get Howard on a roll. Take a look,

Some pictures to see what's going on here. In this first sequence, Howard is able to pin his man down low. The pass comes, and hits Howard right on the hands but he's just not able to hang on. I know there was a foul called on the play against the Celtics, but still, Howard needs to be able to catch that ball. Shaq in this respect is the master, he can catch a pass like that with one hand,

In this next sequence, Howard comes off the pick and roll and both defenders go towards the ball. Howard is rolling to the basket with only a guard down on help side. Feed him the ball. Instead, Turkoglu shoots the 3. That's another thing. I know the Magic are one of the best 3-point FG% shooters at 39% but I think they should work inside-out instead,

This last sequence is similar to the first one in that Howard just isn't working hard enough to get position. He's going chest to chest with Powe, when instead he should be using a swim move or a step through move to gain the position. He gives up and tries to set a screen for Lewis in the corner,


It still amazes me that Dwight Howard does not take the most shots on his team, he's third behind Lewis and Turkoglu. That's not to say that both those guys can't score, but you've got Dwight Howard on your team. Heck Howard shoots 57% from the field and averages more points than Lewis and Turkoglu despite taking less shots. I know that the NBA and all of basketball is on the guard trend these days, but still, when you've got a guy that can dunk on a 13-foot basket, you've got to find a way to get him more than 20 ppg.

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