HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 27: Dwight Howard #12 of the Houston Rockets poses for a team photographer during Houston Rockets Media Day at the Toyota Center on September 27, 2013 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Go ahead, boo Dwight Howard. But save some energy to cheer the Mavericks.
Howard visits American Airlines Center Wednesday night for the first time since spurning the Mavs’ free-agent overtures last summer.
Mark Cuban and Dirk Nowitzki visited Howard, selling him on the team’s consistency and upside. But Howard picked Houston, mainly because he wanted to play alongside a younger James Harden rather than an aging Nowitzki.
Before the Rockets and Mavs played in Houston on Nov. 1, Cuban fueled the fire of what should be Dallas’ most fierce rival this season.
“Obviously, Dwight made a mistake in judgment,” the owner told reporters. “Do I blame him? No, that’s what young kids do. They make mistakes in judgment.”
Howard will be booed Wednesday, no doubt. And, at some point, he’ll also be fouled. Repeatedly. He leads the NBA with 14 rebounds per game, but his late-game free-throw troubles have prompted teams to intentionally foul him down the stretch. In the teams’ earlier meeting Howard had 13 points and 16 rebounds, and Harden paved the way for Houston’s 113-105 win with 34 points.
Would Howard have looked swell in a Mavs’ uniform? Obviously. This franchise has never had a man in the middle with those skills. But the consolation prize and the Plan B don’t look too bad at this point.
Veteran center Samuel Dalembert is averaging seven points and seven rebounds and the Mavs – with a win Wednesday – will improve to 6-0 at home for the first time since ’08 and will have a great shot of jumping out of the gate 9-4 with a layup against 1-11 Utah at home Friday night.
Boo Howard. But don’t fret too much over what could have been, when what actually happened isn’t so bad after all
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently writes a sports/guy stuff blog at DFWSportatorium.com and lives in McKinney with his fiancee, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.