Here’s the reality for Dwight Howard: The biggest contribution he can make in a tight game is taking a seat on the bench. It was must have been humbling for the Rockets’ big man to know he couldn’t be trusted during the closing minutes of their win over the Warriors.
The Rockets had little choice late in Game Three. Golden State had a miserable night shooting without Stephen Curry but still could have won – and nearly did – after playing Hack-a-Howard defense. Howard evolved into the Warriors’ secret weapon in a big comeback.
Howard was forced to Houston’s bench with 2:48 remaining after missing six of seven free throws, even though it compromised defense and rebounding. James Harden came through in the clutch for a 97-96 victory.
You would think a guy making $22 million could make free throws. He made only 48 percent during the regular season and only 40 percent from the line in three playoff games. In a close game, there isn’t much value in a guy who fails to convert 60 percent of the shots that his team needs most.