Dwight Howard on his dominating performance vs. Pistons
Dwight Howard picked a fine time to have his finest game of the season.
With James Harden (ankle) and Jeremy Lin (back) both out of action, along with Omer Asik (thigh/knee), the Rockets leaned on Howard's broad shoulders from the opening tip-off and he carried them to an impressive 114-97 victory on the road against Detroit.
Howard was unstoppable on both ends with 35 points, 19 rebounds and five assists. It's just the third game of his 10-year NBA career in which he's posted at least 35 points and grabbed 19 or more rebounds.
"Coach told me before the game he was going to ride the big horse," Howard said. "He told me to get my saddle and giddyup."
Howard got the ball on the opening possession and worked over second-year center for the first of his 13 buckets and finished the first quarter with 14 points and seven rebounds. By halftime, Howard already had 23 points and 12 rebounds.
"Everybody was hurting today, but I'm glad we got a good win," Howard said. "We bounced back from the ugly game last night. It was good for us."
The Rockets 17-point winning margin over the Pistons was their largest margin of victory on the road this season. Of course as Howard mentioned, it followed their most lopsided loss of the season Friday night in Indiana.
Houston also improved their record on the second night of back-to-back games to 6-1.
"It doesn't matter how many guys we've got, it doesn't matter who is playing and who's not playing," Rockets head coach Kevin McHale said. "We just have to go out there and play together and play with some toughness. Toughness and togetherness overcomes a lot of stuff."
He had plenty of good things to say about Howard, who made 13-of-18 shots tonight and is shooting an incredible 68.9 percent over his last five games.
"He (Dwight) was fantastic tonight. We went to him steady and he delivered steady. He's in a nice flow, he's taking shots he wants to take. He's not rushed, he's going quick, but he's not in a hurry."