The acquisition of Dwight Howard this past offseason was clearly made to push the Rockets further from the playoff bubble and closer to championship condition. The Rockets beat Phoenix 122-108 in their 50th game of the season on Wednesday night to raise their record to 33-17. That gives them the fourth best record in the western conference and marks a six win improvement over last season's 27-23 record through 50 games.
For the first time this season, Howard has scored 20 or more points in four consecutive games. The Rockets have won all four of those games and that four game winning streak is their second longest of the season. He finished with 34 points on 11-of-17 shooting against the Suns, one point shy of his season high. He's averaging 26 points during the team's winning streak.
"I'm just being patient and letting my teammates find me in the right spot," Howard said. "I'm not rushing my shot. Last couple of days in practice, working with Carroll (Dawson), we've been talking about after I've got my man beat, just slow down and make the shot. So I've just been trying to do that."
"If teams are going to stay home and allow me to go one-on-one, that's fine for me. If they double team, then I just try to find my guys and make plays out of the post."
Howard has made 32-of-54 shots (59.2 percent) over his last four games and has connected on 40-of-62 free throws (64.5 percent), well up from his season percentage of 54.5 percent.
“It makes things a lot easier because he (Dwight) is going to eventually start drawing double teams," Chandler Parsons, who had 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting in Wednesday night's win over Phoenix, said. "He is making it hard for them to contain him one on one down low and it's going to open up a lot of open shots on the perimeter. Nights like this we just have to keep getting him the ball. There is no way those guys can guard him one on one. They're going to have to start bringing two and that's when our offense will be unguardable.”