McHale to start Howard and Asik vs. Mavs

McHale to start Howard and Asik vs. Mavs
October 20, 2013, 6:30 pm
Share This Post

Howard on him and Asik starting vs. Mavericks

Oct 16, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) drives against Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic (9) during the first half at Toyota Center.

(Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports)

The Rockets practiced big over the weekend and now they will start big against the Mavericks.

After Sunday’s practice, head coach Kevin McHale said he will start both Dwight Howard and Omer Asik when they host Dallas on Monday at 7 p.m.

“It will be a really good test because Dirk is such a good spread four,” McHale said. “Both Omer and Dwight haven’t done that that much. If that’s going to work, they’ll have to play against those type of guys. I want to look at that.

“They’re working their way through some stuff – our transition, a lot of little things because they both have the same instincts, which is to protect the rim and protect the paint. When one’s down there, the other one is going to have to pick up a trailing shooter, so there are some little things they’re working on.”

Sunday was the first time the team really practiced with both bigs on the floor.

“It was different,” Howard said. “It’s something we have to get adjusted to. It takes time. We just can’t get frustrated with it. For me, it’s a new position. For him, it’s a little bit different, too. Both of us like to be in the paint, protect the paint, and one of us got to get out and protect the three now.”

McHale is more curious to see how this lineup will work on the defensive end vs. the offensive end.

“Both of them have defensive instincts to get back to the paint and cover the paint,” McHale said. “Both of them want to kind of stay back. They don’t want to show high, get out. They’re both a little bit uncomfortable playing out on the floor, and one of the two is going to have to if they’re going to play together against the Dirk Nowitzkis of the world. They’re going to have to come out there and be a presence against them.”

Howard said he will be playing both the four and the five.  

“On defense I’ll be out chasing the guards and guys on the perimeter, and on offense I’ll be in the paint."

A day earlier, Howard was asked how he felt about expanding his defensive prowess beyond the lane.

“That’s something I got to get used to again,” Howard said. “I did it for a while in Orlando but nothing’s too hard for ‘Rocket Man.’”

Howard said he and Asik haven’t really talked about playing together in the same starting lineup.

“We’re teammates. It’s basketball. We have to learn how to play together.”

"We’re anxious to see how it works and if it can last an entire season," Rockets guard James Harden said.

One other note, McHale said he plans to start Jeremy Lin at point guard but wants to see more of him and Patrick Beverley on the floor at the same time.