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Monday, May 17th, 2010 at 9:00 am  |  67 responses

Rasheed Wallace: Dwight Howard’s Kryptonite?

by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoni

For two rounds through these NBA Playoffs, the only true concern Dwight Howard had was figuring out a way to stay out of foul trouble, so that he could be on the floor while the Orlando Magic pounded their opponent into submission.

The rest of the time, he was dunking merrily, blocking shots with abandon, and filming embarrassing halftime segments, during which he “interviewed” himself.

Those days are now officially over.

Dwight Howard’s new, harsh, and physically painful reality is at hand. And for that, he has the Boston Celtics — and a shockingly rejuvenated Rasheed Wallace — to thank.

Wallace — a man who enjoys a Bud Light or two with his postgame chat with reporters — and the rest of the Celtic frontline didn’t need to double team Howard; instead, they stole Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals by hacking, bumping, slapping and holding Dwight to an ineffective 13 points (on 3/10 shooting), rendering him a total non-factor on the offensive end.

Through ‘Sheed (whom teammate Kevin Garnett refers to as a “dirty veteran”), Boston may have stumbled into their not-so-secret weapon against Dwight Howard.

From WEEI:

Rasheed Wallace has a successful track record against Howard, and his ability to contain him played a large role in the Celtics push to sign him last summer. “Oh it was huge,” Doc Rivers said. “This summer we were thinking about how can we beat Orlando, not Cleveland, because Orlando won the East. So it was a big factor.”

[Rasheed’s] equally as big because you have two guys who are capable of matching with Howard one-on-one,” said Paul Pierce. “A lot of times you see teams go down and double him to where it frees up their shooters. We have the advantage to point where we don’t have to double with these guys guarding him. He’s going to be key, too, and if eventually, if Kevin has to guard him, we have another guy who can guard him.”

There is good reason why Wallace has played an average 27.8 minutes in four games against the Magic, five minutes more than his regular season average. Howard is averaging just 3.8 field goals per games this season against the Celtics, down from 6.5 last season. He has only made five field goals with Wallace on the floor (a total of 15 against the C’s).

Stan Van Gundy will undoubtedly find ways to free up Howard for easier shots as the series moves forward, but it’ll be up to Dwight to figure out a way to force Boston to double him on the block, thereby freeing up his shooters for open threes.

If Orlando allows Rasheed Wallace and the rest of the Celtics’ unsmiling front-line to continue to dictate the terms of engagement in this battle, Dwight Howard and the Magic could be in for a very rude awakening.

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  • Ken

    At least he’s getting to play against him. So much for the Shaquisition for Cleveland for the same purposes.

  • http://thekobebeef.wordpress.com LDR4

    Dwight Howard’s post game is his kryptonite. Everybody is acting like he has polished go-to move in the paint. What Dwight Howard have you been watching all season? He is good against smaller and weaker centers like the ones that Charlotte and Atlanta have but struggles the rest of the time. He’ll get it together for a game or two this series but the Magic need Rashard Lewis to return to form if they are to have a chance against Boston. I guess the Celtics found the fountain of youth this post season.

  • BostonBaller

    i like the post but it’s not like The Magic played soft and did their share of hacking, bumping, slapping, holding & elbowing. The Magic are just a bit more subtle with it, we are too loud. lol.

  • Atrain

    Howard doesn’t have have any post moves besides the spin/dunk combo he tries all the time. This is also the first good thing Sheed has done all season…doubt Boston had this in mind when they signed him to that 3 year deal but at this point they’ll probably take it

  • http://www.sovainmag.com SoVain

    I’m glad Rasheed Wallace can match up physically with Howard. Rasheed doesn’t have to worry about any up and under, nor does he have worry about Howard taking any outside shots. I think he’s Dwight’s Kryptonite. Ha

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Cheryl

    I was listening to Mark and Jeff and they were saying that Ewing, who is Howard’s big man coach, would have destroyed the Celts if they had played him the way they were playing Howard, because Pat had more than one move. yep. but my question is, if you’ve got a coach that had moves and counter moves and couldn’t teach them to the guy he’s supposed to be mentoring, well what’s that say? Do you fire the coach? Or do you say that Howard just doesn’t have the desire to get better? If he wants to dominate, he needs to develop a lot more than he has. But I know I’m “preaching to the choir”.

  • hillbilly

    Celts simply cannot afford to double Howard in this series. They have to limit his production while not giving up open looks to Nelson, Pietrus & co.
    That’s a pretty tall order…but, they proved in the first game that it can be done.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if Doc decides to go with the Hack-a-Howard strategy just to stay in his head & keep him from getting into any sort of rhythm, offensively. Sheldon Williams? Put down that burrito and get to hackin’, son.

  • paolo

    It is a disgrace that he forgets Perkins. That man is playing Dwight tough, not giving an inch, bumping. Classic big man from 90′s.

    Dwight, maybe it is time to stop smilling?

  • Eric

    The biggest thing about Sheed doing a great job on Howard is that between him and Perk they have double the fouls to give. Paolo I was hoping for more Perk references as well, but the fact that he was brought up only by Pierce and not by name is actually a compliment to Kendrick as if it goes without saying. It’s been a long time since the Celts could say that their bigs are the key to winning a series…and that time is NOW! Doc said so himself, these C’s were built to beat the Magic.

  • ClydeSays

    Perk definitely leads the way in defending Howard. I still expect Dwight to have at least 1 big game, but the C’s won’t lay off him. He scores too easily if you give him room in the post.

    As far as Dwight’s game, he should have a short jumper & a reliable FT at this point. Unlike Perk & Bynum, Howard is often the focus of his team’s offense. He needs to develop some kind of jumper and his his FTs at a higher percentage.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/farmer-jones/ Ryan Jones

    “…you know, dab, dab’n, dab’n.” I’m claiming that.

  • Hangtime Hec

    Great players don’t often become great teachers. Teaching and learning are two different beasts. Though Howard did learn some moves. So the connection between teacher and student is there.

  • vtrobot

    ewing is teaching dwight to be a great “almost.”

  • Kadavour

    who’s worse in the post, Dwight or LeBron? why do these two all-world all-time physiques have no fundamental ability where it would benefit them most?

  • Ali

    Ewing ain’t doing a damn thing to help this kid! Yeah I said AIN’T! You would think after years of working with one the all time great centers in his prime Howard would be a serious beast night in and night out and would oppose his will on teams. I just don’t see it!

  • http:slamonline.com Allenp

    Perkins is more of a problem than Sheed. If Howard stops complaining to the refs so much, he can score on Sheed. Sheed doesn’t want to bang all game long.

  • http:slamonline.com Allenp

    Patrick Ewing is not the right coach for Dwight.
    Ewing was more of a finesse center, who developed and mastered a real nice jump shot. Dwight has shown no ability to shoot jumpers, at all. He needs to looks at some old Moses Malone tapes, and stop complaining so damn much.

  • BostonBaller

    I agree Allenp but Sheed doesn’t have to bang all night just part of it and I’m sure he’s more than willing to use his 6 when he does bang. This post was about roscoe, that’s why Perk wasn’t mentioned more often. just say’n.

  • LOAF

    Ha thats a good point cheryl, i remeber them saying that last night, so if the guy that would of destroyed the celtics but has been mentoring howard for like 3 years now?

    is howard just incapable of learning post moves? or is just not able to do them? or is just isnt insterested?

  • T-Money

    Allenp: I beg to differ. Sheed can play physical when he is motivated. He clearly is motivated agaisnt Howard and he’s been shutting him down since the Detroit days.

  • http://staticseth.blogspot.com Seth

    This is about as good of a time as any for Wallace to rejuvenate himself, Finals aside assuming the Cs get there. In a sense he’s playing to keep his job because a lot of people are unhappy with him.

  • MVPballer

    Ewing is teaching D12 how to not get a ring.

  • T-Money

    I find it baffling that people are implying that Ewing is at fault. The guy has been in the league for what, 5 years now? His offensive game is as raw as when he was in HS.

  • K.a.

    Man sheed used to own dwight when he was a piston.

  • riggs

    lmao @ mvpballer

  • http://heavyasheaven.blogspot.com DP

    Yeah Howard’s post game has always been a$$ to me. Thank God the guy is athletic and can rebound and block shots.

  • All Day

    Ball don’t lie!!!!!

  • http://big11mel@yahoo.com Big Mel

    Yes Sheed used to own D.Howard but the Pistons did in general because they had big men,thats why the Lakers beat them last year and why Boston will beat them this year,oh yeah Kendrick Perkins for all the people cryin about not mentioning him.

  • jb

    Neeeeed4sheeeeeed

  • Bash

    i agree with whoever said that ewing is not the right guy to be teaching dwight. dwight is a power guy, ewing was more about finesse and jump shooting. can dwight improve in those areas? absolutely, and he should, but why not capitalize on the gifts he has already: power and athleticism? if shaq retires, i say dwight makes an effort to spend some time with him over the summer.

  • http://www.springbored.net letsmotor

    the last comment was me, not Bash. sorry. don’t know how that happened.

  • All Day

    Dwight will need to develop a mid-range jumper in order to take his game to the next level. The Admiral had one, Hakeem had one, Ewing had one, Duncan has one…hell even big Z has one. He also needs to improve his free-throw shooting.

  • All Day

    @Bash\letsmotor: Dwight needs to stay as far away from Shaq as possible. What can Dwight learn from Shaq? Low post moves? No. Free throw shooting? Hell no! Mid range jumper? Yeah right! What can Dwight learn from Shaq? How to throw teammates under the bus…how to arrive at training camp every year overweight and out of shape…how to dog it for 3/4 of the season and finally start playing ball with 20-30 games left in the season.

  • Yesse

    I ain’t gonna say anything yet to that.

  • T-Money

    all day: he doesn’t need a mid range jumper. he needs to be able to punish single coverage. He needs 3 moves (left and right from either block with a defender behind him): a drop step, a jump hook and an up-and-under. that’s it. taking a jumper would be doing the defense a favor. none of the bigs you listed are as physical as dwight. he needs to watch shaq’s tapes in his orlando days or early lakers days. he rode those 3 moves to 30 points a game. he’ll never have the natural touch that shaq had but he could AT LEAST crack 20 points per game!

  • era

    D12 is Ben Wallace + hops and a couple of inches. Dwight doesn’t have any offensive talents besides being tall and athletic why does anybody think he is even able to develop a good post game? He does not have a touch around the rim. he gets 18ppg because there aren’t any real centers around anymore.
    I cant remember anyone trying to teach big ben or dennis rodman some offense, because that was a lost cause. Just because dwight has a couple inshes more does not mean he is more able than those 2.

  • The Philosopher

    I said a long time ago that Dwight Howard has already peaked offensively, but, you know… he may get a LITTLE better, but he’s been in for awhile now. And Ewing does have a lot to offer,(though he’s probably maxed out, at this point) for there is no other qualified big man coach in the League currently. Who else is going to help him? Kareem is from a different generation. Dikembe? Not really, right? Who?

  • The Philosopher

    And Olajuwon, in my opinion can’t physically do it. (He’s had heart issues for years).

  • http://www.springbored.net letsmotor

    @All Day: maybe Shaq can teach Dwight how to have no jumper, no highly developed most moves, and no ability to shoot free throws and still manage to be dominant based almost solely on the type of body he has?

  • TRK

    Howard might be the worst offensive big man in the league. He has no moves at all in the post. No drop step, no fade away, no face up jumper, no up and under, no nothing! If Ewing is his teacher, then Ewing is the worst teacher on the planet earth. How can Howard with all his money plus all the resources that are available to him be this disgraceful with the ball in his hands? And why do the so called experts like Barkley, Webber, Legler, and Stephen A Smith (as though any of those clowns know anything about winning a championship) label him as the best center in the league? He will be the reason the Magic lose this series and Gundy will pay the price. For the Howard fans, don’t worry he’ll still interview himself, make commercials, and dance in front of the cameras. Sorry Orlando no title for you.

  • http://Twitter.com/pdxgaybball Dma

    We all know the real reason the celts traded for Nate Rob was to get him close enough to Dwight. And I have to disagree with the abc guys – Ewing played in a different NBA era. Put him in today’s NBA and he’d be Memhet Okur-like. Bigger and faster guards, no 5 second backdown rule, and the ability to zone up would take away that running/walking hook he had.

  • The Philosopher

    @Dma: I respectfully disagree about Ewing with the zone. Ewing was the best shooting center the League has ever seen until he tore his wrist up. This is a fact.

  • The Philosopher

    Before Ewing hurt his wrist, he had this nasty turn-around jumper that was a go to move for him. He was a complete offensive center with the exception of passing. Robinson and Olajuwon were far better passers than Ewing, but Brad Daugherty was the best passing center of their day. I’m babbling, don’t mind me, for SLAM is the greatest basketball site ever, and I appreciate this kind of forum to babble.

  • J-Bird

    Im baffled at the way Dwight handles losing, last year after the finals he was all smiles, watching the lakers celebrate on his court, talking about how proud he was of his team, and then after yesterdays loss he he was saying how happy he was about the way his team battled. Magic fans better hope Dwight develops some kind of offensive game, or just stops smiling after losses.

  • http://www.stuffwhitepeoplelike.com Tarzan Cooper

    Dwight has made progress but there is stilll plenty of work to do

  • BostonBaller

    I agree with The Philosopher as he Philosopherizes or babbles or whatever it isa we do here…lol

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    Y’all bunch of haters, Dwight has made tremendous progress since coming to the L.
    Year 1: Pump shoulders
    Year 2: Pump biceps
    Year 3: Pump triceps
    Year 4: Set moving screens, don’t get called for it
    Year 5: Elbows errywhere
    Year 6: “Dominate” as long as no one is in front of the basket.

  • Shem

    Unlike Nazr Mohammed and Al Horford Sheed got rough with Dwight, on 2 occasions they got tangled up and surprisingly the 2nd was a tec. Dwight’s post game was clearly predictable. He caught it on the left and drove it across the lane and same goes for the right. He kept shooting those sweeping hooks and Sheed simply beat him to the spot everytime. Dwight’s gotta back him down maybe throw some pump fakes in there a shimmy or two and not be so predictable. Clearly if you force him to catch it maybe 10 or 12 feet away, you know he wont shoot a turn around J but I’m sure he ll work on that this summer

  • T-Money

    Dwight’s gotta back him down maybe throw some pump fakes in there a shimmy or two. – You mean play basketball?

  • http://www.aussiebball.com south01

    what a croc of B.S ,, Sheed isn’t anyone’s Kryptonite, he is a has been and shouldn’t be on the court, he comes on creates turnovers is lazy on D and loses us the lead..

    he does us a favour when he gets fouls and goes to the bench..

    The crowd cringe when he jacks up threes, and cheer when he heads top the bench where he belongs, enjoys more than one Budlight and Domino’s with it!

    he should take his game seriously and train harder and play with some kind of enthusiasm.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    @ Cheryl: You raise an interesting point, but you seriously can’t blame Patrick Ewing for Dwight Howard’s lack of post moves. First of all, Howard HAS improved his post game a lot from what he had before Ewing came to town.
    Second, Patrick Ewing IS a good coach–just look at what he did for Yao Ming in Houston. Many of Yao’s moves are very, very reminiscent of what Mr. Chewing did in his New York days, especially that big-man turnaround J off the block.
    Yao Ming is a great scorer, and on isolation he dominates other centers. Dwight? Better defender, sure, but not a “go get buckets” type of cactus.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    LOL @ Dma: “Ewing played in a different NBA era. Put him in today’s NBA and he’d be Memhet Okur-like”
    I respectfully desire to ask you, WHAT THE F*CK?!
    Patrick Ewing in today’s game would be the BEST CENTER IN THE LEAGUE. He had a full array of post moves and was a great shotblocker/defender. Get Howard to guard him and he would own him like Yao owns Howard 1-on-1.
    Passing was Patrick’s only knock, but when you are that gifted offensively, it’s something you can let go.
    Honestly, you just CAN’T compare today’s centers to the juggernauts of the 90′s, with the exception of Yao Ming and Dwight Howard.
    Seriously, the game HAS NO MORE REAL CENTERS beyond these two, and yet, you’re trying to tell me Patrick Ewing wouldn’t be great today because he played in a different era?
    Who would stop Patrick Ewing? Chris Kaman? Darko? Oh wait, maybe Tyson Chandler? LOL people really need to show Ewing more respect around here…
    Again, no offense, but WHAT?!

  • http://www.youtube.com/ The Promise

    Lmbo@Anton

  • The Philosopher

    Dwight Howard, even if he develops a simple jump hook, toss it from different angles and does it confidently, he can become a legitimate 20ppg scorer. Kevin Willis, who was also deficient offensively, had a NASTY jump hook. I mean, NASTY. There were nights when Kevin Willis was lights out with that jump hook.

  • got beef?

    everyone saying Dwight has no game, its not Dwight, its Perk’s D on Howard, Dwight never has good games against Perkins

  • Shem

    @T money: YES i mean play basketball, Dwight’s an athlete not a basketball player. I have never seen him do a shimmy. How often do you see Dwight do pumpfakes on the post? MAYBE 1/10 times.. maybe. He just drives it or hooks it and the magic wonder to why he doesn’t score on the post. He’s way too predictable.

  • John R. S.

    The Celtic’s win wasn’t due all that much to Sheed, though Sheed did play better than usual. It was due mainly to the Celtics having more offensive options than the Magic have, and that they all play team defense.

    Orlando’s greatest hope is that Sheed will revert to form, but the Celtics will prove themselves the better TEAM even if that does happen, IMO.

  • Ryan.T.

    Howard seems satisfied on just dunking on people… If he was committed to improving his offensive repetoire he would have been nearly unstoppable by now.. It would be kinda like telling Shaq to start shooting more jumpshots, it’s not what his game is so he’s not gonna commit to it.. And please stop with all these stupid pre-game celebrations the players do, it’s not cool or funny, they just look like idiots

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    Looks like we had this same “Dwight’s offensive game stinks” conversation last year. I truly doubt he will ever improve his offensive game, from how he literally takes offense and gets really sensitive every time anyone criticizes him for it.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    It doesn’t help that SVG acts the same over-sensitive way wrt criticism about Dwight’s offensive game. Remember his comments about the MVP being biased toward offensive players? This sort of talk affirms the mindset that Dwight does not need to improve his offense, since he “should’ve” been MVP already.

  • http://hoopistani.blogspot.com Hoopistani

    Kyrptosheed

  • rikson

    With the new rules introduced every year, athletes take the league over…. deal with it!

  • thegfunk

    Anybody else see the rodman flops from davis checking dwight…………jeez

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  • BostonBaller

    ^^yes, Davis went down 1x on what I called a blop but I think the offensive foul was more from the 2nd of 2 elbows to the chop on that 1 single play…Rodman went down a lot but most of the offensive fouls he drew were legit.

  • http://thegayestwebsiteever.com Big Ben

    Just check the Magic’s record against the Pistons since the Sheed trade. It seemed like the Pistons ended Orlando’s season every year there for a while…

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