Dwight Howard breaks the record for Free Throw Attempts in a single game

(MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

I am posting this after drinking a nice cold water and sitting on my couch thinking, did I just watch that? Did I watch the most boring second half in my entire life? Yes, I did actually do that and I have to say that I am throughly entertained. The reason was because it was something no one has ever seen in an NBA game.

With about 2 minutes left in the third quarter and Andris Biedrins in foul trouble with 5, the tallest player to guard the 6 foot 11 inches Dwight Howard was David Lee and he is only 6 foot 9. Not to mention, Howard is 265 pounds and David is 240. Howard was just muscling his way inside getting easy opportunities leading to his 45 points. 

So what could the Warriors do to stop Big number 12? The answer was send him to the free throw line. Dwight Howard had never shot more than 24 free throws in a game which he had four times previously. Certainly, nothing compared to the Warriors’ plans.

Howard eclipsed his old mark with in the third quarter, getting hacked and held intentionally at the end of each quarter. Golden State’s rookie coach Mark Jackson’s strategy slowed down the pace and refused to let the Magic’s potent shooters find their rhythm.

So what was Stan Van Gundy’s strategy when he saw what the old ESPN analyst was thinking? He said,

“I’m looking at them like, `We’re not going to run a play. He’s going to foul him,” Van Gundy said. “What are we going to bother with diagraming a play? Make the free throw, play some defense.”

That about summed up this entire game in a nut shell.

Howard broke Wilt Chamberlain’s nearly 50-year-old NBA record for most free throw attempts in a game, making 21 of 39 in the Orlando Magic’s 117-109 victory over the Golden State Warriors. He said after the game,

“I just tried to be aggressive and get to the line. I didn’t care if I missed 30,” Howard said. “I was still going to go up there and shoot the next one with confidence.”

He finished with 45 points and 23 rebounds and it was his 1st career game with 40+ points, 20+ rebounds.

He’s the only active player to accomplish that feat. The last player to have at least 40 points and 20 rebounds was Shaquille O’Neal who had 48 points and 20 rebounds against the Celtics on March 1, 2003, according to STATS LLC.

So I just had to tell you all out there that a new coach tried a new strategy after watching so many of his games year after year and Howard still beat the Warriors on their home floor. Even with Howard going 21-39 at the free throw, he shot 12-21 (57%) from the field. The guy just couldn’t get stopped.

Unfortunately, his next game will be against the New York Knicks. They have Tyson Chandler and a deeper bench so don’t expect the same result again. Just take this game in and say to yourself, did this really happen? Yes, it did. And we probably won’t see it happen again.

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