After an awful night from the free-throw line, shooting 3-of-14 in the loss to the Dallas Mavericks, the Portland Trail Blazers plan to force Dwight Howard to beat them from the charity stripe on Wednesday night at the Rose Garden according to The Columbian’s Blazers Banter via Twitter:
— blazerbanter (@blazerbanter) October 31, 2012
Lakers assistant coach Chuck Person claims that Howard is an exceptional free-throw shooter during scrimmages and practice sessions. So efficient that Howard is shooting slightly above 80 percent from the line, but that successful free-throw shooting hasn’t carried over to game-time situations.
Howard’s poor shooting may continue to hurt the Lakers moving forward with more teams around the league possibly jumping on the trend of sending the superstar center to the line once he touches the basketball. Howard will immediately feel the pressure of playing in Los Angeles if these struggles at the line continue as it may become a popular topic of discussion.
The same tactic was used for years when Shaquille O’Neal was playing for Los Angeles. The Hack-a-Shaq strategy didn’t prevent the Lakers from winning three straight NBA titles or dominating the Western Conference for half a decade or so, but it did become a liability for the Lakers as they simply couldn’t depend on Shaq to get the job done at the line in close games.
As if the pressure to succeed right out of the gate with his new team wasn’t overwhelming enough for the three-time Defensive Player of the Year, Howard will have to drastically improve the biggest flaw in his game in the near future or feel the wrath of the media and Lakers fans if he continues to struggle from the line.
It’ll be interesting to see if the new tactic or Hack-a-Dwight will work in the favor of the Portland Trail Blazers in the second game of the season for the Lakers. Expect a physical and possibly heated contest between the Lakers and Blazers tonight at the Rose Garden in this matchup of division rivals.
Check out what Mike Brown had to say about Kobe being “chippy” in practice today.
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