The last time a Charlotte player logged a 20-point, 20-rebound game, it was Al Jefferson doing the damage four years ago. Last night marked the end of that long drought as Dwight Howard went to the fountain of youth against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
* Recap: Hornets 118, Wolves 102
Howard talked all offseason about how excited he was to be reunited with coach Steve Clifford, who was one of Howard's assistant coaches when both men were with the Orlando Magic. Clifford has shown faith in Howard already in this young season and did so last night as the Wolves went to the "Hack-a-Howard" strategy to try and get back in the game. Howard's 6-for-10 performance at the free throw line certainly bolstered Clifford's faith as well, writes Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer:
What was Howard thinking? Actually, his mind drifted to a documentary he watched recently on the manhunt for the Unabomber. It distracted him from the pressure the Wolves (10-7) were looking to apply with repeated intentional fouls.
"Tonight, I was just…I don’t want to say the word," Howard said, before spelling out a commonly-used profanity.
"That was my whole mindset: They fouled me? Who cares. That means they respect myself and our offense enough that they feel like they have to foul to get us not scoring."
"If I make it, I make it. If I don’t make it, go back down the court and get a stop. Instead of thinking, ‘I’ve got to make this shot or the fans will be like, ‘Ooh, Aah!’ and coach might take me out.
"Just forget about all the B.S., and just shoot."
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