The inventor of the free throw, or at least the coiner of the term, was either pretty confident themselves, or had never seen Dwight Howard at the free throw line. There is nothing free about the routine the 6’11” 265 Howard “practiced” Sunday night. He was 9 for 21 as the Magic’s new head coach Jacque Vaughn mercilessly sent Howard to the stage of his embarrassment 15 feet from the basket.
It can’t be the charity stripe, since if it was charitable at all it would have shown Dwight Howard pity who looked helpless in his ongoing matchup with the foul line, and first matchup against his former team.
Stu Lance might take up calling it the “karma strike,” since Dwight Howard tortured the Magic with the “should I stay or go I go” routine for more than two years. He did give the Magic 7 outrageously productive years, including one trip to the finals. So his on the court performances do not require any apologies. But off the court the bricks and clanks were well-deserved karma for his childish attitude demonstrated towards the Magic organization, if they weren’t only showcasing Howard’s documented free throw troubles.
Shaq had his own well-documented demons when it came to the foul line. He might have had fewer experiences with it if “hack” hadn’t rhymed with “Shaq.” He knew he didn’t get paid to make free throws, but rather to dunk the ball. Shaq’s 52.7 career percentage is worse than Howard’s 58.4%. But Shaq was always adamant that he made them when it counted, which in my estimation he did. Howard is currently padding his career worst and league worst stat of 46.5%.
Hopefully Howard actually got this karma out of the way. Earlier this week he lost to the Kings’ Bailey in a free throw and three point contest. No one on the Magic was a lion, yet Sunday night was much more embarrassing. With the combination of missed free throws from Howard after he was hacked and timely, high-percentage shooting the Magic ran away with the 4th quarter. UCLA alum Aaron Afflalo had 30 points, and USC grad Nicola Vucevic outplayed Dwight Howard the whole game at the center spot.
I even found myself at times rooting for the Magic to make their peace against Dwight Howard and by extension the Lakers. And after this humiliating end to a humiliating week Howard can ideally move on with putting the Lakers on his surgically repaired back, and play better basketball.