2. Howard lurking for Wizards
Dwight Howard missed the first six games of the season for the Washington Wizards with a lower-back injury, a common theme for Howard since his final season with the Orlando Magic more than six years ago.
But Howard, acquired briefly by the Brooklyn Nets this offseason before the final year of his contract was bought out and he was placed on waivers, was a major problem for the Nets last season while he was with the Charlotte Hornets.
On March 21, Howard had the NBA’s only 30-rebound game of the 2017-18 season, going off for 32 points and 30 boards in Charlotte’s 111-105 win at Barclays Center. He also had 24 rebounds against Brooklyn in the Hornets’ 111-96 win at Spectum Center in Charlotte on Feb. 22.
In three games against the Nets last season, Howard averaged 22.0 points and 20.3 rebounds on 61.5 percent shooting.
In seven games this season, Howard is averaging 12.6 points and 9.0 rebounds in 27.9 minutes a game, shooting 61.1 percent. He played just 20 minutes in the Wizards’ blowout of the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, finishing with 10 points and seven rebounds.
He has season highs of 20 points against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Nov. 2 and 16 rebounds at Miami on Saturday.
With Jarrett Allen questionable, it will likely fall to Ed Davis to do most of the work defensively if Allen is unavailable.
Coach Kenny Atkinson has tried Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (also questionable with an ankle sprain) and Jared Dudley at the 5 at times, but against the 6-foot-11, 265-pound Howard, those matchups seem doomed to be mismatches.