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Dwight Howard quotes

Celtics sign Brodric Thomas to two-way contract
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Grizzlies sign Ahmad Caver and Matthew Hurt, waive Sean McDermott and Romeo Weems
Lakers waive guard Mac McClung



| June 5, 2009

Dwight Howard quotesThe Los Angeles lakers lead the Orlando Magic 1 game to 0 in the 2009 NBA Finals. Orlando got blown out in a Game 1 that was pretty much over by the mid third quarter. Here are Magic star center Dwight Howard Finals quotes as the team prepares to play Game 2 Sunday night:

Question: It's seldom that you play against guys, many guys that are that big and long. How much of a problem was it last night and what kind of adjustments can you make to get you going and get some better spacing?

Dwight Howard: I don't think it was a big problem. I just think as a team, like I told you guys last night, our effort and our energy just wasn't there. We know how to play basketball. It doesn't matter who's playing against us. We just have to go out there and play. But I don't think tonight as a team -- last night as a team, our effort was there. It doesn't matter who's in front of us. We're playing hard, we're playing aggressive. We can do a lot of different things.

Question: How about you specifically? You watched them. What did you see specifically?

Dwight Howard: What did I see? I saw at times where I should have passed it out to teammates for shots. Also they really clogged the paint up. They made it tough for me to really try to get into my moves, our baseline. But it's only one game. We see what we have to do as a team to win. It's team basketball first. I'm not really concerned about the offensive end. That stuff will come. But on the defensive end, last night we were -- I would say we weren't as aggressive as we normally are, all of us. And we have to rebound.

Question: Since you've been in Orlando and you've developed, Shaq has been pretty disparaging of you at times. Are you ever perplexed at why he's done that? When you've talked to him one-on-one has it been different, or how have you seen that?

Dwight Howard: I haven't spoken to him one-on-one. I don't know. I can't tell you why he's said a lot of discouraging things. I wish he wouldn't say it because he's one of the few guys that we all look up to. But you can't control what he says. I'm playing for The Finals right now, so my focus is not on what Shaq says or anybody else. It's getting my team a trophy.

Question: I noticed that you had a different sleeve last night. How does that affect your shot and how does that improve your game?

Dwight Howard: The sleeve I had on? Man, I just wear the sleeve because I like how it looks. It has nothing to do with performance or making shots or anything. I started wearing it in practice, it felt good one day, and I thought, man, I should wear this in the game, it might make my shot look better. But there's nothing.

Question: Can you take us back to that first time you played Kobe and the Lakers your rookie year when you tried to contest one of his dunks.

Dwight Howard: I don't remember what happened. Don't remind me. He baptized me, brought me into the NBA and back to reality with one play (laughing). Yeah, every time he gets ready to drive down the lane, ever since then I've had the flash of him dunking and hearing the crowd and everybody say, and it was like, boom, that's all I heard. I'll make sure that won't happen again.

Question: Do you feel like yesterday with him going off with 40 in some ways he welcomed you to The Finals?

Dwight Howard: No. The first time we played Kobe in Orlando he had 40, so that's nothing new. LeBron averaged 40, and we were still able to come out on top in the series. I think just as a team, like I've been telling you guys, our effort just wasn't there on both ends. We watched film today, and from the start of the film to the end of the film, I think everybody in the room were very upset with what we saw on the tape. Our effort, our energy was just low, and we know what we have to do to get a win.

Question: There's a lot made about the dying breed of big men, and you and Andrew Bynum both drafted out of high school, both had relative success so far. Maybe not in this series but just for the sake of the position, do you want Andrew to succeed in his career and continue to develop?

Dwight Howard: Of course. Watching Andrew since high school, he's come a long way, first with his weight, first saw him in the All-Star Game. He was wider but now he's slimmed down, gotten into better shape. His game has improved from the first time he's been in the NBA. I really love watching him develop, and I think we both have a lot of respect for each other. And knowing that we're like dinosaurs in the NBA, there's not a lot of us, so we have to stick together.

Question: Any parts of his game that particularly impress you in terms of playing the position?

Dwight Howard: Well, I think last season until now, his turnaround jump shot, or just basically shooting the ball. The first game I watched this season at the beginning of the year, he was shooting fadeaways, and I was like, is that really Andrew? I could tell he's been really working on his game. We've already talked yesterday about working out together during the summer. He wants to get a little bit more toned up, and I've got some workout regimens for him.

Question: Now that you've got a fun chance to watch game tape this morning, how would you describe you guys' shooting?

Dwight Howard: Last night? It wasn't that good. We only made 23 shots as a team. I don't think that's ever happened to our team. I think today we wasn't really worried about offense. After watching the film we were more focused on how bad we played defense. We just didn't have any energy, effort. We didn't box out, all the little things. Like I told you guys last night, we can't control Kobe having 40 points, but what we can control is boxing out, getting loose balls, stuff like that, and we didn't do it last night. We have to come out with a better effort in Game 2.

Question: Take it back to offense just for a second, how much did their length affect you? And how would you overall describe -- 30 percent is not the performance we're used to seeing from you guys in the last series.

Dwight Howard: Like I said, it's just one game. Offense will come for us. We know that we can score the ball, but it starts in defense. When we're out running we're able to get spots, push it on the brink, guys get open shots, we're moving the ball inside out. That's when we're at our best, when we're catching it, passing it around the perimeter, sitting in the post. That's not our team. I think that's one of the reasons why we struggled last night to get any shots. I don't think their length would affect us at moving the ball.

Question: You've gotten a lot of attention the last couple years. What has this been like since you've been here, and what was last night like with all the hoopla, basically a series of All-Star Games? What was it like? And did it, do you think, have any kind of impact on maybe draining you guys a little bit?

Dwight Howard: I don't think it drained us. I think we just didn't play with an effort. Nobody can give us effort but us. We have to want it. I don't think as a team we played like we wanted to win last night. But like I said, it's fun, being here. But as a team, personally we're not happy just to be in the playoffs. We know what happened to the Lakers last year. A lot of their guys were just happy to be in The Finals, and we don't want to have that approach that they had last year, just happy being here. We're fighting for a championship. I let the guys know last night, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Nothing is ever promised to anybody, so we've got to take advantage of this moment.

Question: Has it been everything that they told you it would be?

Dwight Howard: They really haven't told us nothing. They said there's going to be a couple more media people, the stakes are higher, a stenographer comes and sits in the press conference. That's new. But other than that, it's just basketball.

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