BY DARNELL MAYBERRY •
Modified: November 13, 2008 at 1:25 pm •
Published: November 13, 2008
/articleid/3321624/1/pictures/514204"> Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard smiles after being called for a foul in the third quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Oklahonma City Thunder in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2008. Howard recorded his first career triple double as Orlando defeated Oklahoma City 109-92. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) ORG XMIT: OKSO105
He blocked four shots in the second period and two in the third.
Howard ended the first half with 18 points, 10 rebounds, seven blocks and three assists.
"Night in and night out, he’s a force to be reckoned with regardless of who he’s going against,” said Thunder forward Joe Smith, whose layup Howard swatted for his 10th blocked shot with 6:49 left in the fourth quarter.
Howard, who said in training camp he wanted to lead the league in blocks, is now leading the NBA in blocks at 4.3 per game and rebounds at 15 per contest to go along with his 23.8-point average.
"I just have to be more consistent,” Howard said. "That’s the biggest thing this year. I want to lead the league in rebounding and blocks.”
Howard said he tried to pull down 20 boards in the Magic’s past two games, coming close both times with 16 and 19. But Howard said he entered Wednesday’s game against the Thunder just looking to have fun before realizing he was approaching such a rare feat.
"We don’t get a chance to come to Oklahoma that much,” Howard said. "The few times that I’ve been here the fans are great. I just wanted to give them a good show.”
Van Gundy gave Howard the chance, and a good show he delivered.