Around the Rim: Dwight Howard is still the best center

Magic 117 Warriors 109: An incredible night for Dwight Howard as Mark Jackson told his team to foul him and foul him and foul him some more. So much so that the Magic big man took an NBA record 39 free throws. It was sound coaching too with Howard hitting only 21 of them but he also owned the paint when he wasn’t fouled and finished with 45 points and 23 rebounds. It’s games like this why the argument between Howard and Andrew Bynum almost seem ludicrous and why the Lakers will have to cough up more that just their center if they want Howard.

Hedo Turkoglu had 20 points and nine assists and the Magic have quickly bounced back from a bad home loss to the Bulls by sweeping their three-game west coast road trip and are now in first place in the division. Golden State had it rolling on offense, shooting over 52% but they couldn’t stop #12. Monta Ellis had a huge game with 30 points and 11 assists.

Memphis 94 Knicks 83: Maybe Iman Shumbert isn’t the point guard of the future for the Knicks. Or at least now such a great option right now. He had an awful night, hitting just 5-of-20 shots and made some poor decisions. Add to that Carmelo Anthony left the game after rolling his ankle in the third quarter and is now listed as day-to-day. The Knicks offense struggled all night while Rudy Gay was on fire, hitting 11-of-16 on his way to 26 points. The Grizzlies broke this open in the third with a 26-14 quarter and NY was done.

Hawks 111 Bobcats 81: The Hawks got the bad news earlier in the day that Al Horford would miss the rest of the season with a torn pictorial. But they didn’t miss him once they got on the court with an absolutely blasting of the Bobcats. Josh Smith had 30 points and 13 rebounds while Joe Johnson had 23 points, seven rebounds and eight assists. And the Hawks dominated the Bobcats on glass 55-30 including 20 offensive rebounds.

Cavaliers 101 Suns 90:While a lot of people are talking about Ricky Rubio as the rookie of the year, you need to turn your attention to the Cavs where Kyrie Irving is living up to the top pick in last year’s draft.  He went off for 26 points and six assists and controlled the game.   Antawn Jamison   continued his turn-back-the-clock season with 23 points.  Michael Redd made his Suns’ debut and his return to the NBA will a solid 12 points off the bench and three three-pointers.

Bucks 102 Pistons 93:  The Pistons just cannot win on the road, now 0-5 away from their home floor where they’re not that good either.  Brandon Jennings was hot, scoring 27 while Stephen Jackson pitched in with 25.  Milwaukee his 11 from deep which was the difference.   Greg Monroe continued his strong play with 32 points and 16 rebounds for Detroit.