Dwight Howard had an incredible 46 points and 19 rebounds in the Orlando Magic's Game 1 loss against the Atlanta Hawks. Since 1986, no player has scored that many points with at least 19 rebounds; Shaquille O'Neal had two games of 44 points and 20+ rebounds with the Lakers, and Charles Barkley turned out 44 and 24 with Phoenix in 1993. That's incredible company, and should put to bed any questions about Dwight's offense.
The question is how Orlando could lose against an average team like the Hawks with such a huge night.
The Magic shot abnormally poorly from three-point range; Orlando hit 36.6 percent from downtown during the season (No. 10 in the NBA), but just 6-22 (27 percent) on Saturday. The Hawks' defense has denied the three well this season, ranking No. 4 in three-point defense. But really, Orlando's defense was surprisingly bad.
Atlanta, a below-average offensive team, shot 51 percent from the floor and saw two guards, Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford, go over 20 points on 50 percent shooting or better. For Crawford, much of that came on long jumpers. But J.J. ventured into the paint, drawing fouls and scoring on several short jumpers. That doesn't usually happen against Dwight. Did all that offense he created wear him out too much?
Whether it did or not, the Magic obviously need some help from players not named Dwight or Jameer on both ends.