We all know the story with Dwight Howard and free throw shooting: He thinks too much. The Houston Rockets center has been known to knock down almost all of his foul shots during practice, only to freeze up during games when the lights and pressure are on. Sometimes he sings Beyonce and Usher songs in his head go get in the proper headspace. There's a balance between being focused on the moment and trusting your muscle memory.
In an overtime loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, Howard shot 9-20 from the line. The Sixers used the "hack-a-Dwight" strategy on him, just like the Los Angeles Lakers did last week when he shot 5-10. Explaining his struggles against the Lakers, Howard went all-in on analogies, comparing his mindset at the free throw line to being in love and holding sand, via CBS Sports' Ken Berger:
"Against the Lakers, I was just over-thinking and anxious," Howard said. "I always thought of it as like being in love. If you grasp at sand and you hold it too tight, you tend to lose a lot of the sand. But if you hold it just right, then you never lose it. It's just like a free throw. If you're too uptight, you're gonna miss. If you're too loose, you're still gonna miss. You've got to be just right."
Howard is shooting 53.6 percent from the free throw line on the season. Strangely, he is shooting 36 percent at home and 63 percent on the road.