Friday, June 12, 2009

"Superman" needs nickname change

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird!! It’s a plane!!! It’s someone who can’t make a free throw if his team’s playoff life depended on it!!!!

It’s Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic who calls himself Superman. Well, he must be because with 11.1 seconds left in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night he had the ball and the game firmly in his hands on the foul line 15 feet from the basket unguarded when he suddenly treated the net as if it had been dipped in Kryptonite. He did his best to avoid it. The man who is supposed to smash through bricks launched a pair of them at the rim. He missed both of two foul shots that would have given the Magic a likely insurmountable 4- or-5-point lead to even their series with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Instead, Howard fired Shaq-like blanks and the Magic missed a golden opportunity to abracadabra some excitement and suspense into these Finals. The Lakers managed to tie the game with just one shot then won it in overtime and, for all intent and purposes, won the series.

“Superman” Howard had been faster than a speeding bullet to score 16 points and was more powerful than a locomotive to block nine shots and was able to leap tall buildings with a single bound to grab 21 rebounds. Yet he will be forever remember in the Magic Kingdom as the stiff at the line who clanked a couple of free throws that would have made him the star of the game.

Now the burden is off Kobe Bryant and the Lakers smell the championship and Howard – who missed eight free throws all told in the eventual eight-point loss -- is prepared to take on the persona of another super hero – The Invisible Man. Maybe Howard ought to take his cape and slam dunk it in the trash and show a little humility. He’s suddenly become the Clark Kent of this series.


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