Magic’s Howard stands tall

Nov 14, 2006 6:31 AM

The best big man in the NBA? No, it’s not Shaq. Try Dwight Howard.

The Orlando center is leading the league in rebounds and averaging a double-double per night. He outplayed Kevin Garnett last week in a rare Orlando road win at Minnesota, pulling down 22 boards.

Howard is the foundation for the young Magic, off to a 4-3 start in the NBA Southeast. The Miami Heat figured to run away with the division, but at least early on Atlanta, Washington and the Magic are much improved. Joe Johnson for the Hawks is averaging nearly 29 a game and Gilbert Arenas has a pair of 40-point nights already for the Wizards.

It wouldn’t be right not to mention the incredible 57-point effort of Milwaukee’s Michael Redd against Utah. Still, Redd’s career high wasn’t quite enough in a two-point overtime home loss. By the way, the Jazz owned the league’s best record (6-1) through last Saturday’s games.

Now for this week’s action.

Clippers at Jazz (tues): Why not start with the red hot Jazz, who have more than just AK-47 this year. Carlos Boozer has been huge in early going, averaging 20 points and 10 boards. The Clippers were off to a 4-1 start, but all four wins came at home. JAZZ.

Grizzlies at Kings (wed): Kevin Martin is developing into a real star for Sacramento. Grizz may be tiring of this West Coast trip. KINGS.

Wizards at Knicks (thu): Don’t expect much defense in this shootout. When is Isiah going to leave? WIZARDS.