Houston, we have a problem. After a ferocious start to Game 4 that saw Dwight Howard go 5-of-5 from the field and the Rockets build a 34-25 lead, the savvy Mavericks switched strategies. Mavs head coach--and everybody on earth--knows a spot from which Dwight Howard doesn't shoot 100%. That's the charity stripe. The Mavs sent Howard there 9 times in the second quarter--and the big man made exactly one of those chances.
"Charity stripe" is a nickname for the free throw line, of course. It implies charity toward the free throw shooter. No one gets to try to block your shot--it should be easy. But Dwight Howard's ineptitude from the line reverses the meaning of charity stripe--because with Howard at the line the charity goes to the defending team. Howard rewards the team that basically quits playing legit D on him and fouls instead. It's supposed to be a losing strategy. Howard makes it a winning one. The Mavs won Game 4 121-109. Howard finished 2-of-13 from the line.
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