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.