Not only does Dwight Howard take forever to shoot a free throw -- if you recall, he was assessed a rare delay of game violation because he took longer than 10 seconds to shoot one on Christmas Day against the Celtics -- he's a very slow postgame dresser. It's ironic that his nickname is Superman because he doesn't play the Clark Kent role very well. For the amount of time it takes him to get ready, not only would pedestrians on the street notice his wardrobe change, but he wouldn't be able to save Lois Lane falling from a helicopter.
Finally, after listening to Eminem out loud on his cell phone speaker and without farting -- Magic coach Stan Van Gundy once had to institute a no-flatulence rule during shootarounds and press conferences because, as former teammate Rashard Lewis said, "Dwight really likes to cut the cheese" -- Howard was ready to address the media. I asked him some questions about the Knicks and playing at Madison Square Garden, but started with the most obvious talking point: Amare Stoudemire's worst game as a Knick, missing 15 of 20 shots to finish with a season-low 13 points.
On Stoudemire's struggles: "He did struggle. I think he kind of rushed a little bit tonight to get his shot off. He wasn't as patient as normal, but that happens. Right now, I understand the team's under a lot of pressure and sometimes when you're under pressure, being a guy like Amare, he wants to do as much as he can to bring the team out. But I just encourage him to stay patient and stick with it."
On what made the difference in the second half: "I think we started pounding the ball inside and playing inside-out. When they doubled, I tried to make the right pass out. I just tried to be very patient down there and make the right play. I think that's what we did in the second half. On the defensive end, I think we did a pretty good job of moving our feet, and not fouling and sending them to the line."
On the chemistry between Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony: "It's going to take a while for those guys to get used to playing with each other. You just gotta be patient. But they're a tough team. They're going to be very tough in the playoffs just once they learn how to really play together, but it takes a while. We're going through the same thing right now with a lot of new guys, so we all understand the position that they're in. Just like I said, they gotta stick with it."
On playing at the Garden: "Oh, it's fun. It's a very fun place to play. It's the Garden. We wanted to come here and get a good win and just try to get better as a team."
On hearing from Spike Lee courtside: "Oh yeah. He had on a Coming to America King Jaffe Joffer hat on, or whatever you want to call it. But I love Spike. He's a die-hard Knicks fan. Just the energy he brings to the building is awesome."
As a funny side note, Howard and his Magic teammates won't be shaving until the end of the playoffs.
"We talked about it as a team and thought about the bald heads," Howard said, "but some of us, like myself, don't look right with a bald head. We thought about letting our hair grow out, but we got a lot of guys who are growing bald, so it's going to look funny with just patches in their head. So the beard is the only way to go. It'll be tough for me and the young guys to really get it going, but we're all in this together."
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