He’s no Stephen Curry, or James Harden, or Damian Lillard, but Philadelphia 76ers veteran center Dwight Howard is now just 2,960 three-pointers away from breaking Ray Allen’s all-time record. Philly’s backup big man made one of his two shots from distance in the team’s 118-104 win against the Detroit Pistons on Saturday and now stands at 14 career three-pointers made.
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With 56 seconds left in the third quarter and just two seconds left on the shot clock Saturday, Howard received a kick out pass from Shake Milton and calmly drilled a corner three to increase the Sixers’ lead to 89-72. The longtime Orlando Magic center jogged down the court, gave the three-point signal with his right hand and played to the hometown crowd, shaking his head in possible showmanship, but more likely some disbelief.
Less than one minute later and apparently feeling it, Howard attempted to set a high screen for George Hill, laid back beyond the arc at the top of the key and again, with the shot clock winding down received the ball. With four seconds remaining in the quarter and three on the shot clock, Howard fired away, but this time came up just a bit short.
Howard ended the tilt by tying his season-high with 19 points, while grabbing 14 rebounds. Howard’s only had four games this season where he’s secured more boards, including a season-best 18 on January 16 against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Howard Says He’s Been Working on 3-Point Shot With Rookie Teammate
Any follower of Howard throughout his 1,000-plus career games would likely be shocked to learn that the eight-time All-Star has actually put in some extra practice time this season in crafting his shot from downtown.
“Me and Paul Reed have actually been in the gym a lot shooting,” Howard said. “He was like ‘Dwight, why are you shooting so slow?’ and I said well in the game, guys are not going to rush out and treat me as a 3-point threat, so if I get a chance to shoot a 3, I’m going to really take my time, get my feet set, and knock down a shot.”
Though Howard is now 35 years old and Reed is just 21, it was revealed earlier in the season that the teammates go way back. The duo originally met at one of Howard’s basketball camps in Orlando, back when Howard was playing with the Magic and Reed would have been anywhere from five to 13 years old.
Over Howard’s eight seasons with the Magic, he went just 1-for-33 from three-point land, so maybe even a very young Reed was able to give “Superman” some pointers in that department. In 2021 though, the turn tables have turned for the pair, as Reed is 0-for-6 from outside to begin his NBA career.
Who’s the Better 3-Point Shooter: Howard or Ben Simmons?
Ben Simmons is remarkably still only 24 years old, hopefully has not yet reached his prime, starts at point guard and is a lefty. Howard is a 35-year-old right-handed center – albeit one inch shorter than Simmons’ listed height of 6-foot-11 – and is probably past his peak.
Simmons and Howard may have a lot more in common than fans think though, as aside from being top-notch defenders, both have been notoriously poor shooters over their careers. However, both players are having career years on their three-point success, despite how mediocre the numbers may be.
After drilling a career-high trio of three-pointers last season with the Los Angeles Lakers, Howard has upped the ante with the Sixers and has made five threes in his 66 games. Not only that, but the big man is clearly becoming more confident with his range, having attempted a career-high 20 threes during his season with the Sixers.
For perspective, it took Howard until his penultimate season in Orlando to take his 20th career three-pointer.
Simmons, meanwhile, has played in 11 fewer contests than Howard this season due to both injuries and a somewhat mysterious flu. He has connected on a career-best three 3-pointers this season though on a career-high 10 attempts for a respectable 30% success rate.
Head coach Doc Rivers – not to mention anybody in the entire Sixers organization – should ever want Howard or Simmons with the ball beyond the arc with time winding down in a tight game, but at least they’ve proven the impossible is now possible.