Howard Says Rockets Lacking Effort

VIDEO: Dwight Howard talks about the Rockets’ loss to the Suns


HOUSTON — From the moment the Rockets hit the free agent jackpot with Dwight Howard last summer and put him in the lineup with James Harden, there were always going to be questions about how they would put it all together and how long it might take.

Those questions were not supposed to be about how hard they would try.

“[Expletive] effort out there on defense and on offense,” said Howard. “The ball stuck … We didn’t move it and we can’t win that way.”

Bumps in the road over the course of the long regular season are to be expected, but the Rockets have now run head-long into a boulder of indifference as a 97-88 home loss to the Suns Wednesday night came on the heels of a virtual no-show trip to Utah on Monday.

“It had nothing to do with us missing shots,” Howard said. “They just played harder than us…It had nothing to do with the offensive game. They just played hard.

“We know what we [have to] do. It’s gotta be important for guys to come out and play the same way every night.”

The Rockets were shorthanded without Chandler Parsons (sore back), Jeremy Lin (sprained right knee), Omer Asik (right thigh contusion) and Greg Smith (sprained right knee). But neither Howard or coach Kevin McHale, who kept the locker room closed for 20 minutes after the game, would accept that out.

“You still have to play,” McHale said. “I don’t care who’s not there. You just [have to] go play and we didn’t play the right way.

“We didn’t move the ball. We didn’t move our bodies. They got up on us and started denying passes. We didn’t go backdoor. We didn’t drive all the scenes. When we did drive, we took wild shots…We did not play very good and that’s the bottom line.”

VIDEO:Coach Kevin McHale discusses the Rockets’ loss to Phoenix

The team’s leading scorer Harden shot just 3-for-17, including 0-for-10 from behind the 3-point line and bailed out early from the locker room after speaking only to team employees.

The Rockets were uninspired from the opening tip and never seemed able — or willing — to match the Suns energy or aggression and it was the fact that it was a virtual repeat of nonchalance that carried over from the loss to the Jazz that bothered Howard, who scored 15 points and grabbed 18 rebounds.

“We can’t give away games like this,” Howard said. “It will come back and bite us later on in the season. So we got to learn no matter how many guys we got out there, short-handed and all, we got to play the same way — play hard and play aggressive.

“It’s just [has to] be in you. You can’t coach it. You can’t draw up plays or anything like that. You just gotta have it.”

Howard would not reveal what the obviously distressed McHale told the team.

“We keep that between us,” said the All-Star center. “We know what we got to do. We don’t do it, we’re [going to] continue to lose.

“We got to learn when we’re down. We got to learn how to play when we got big leads. It’s something that we got to learn how to do. We got to get a good shot every time. Coming down and shooting quick shots is not always good, especially when you’re down. That gives a team like Phoenix an opportunity to run. That’s what they want to do. We played right into their hands tonight.”

It is only the second time this season that the Rockets have lost back-to-back games and, at 13-7, they are still the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference. So it was less a blaring alarm bell than a humming undercurrent reminder that a wannabe playoff contender needs more than summertime signings and headlines to turn into the real thing.

“It happens,” Howard said. “I told you guys a couple weeks ago the season is up and down. You go on runs. You have those games where you miss and you lose a couple of games. But the biggest thing is coming back the next game with a better effort and if not, then we got to take an ‘L’ for us to learn.”

VIDEO: Houston’s Dwight Howard fights through the defense for the jam


  1. laker says:

    same ol d12..lazy always points blame at someone else…this guy doesnt get it…like i said before the season starts he will b crying like a baby in 3 months ….hahahahahahaha…

  2. LAKER 4 life says:

    I made a big deal when D-12 went to Lakers, but as last season went by i was glad he made the decision to leave. He is just a big cry baby that whines over everything (when his team loses). If Houston would have won those games, he wouldn’t be complaining about a lack of effort. STOP complaining and just play Dwight….. Accept your role as being the best defensive player and stick to that. Your low post game is not good, work on it, meanwhile hang around the basket and get the easy dunks that you are so familiar with. And if you want to be the best, develop the mentality that Charles Barkley had and you will be a beast.

  3. shihchau says:

    Stat shows when Harden shoots plenty of misses, the team losses. Happens even with other key players are around, not just this game. He is a good player who doesn’t believe in teammates even during his off days. Pretty obvious when comparing games when he is out.

    Why is he given so much playing time even during off days? Coach has to make tough decision to take some time off from even the best player having off day. If coach wants him to stop trying, he can make the call anytime. That is the coach’s role.

  4. shihchau says:

    Stat shows when Harden shoots plenty of misses, the team losses. Happens even with other key players are around, not just this game. He is a good player who doesn’t believe in teammates even during his off days. Pretty obvious when comparing games when he is out.

    Why is he given so much playing time even during off days? Coach has to make tough decision to take some time off from even the best player having off day. If coach wants him to stop trying, he can make the call anytime. That is the coach’s role.

  5. james says:

    The team is missing Parson badly. He is the glue holding the team together.

  6. sirsparhawk says:


  7. keek says:

    Id take Wade over Harden anyday, Harden great offensive player, but stinks at defense, wade still gets you 20 a night and plays good defense.

  8. Kobe Fan says:

    Word on the street. Dwight asking for more touches. Won’t work. He creates a stagnate offense because he is a sub par offensive player. SVG knew to surround Howard with the right players and encouraged Howard to work on his game. Howard’s game has stagnated since he left the Magic. And I don’t think it is injury related. He is lazy and cares only about being a star. Word of advice: his team will be better if he focussed on being the best defender and his points will come from putbacks.

  9. D WADE says:

    Dwight should go back to Orlando where he was best. Even with one of the best shooting guards he’s still complaining. Look at Charlotte, even without a superstar they are still eighth in the east. You Lin, Harden, Parsons and Asik. What’s there to complain about this time “ROCKETMAN”

  10. Adam says:

    complain complain complain, nothing is ever good enough for dwight. get real Coward, look at yourself before you point any fingers

  11. Go West says:

    No Lin No Win

  12. Just Saying says:

    There’s a lot good coach out there, proven coach! Houston wake up!

  13. The Clincher says:

    It’s simple, No Lin No Win!

  14. Franz says:

    So says the man who bailed out on the Lakers and got ejected in the playoff sweep.

  15. tapk69 says:

    Any team who has the starting PG and SF injured is supposed to lose games , its normal for this to happen.
    Lin and Parsons are amazing players for their age and years on the league and Harden / Dwight combo is good but not enough to beat complete teams .

    Just let players get healthy and start winning , Rockets have the tools to make a good run in the playoffs and if they play really good i think they can go the Finals . Just play hard every game like its the last game of your life. Go rockets

    • laker says:

      with that d u will b lucky to get out of first round….and d12 (team killer) already calling out his teammates…dont think so….

  16. Felix says:

    Yeah, Rockets thought they were contenders when they beat the Spurs, but losing to below .500 teams.

  17. CornHole says:

    hahahahahah Howard questioning effort

  18. Tony says:

    So Harden left without speaking to anyone outside Rockets employees…. Seems like there are locker room issues in Houston. Howard does that to teams

  19. erwin says:

    He should put his words into action, this is no soap opera! D12’s drama will only create diversity among his team mates, grow up and be a MAN……

  20. Toocrunk says:

    Excuses, excuses, excuses. The Rockets are just GARBAGE! Thank D12 for that! The team will be no better/worse than last season. Free Asik!

  21. Sam says:

    Wow so much Lakers fan here… Everyone stop hating on Dwight… he’s just trying to tell his team what they should do damn. I’m a Houston fan and I’m glad Dwight came and made this team stronger!

  22. udeis says:

    trade the no-defense harden!!! or houston’s got a huge problem

  23. TTKIN says:

    Dwight ripping his team’s effort? Noooo, u dont say??

  24. J says:

    Already started crying lmao! That is Dwight we know!

  25. Tory says:

    Dwight not crying. He answered the questions just fine. They all need to play a little better. They are 13-7 . Nothing to worry about. He is consistent 13-18 for a center is good. They will make the play offs . Possibly even championship.

  26. Ballin for life says:

    So the saga continues. Dwight gets traded, is initially happy about it, and then realizes it isn’t the fairytale he expected and now starts to cry, whine and blame others :_ () Haha this guy’s a joke!

  27. ssgt says:


    • Pau says:

      McHale is a good coach, Harden is not selfish. Harden was traded cause of the money issue OKC had not because OKC didnt want him get facts straight. This is what Dwight does to a team. Straight up Poisoning the teams and making his right hand man look really bad even the coach.

  28. ism ill says:

    I am sure it’s too tempting as a media member not to take every bit from DH’s mouth, blow it up and make it fit into that “DH is so talented and athletic but he has no killer instinct”-picture.

    But, nonetheless, I am halfway through writing off DH as a champion forever. Before the season, I honestly felt this could really become his time, but I am changing my mind…

  29. lol says:

    same old story, HOward blaming everyone but himself every time his team loses a game, Harden is not good enough to win games, matter of fact he can be awfull he is so inconsistent he can lose games for his team cause of his terrible shooting and bad decision making(stupid iso plays) leading to turnovers.

  30. Nothingness says:

    Dwight Howard??? what man??? You aint nothing but a big black dude who cant shoot the ball from short distance! Dunking, power moves??? You need more than that, player!

  31. bodjee says:

    The Houston should hire Jeff

  32. BigDiesel says:

    A couple of years ago when Shaq called out dwight and criticized his offensive game and his numbers, I thought shaq was just being shaq. But Diesel had a very valid point and continues to drive his point home. Being Big and athletic does not make you Great. You need to put in the work to take your game to the next level, something D12 doesn’t seem to get. Unfortunately for D12 his offensive skills have stagnated if not regressed. If he really wants to be a leader of the team he has to realize the buck stops at him and has to stop acting like a high school kid by deflecting the blame on his team or the coach. The mantra is simple Dwight, SHUT UP and PERFORM!!

  33. BigDiesel says:

    A couple of years when Shaq called out dwight and criticized his offensive game and his numbers, I thought shaq was just being shaq. But Diesel had a very valid point and continue to drive his point home. Being Big and athletic does not mean you are Great. You need to put in the work to take the next step. Unfortunately for D12 his offensive skills have stagnated if not regressed. If he really wants to be a leader of the team he has to realize the buck stops at him and quit acting like a high school kid by deflecting the blame on his team mates or coach. The mantra is simple Dwight, SHUT UP and PERFORM!!

  34. Jibba says:

    I would like to see McHale in Hardens face on the sideline after letting everyone he defends have a “career night” It seems as though Harden hes his opponent on his fantasy team and is trying to win in his league.

  35. number1dwightfan says:

    Get a good shot everytime… so why are you asking for the ball in the post? Not only are you too far away from the basket when you catch the ball, your moves are unbelievably predictable once you catch it down low. If Andrea Bargnani is locking you up down there, you have a problem. There are guards out there who have better post moves than you. You are great in rebounding, altering shots, and pick and roll finishes. That is how you make your team better. You commanding it in the post only makes everyone on your team more stationary than the team already is with Mr. Cool (Harden) who just thinks he’s too good to put any effort on defense.

  36. nos says:

    Hmm ill say this about Dwight he sure can rebound but if you look at the big Picture Dwight has no other specialty. In the long run there will be more 1 dimensional athletes like him. The only players with creativity on offense are non college european athletes along with kobe and Melo. (Kobe did live in italy for a while tho) Dwight should just spend an offseason playing in other countries instead of always changing teams to develop a better game. Him always blaming others for the teams loss or shortcommings helps noone either.

  37. Rapha says:

    When Dwight misses free Throws the team don’t go on public television complain about his disabilities. I’m Pretty sure the rockets locker room is divided or will be in the near future due to Dwight’s attitudes.

  38. Shawn Kemp No. 1 says:

    here we go again

  39. cryhoward says:

    D12 is a good player..he really is but he needs to stop crying and just be great

  40. PPUR says:

    dwight coward is the most in NBA history of having attitude problems. He would have been great if he has chemistry with his team

  41. DC says:

    So they lost a couple games, big frikkin deal.

  42. Nusha bush says:

    I don’t have problem with Howard as much as I do with James “hogger”. the guy constantly plays one on one, he forget basketball is term work. I am sick and tired of watching the way he plays.

    • Pau says:

      He plays one vs one cause Dwight cant get better position at the post. Dwights offense is only when hes like 2 ft away from the basket. Good job traitor calling the best guy on the team Harden a ball hogger. This was like the Lakers when Dwight doesnt get better position so they had to shoot all the time around the perimeter.

  43. Wall-mart says:

    and I think the problem is Kevin Mcfail !!!

  44. Wall-mart says:

    and I think the problem is Dwight!!!

  45. Media Hype says:

    The media has ways of turning things worst even if you don’t meant it that way. @Howard let your coach do the talk. Be careful with your words and talk less since you are not good with it.

  46. Dan says:

    Shes Crying again.. poor lady!

  47. cjay1204 says:

    Harden and howard my be the faces of the franchise but parsons is definitely the backbone of this team not only does he scores on daily basis he gets other ppl going offensively they need him to play majority of the time to keep this a championship team.

  48. Shawn says:

    Well on a positive note, perhaps Dwight learned something from Kobe, A Sense of Urgency, or playing every game like it is the last game… with total effort. Maybe he learned from his previous mistakes. I was really hard on him before, but i like that he is at least articulating it. He is young enough, not sure if he is humble enough, he certainly has the talent to one day become a great player / teammate. I have to say he is my least favorite player in the league, because of how be behaved in Orlando, and i dont think he had to get that surgery right before their playoffs, and he showed lack of effort in LA and ego problems… BUT, maybe if he does what he says, and he himself plays hard every game – no matter what, that will help his teammates come together as one.

  49. NAME says:

    Did anyone else watch the interview with McHale? When asked about Harden’s performance, he said he played well? I don’t see how going 3-17 is playing well.

    He is a ball stopper that disrupts the team’s ball movement. Exactly what McHale was complaining about with the team not having any ball movement and a stagnated offense.

    I understand he is a great scorer but just like Carmelo, If the shots aren’t going in. The whole team suffers because of his play style. This has been happening since the beginning of the season.

  50. theaandthea says:

    dwight i’m sorry but you do not deliver as a big and the inside job is not done. you lost this little extra athleticism and you are doing nothing to compensate. i understand critics are easy but i do not see progress with you under the rim (basics center moves,footwork, clear efficient pick and rolls) and it seems that you had a lot of time. give my eye something

  51. sholmes87 says:

    Same old story, same old song and dance, my friend

  52. Leroy says:

    Chandler parsons is the most important player on the rockets squad he is the only player they can’t replace, he leads the league in minutes played, the rockets are easy to guard without parsons, every body on the team want to shoot three so they stand around the three point line and watch harden jack up threes, with parson in the game he tend to drive it to the basket when he needs to and most importantly he gets jones and howard easy baskets, and defensively he can guard most of the power forward in the league and jones benefitted when they switched on the way parsons got the best pump fake in the league.

  53. PalmOil Preference says:

    Dwight is like a female who has all the potential in the world but the confidence and insecurities of a fat ugly chick. Always needing to be coddled and told how pretty she is.

    The Magic and the Lakers seem to not be having a effort problem since your departure. In addition your 4th in the league at rebounding tells me all about you effort right there. So stop crying to the media and get your BIG behind on the block chump.

    He’s the only likeable personality that is tough to keep supporting that I can remeber.

  54. Tobi says:

    First off Dwight needs to learn how to post up. Shaq,Charles and Kenny talked about this on TNT a couple weeks ago. Howard a big man that does not know how to post up? you have to be kidding me. He’s free throw’s have gotten better i’ll give him credit for that, however he has no right to be complaining about effort when he gave up on the Lakers last season. He also gave up on the Magic after the good players left. Magic was in a rebuilding season and he didn’t want be a part of it I understand that, however he goes to a Great Laker team and gives them no effort then leaves because kobe spoke the truth. Now hes complaining again? He needs to get his head straight and instead of complaining to the Media he needs to be discussing this things with his teammates it shouldn’t be anyone else business.

  55. Zacula says:

    there goes dumb dumb.

  56. CCB says:

    Seriously? When will Howard EVER stop blaming others and behave like a grown man? He will NEVER be treated as a professional if he keeps on doing what he does best – being a crying baby..

  57. Dan says:

    Just to add, this is not being cry baby. This is him actually taking a leadership role, which I’m surprised about. He wanted to have fun and let Harden and Parsons lead the team, but I think he’s taking it upon himself now. He’s not bailing anymore, not like he used to.

  58. Dan says:

    Laker fans still hating. Seriously, Kobe has been publicly critical about his teammates during times in his career when his team wasn’t winning. It takes real maturity to say what Dwight did. He understands that talent can’t get you everywhere. I don’t think he had this mindset in the Lakers or Orlando. This is a good thing, not bd thing like many of you think.

    • Jack says:

      Sir you are correct, It does take a level of maturity to say what he did, however if you throw your teammates under the bus like he did it doesn’t help any. What he should’ve said was WE as a team need to be better WE as a team need to give better effort. What he mostly said was about his teammates. If he has a problems with his teammates he should’ve discussed it with them. Talking about it in the media will only make things worst.

    • al haldie says:

      That the coaches job–so everyteam the Howard has played on gets the same treatment from HOWARD-its never his fault !!!!

  59. boomer says:

    What if this entire time Dwight has been right??? Discovery of the century? I agree with dwight fry, if the guy learned the low post it wouldn’t matter who was on his team. That there could be a system where he plays the middle and his teammates all stay at the perimeter for 3pter’s…….

  60. G says:

    Again problems in a team Dwight is part of. I sense a pattern….. By the way, Howard is not a great player, he’s just big. Great players don’t complain but work and improve every day! Dit I mention that defence wins games? You can still win games if you shoot poorly!

  61. standard says:

    cry baby, cry!!!

  62. MagicFan says:

    Heard those words before, next he will be asking for certain players and coaches to be fired. (and deny it all)

  63. dave says:

    Sounds like the words Kobe Bryant might have used last season…….

  64. h-town fan says:

    james harden isnt playing like he did last year, he doesnt play d until the 4th quarter, hes settling for too many jumpers and letting people get the best of him on d locking him up, he needs to show some killer instinct if he wants to be the best sg

    • al haldie says:

      HOWARD has his way of bringing down a team–if he is not getting first touch-then he turns on everyone—even the COACH its just a matter of time!!!!

  65. T-Mac says:

    can howard ever learn to shut the F up, tell that to your teammate not the media, otherwise u sound like u venting. just stop right there and do your job for now and get us that W. u can speak your piece later on when we start gettin wins but for now keep your mouth shut.

  66. JoaoMartins says:

    Lacking effort like you were in LA? Shut up, man.

  67. Kobe B says:


  68. MrR says:

    Howard needs to STFU and lead by example. If he has to open his mouth, he should stick to the things he can do better. Let McHale do the talking about what the team needs to do.

    • al haldie says:


  69. Tom says:

    “… play hard and play aggressive. It’s just [has to] be in you. You can’t coach it. You can’t draw up plays or anything like that. You just gotta have it.”

    Dwight said this with a straight face???

  70. Hi says:

    Howard pls.

  71. - says:

    Wow the hardest working guy is saying that. Please, see the sarcasm.

  72. dustydreamnz says:

    I thought the Suns had a great chance today, our bookies offered $5.50! Rockets have heaps of guys injured and Suns haven’t been bad on the road.

  73. The Irony says:

    Coming from someone who quit on his team in his laker and magic days… LOL

  74. NBA Fans says:

    no matter where that so-called Superman goes, he always the one who complaining….He’ll never fit in any team as he’s so ego.

  75. Really says:

    Hey, McHale, Howard,
    You need a LIN for you to WIN.

  76. Arcek says:

    Harden is just discontent that he is no longer the TOP DOG on the team.
    His lackluster play on both ends this year is going to cost the Rockets chances to win it all, a slim as they were at the beginning of the season.

  77. lacking in effort? it’s your job to push your teammates to do the effort!! they follow what their leader does…if you lead them on the right way instead of destroying them in the media…then you’ll have a better result! this guy is not a winner…now I know why him and his and kobe’s personality doesn’t match

  78. Jay says:

    It would’ve helped if McFail used Ronnie Brewer to guard either Dragic or Bledsoe. smh

  79. NotD-12 says:

    Proud of Dwight for showing some maturity, This is the mindset the Rockets need if they want to win,

    • slider821 says:

      maturity?…as in not taking responsibility for the lack of effort and blaming his teammates for not showing up when he shot 4-11 as a center and was a -18 PER. give me a break.

  80. Houston we have a problem! says:

    … and I think the problem is Dwight!!!

  81. Basketball Fan says:

    Dwight is a GREAT player. But stop crying and just be a GREAT. You have the best shooting guard, great role players, and your complaining. Shaq had young Kobe Bryant, was GREAT center, and won THREE CHAMPIONSHIPS IN A ROW. If you dont get it soon, you will never win. sorry.

  82. MOJO says:

    Better for Howard to try Miami Heat. Perhaps he won’t cry there. Pacers, Portland and San Antonio might do. Sorry Howard!

  83. Jason says:

    The loss had nothing to do with them missing shots? Well Dwight, the way basketball traditionally works is you make the shots to gain points and win. This isn’t even a story, just same old Dwight acting like everything is fine and there’s no one to blame, ESPECIALLY him.

  84. dwight fry says:

    they need to improve howard specially her footwork and skills in lowpost

    • Pau says:

      why improve him when he didnt want to at LA now that hes in Rockets the place he wanted to be and he still complains. LA had great centers who wanted to help him and he didnt get better. hes a great player getting rebounds and blocks and just letting Harden and Parsons do the scoring they were winning then . He should just know his role and shut up gosh I loved him everywhere but now hes getting annoying. Just shut up and listen and play. Why is he a max player if he thinks he is that dominant. You got your money just shut up and play.Selfish!

  85. jake s. says:

    Congrats Fran, you wrote an article that doesn’t offend everyone on a personal level.

    • Pau says:

      Love how now again its not Dwight’s fault and people are saying James Harden is a ball hog great way to put your team down again Dwight. In LA it was Kobe’s fault and you wanted to be the man.
      Are you kidding me he needs to go back to Orlando and be the man and never win it all thats all hes going to be