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Dwight Howard says he's making progress with his conditioning and credits this to his ability to move through the paint and grab rebounds down.
Dwight Howard has spent much of his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers talking about his recently operated-on back, his nerve-damaged legs, and his lack of conditioning after being away from training for an extended period of time through the Summer. In the meantime, Howard says he will continue to his best to get back into shape and "fight through it", via Mark Medina of L.A. Daily News:
"You get to the playoffs and you get to the Finals, hopefully," Howard said. "If not, I have the whole summer to get my body right. But right now, I’ll do as much as I can to get in shape and fight through it."
Howard also stated that he believes the best way to get back into the game-shape he was in in the past is to push as hard as possible, which was an issue for him when the season started, via Medina:
"A lot of guys pace themselves. But for us right now, we have to go as hard as we can. I’m not in the best shape. So I can only do as much as my body allows me to do. Once I reach that limit, I try to push myself to another limit and then ask for a coach for a sub. Then I come back in. That’s the best way to get in shape, to go as hard as you can. Earlier in the season, that was tough."
Howard recalled one play where he contested a shot at the free throw line before quickly sprinting back to the basket to grab the rebound.
"That was a play I wouldn’t have been able to make earlier in the season," Howard said. "That shows my conditioning is a lot better. I have a long way to go to get where I’ve always been. But that is progress."
Looking over the game film there are two instances of this happening:
Play #2 is particularly impressive and showed the recovery speed after the first jump that has helped separate Dwight from the pack.
Over the last ten games Howard has averaged 12.9 rebounds per game, and since the All-Star break has notched at least 12 rebounds in each of the six games the Lakers have played. Howard currently leads the league in rebounding at 12 rebounds per game.
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