Dwight Howard Supasses Wilt Chamberlain’s Free Throw Record With 39 Attempts

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January 13, 2012

OAKLAND, Calif. —   With Dwight Howard getting fouled in record-setting fashion, Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy finally just sat back in his chair and stopped barking out orders.

He walked into the huddle during a timeout early in the first half Thursday night, and his assistants started bombarding him with the usual play-calling suggestions. Van Gundy could only laugh.

"I'm looking at them like, 'We're not going to run a play. He's going to foul him,'" Van Gundy said. "What are we going to bother with diagraming a play? Make the free throw, play some defense."

That about summed up this historic night.

Howard broke Wilt Chamberlain's nearly 50-year-old NBA record for most free throw attempts in a game, making 21 of 39 in the Orlando Magic's 117-109 victory over the Golden State Warriors.

The Warriors hacked Howard intentionally throughout, sending the notoriously poor shooter to the line early and often. Chamberlain, who Howard idolized growing up and used to have a photo clipping of the center in his Orlando locker, shot 34 for the Philadelphia Warriors against St. Louis on Feb. 22, 1962.

Howard finished with 45 points and 23 rebounds, and Hedo Turkoglu scored 20 points to propel the Magic to their third straight victory. It also marked the first time a player had at least 40 points and 20 rebounds since Shaquille O'Neal – another poor free throw shooter — had 48 points and 20 rebounds against the Celtics on March 1, 2003, according to STATS LLC.

"I just tried to be aggressive and get to the line. I didn't care if I missed 30," Howard said. "I was still going to go up there and shoot the next one with confidence."

Howard had never shot more than 24 free throws in a game — which he had four times previously — and fouled so early. Certainly, nothing compared to the Warriors' ways.

Howard eclipsed his old mark with 2:09 remaining in the third quarter, getting hacked and held intentionally at the end of each quarter with mixed results. If nothing else, Golden State rookie coach Mark Jackson's strategy slowed down the pace and refused to let the Magic's potent shooters find their rhythm.

"I can understand people thinking,  'Why?' But don't get caught up in the free throws," Jackson said. "Think about when we didn't foul him. It was dunks, hooks, at the rim. He's a great player. And he's a bad free throw shooter. Giving ourselves the best chance possible, we tried to mess up their rhythm, take their 3-point shooters out of it, which we did. They made plays."

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