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Howard: 'Our defence must improve'
The Orlando Magic forward says his team but fix their defence.
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2009 10:47 GMT

Dwight Howard says his team must rebound in order to rebound from defeat [GALLO/GETTY]
Dwight Howard scored only one basket during the Orlando Magic's series-opening blowout loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, but the All-Star center is more worried about his team's leaky defence going into Game Two of the NBA Finals.

Howard took a measly six shots in a 100-75 rout against the Lakers on Thursday.

That came after a 40-point effort against the Cleveland Cavaliers to reach the finals.

"We see what we have to do as a team to win. It's team basketball first," Howard said.

"I'm not really concerned about the offensive end. That stuff will come. But on the defensive end .... we weren't as aggressive as we normally are, all of us. And we have to rebound."

Bryant factor

Howard conceded the Lakers had shut him down successfully, but said the series was far from over.

"They made it tough for me to really try to get into my moves, our baseline. But it's only one game."

Coach Stan Van Gundy said he was looking for Howard "to bring a higher energy and intensity level" to Game Two on Sunday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

"The thing that people can never match with Dwight when he's really going after it is his combination of athleticism and strength," he said.

"I don't think there's ever been a time where I've thought somebody had him overmatched in those areas.

"If you look at (Game One), he did not play with great energy, he did not run the court."

Shooting percent

The Magic will have to shoot better to have any chance of winning their first NBA championship.

The team hit less than 30 percent of their shots, including eight of 23 from three-point
range.

The Lakers, led by Kobe Bryant's 40 points, hit 46 percent of their shots and had the game won by the start of the final quarter.

Howard said the Magic had to focus on the things they could control on Sunday.

"After watching the film we were more focused on how bad we played defence. We just didn't have any energy, effort," he added.

"We can't control Kobe having 40 points, but what we can control is boxing out, getting loose balls, stuff like that, and we didn't do it."

Source:
Agencies
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