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It’s technique, not trash talk

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From A. Sherrod Blakely:

"Jason Maxiell is about as physical as any low-post defender in the league," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "He was able to use his strength and leverage to take Dwight out of position."

The key to Maxiell's defensive success against Howard was his ability to use his strength against Howard's lower body, to move him from where his sweet spots on the floor.

"(Howard) has a very strong upper body," said Maxiell, who is listed at 6-7. "But if you get down low and take his legs out, he's not that powerful."

When told of Maxiell's comments, Howard replied, "That's not true. Trust me."

Howard may think Maxiell is talking trash, but I think Van Gundy knows better. All Maxiell is saying is one of the first things elementary school kids learn at basketball camp: defense is all about positioning and leverage, and the best defensive stance is one low to the ground.

The biggest shoulders in the world won't help you rebound if your feet are moved off the block. It's like when a running back and linebacker collide in football: the guy lowest to the ground is the one who can take the hit and keep moving forward.

And, for lack of a clever segue, I'll just end this post now with an entertaining excerpt from a great piece by Austin Kent of HoopsAddict comparing Howard and Maxey:

A high school manchild-turned-NBA man’s man, Howard wasted no time becoming one of the best young big men in the galaxy. And fresh off a first round victory against the Toronto Raptors, he’s ready to prove it. In other words, even your very own mom would blush at the opportunity to invite this man for dinner, not because he’s faster than a speeding bullet or more powerful than a locomotive, but because Dwight Howard is Superman.

Now meet Jason Maxiell. Though it took him four years of college experience and two more buried deep in the bowels of the Detroit Pistons depth chart, Mad Max finally found his way into Flip Saunders’ esteemed rotation. He isn’t tall, he doesn’t smile a whole lot, his arms are long enough for mid-mission spaceship repairs and, unlike the Man of Steel over there, his muscles don’t look like he stole them from an action figure.

If you’re familiar with the DC Comics universe, Jason Maxiell is Bizarro Superman, an inverted replica of regular Superman. If you’re not familiar with the DC Comics universe, Jason Maxiell is simply the reason the Pistons have the best second unit in the NBA.