ORLANDO, Fla. -- Brendan Haywood knows better than to tug on Superman's cape.
Haywood has had some success defending Orlando's Dwight Howard. The perennial All-Star's offensive stats in 17 career games against Haywood (13.5 ppg, .515 FG) are well below his career averages.
Haywood, however, doesn't want the credit for containing Howard.
"No one shuts down a high-level player by themselves," Haywood said after the Friday morning shootaround in Orlando. "It’s all about the team defense."
Of course, that team defense starts down low, especially against a dominant post player.
And there's not a more dominant post player in the league these days than Howard, a freakish athlete who has a rare combination of power and leaping ability along with a developing arsenal of moves.
"You have to put a body on Dwight at all times, because he’s strong, one of the most physical players in the league," Haywood said. "You have to match his physicality if you’re going to have any kind of shot at him."
It's probably wise for Haywood avoid promoting himself as a Superman stopper. No need to give Howard any extra motivation.
But Haywood clearly has Howard's attention. Howard, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, recently ranked Haywood as the league's best defensive center.