The Rockets had just beaten the Wizards 109-103 after a dramatic fourth quarter, but Houston center Dwight Howard would hardly make eye-contact with anyone in the locker room.
Howard, who turned 30 the day before, finished with 4 points and 9 rebounds -- not a stellar outing for a player whose career average is 18 points and 12.7 rebounds per game.
He was especially quiet on offense, hitting one of four attempts in 27 minutes.
The reason is obvious: Howard wasn't very involved in the Rockets' offensive game plan.
They favored small lineups of shooters to score on the perimeter and keep pace with the Wizards. For example, they put four guards on the floor at one point in the night.
That philosophy leaves Howard with a more circumscribed role these days.
After the game, Houston's interim head coach J.B. Bickerstaff hinted at the rather conservative plan for his center.
"It's important that Dwight [Howard] serves his role to the fullest," he said before praising Howard's defensive plays down the stretch. "Dwight knows how to impact winning in a bunch of different ways. He's not a guy who has to score the basketball to be effective."
But Bickerstaff acknowledged that the way he's used Howard hasn't helped his scoring.
"I do believe it's hard for him right now to catch a rhythm in these back-to-back games playing only in four minute stints. We're trying to extend when we can have him, so we're playing him in shorter stints and for guys that's difficult."
Howard more or less agreed once he was ready to speak to reporters.
"Yeah, it is [hard]. But I just try to do whatever I can while I'm out there and not focus on how long I'm out there."
When asked about his team's ability to score without him taking many shots, Howard was wary.
"I don't think that's going to be good for us later on in the season, especially come playoff time, but we just got to get better at playing inside-out," he said. "That'll make it easier for the guards to get those 3s off and they won't have to work as hard."
Bickerstaff closed his comments by reasserting how important Howard is to the team.
"So as long as he knows [his role], and he understands how important he is to us and his teammates let him know how important he is to our success, I think he's confident that he'll go out and do what he has to do to help us win."
We'll see how Howard takes that message.
MORE WIZARDS: Wizards fizzle late in 109-103 loss to Rockets