Despite tying his career best of 26 rebounds in the 96-83 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night, the 27-year-old admitted that he was desperate for more success at the Toyota Center.
"I really was trying to get 30," Howard told reporters after the game. "I said coming in tonight that I wanted to get 30 rebounds. I was upset that I didn't do it, but I'll try the next game."
The number one pick in the 2004 Draft revealed that he was eager to approach the game in relaxed mood following months of intense media speculation since he left the Los Angeles Lakers in the summer.
"I just wanted to go out there and play and have fun and get back to being who I am as a player. I think when you focus too much on that and what everybody else is saying that's when you don't play like you want to play," he added.
Howard also scored 17 points in Houston's opening-night victory.