Tag Archives: Dwight Howard

Would anything but the championship be a failure for the Warriors

Golden State Warriors

WARRIORS

As the Golden State Warriors’ co-owner Joe Lacob recently stated, anything but the conquest of the championship would be a failure for the team. No matter if this statement is a bit too optimistic or too harsh, it shows what mindset the Warriors should have heading into the postseason.

The Dubs just recently secured their second consecutive playoff berth. During the previous season, Golden State made it to second round and it manage to stay alive for six games before the San Antonio Spurs got the ticket to the next round.

During the summer that followed, it was made clear by the Warriors’ front office that the team would have to take a step forward and reach the top level. Former All-Star forward Andre Iguodala was brought aboard to help the Dubs make it to the top. The Warriors even got into the Dwight Howard chase, showing that they are talking seriously about championship contention.

Although Howard wasn’t acquired, the Dubs made several mid-season moves to further strengthen their position and increase their chances to follow a championship course. Firstly with additions of Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks and then with Steve Blake, the Warriors tried to fill all their holes and up to a level, they achieved exactly that. However, there is no doubt that at least if I had to judge from the current way the Warriors are playing, they still have a long way to go before they reach the level of the elites of the conference.

Warriors

LIGHTS OUT

In fact, considering that the Warriors will finish the regular season at the sixth or seventh spot, it will be very difficult for them to make it past the first round. The Splash Brothers are playing terrifically this season for sure and the supporting cast is providing the much needed help. Even guys like Jermaine O’Neal and Marreese Speights had their moments. However, it will be a miracle for the Dubs to eliminate the Oklahoma City Thunder or the Los Angeles Clippers, one of which will be their first round matchup.

Due to their struggles early in the season, the Warriors haven’t managed to make it to a seed in the Western Conference, which would have allowed them to hold the home court advantage or even face a relatively weak opponent in the first round.

I strongly believe that no one should underestimate the Warriors this year. Whilst they are fairly considered underdogs in the championship race, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson have proven that they can sting like an angry duo of bees, when they find pace. The two big questions heading forward is if the Splash Brothers will manage to play big for the entire playoff series and if David Lee will be in a position to play.
Joe Lacob was right when he talked about failure this year, if the Dubs don’t make it to the top. That’s exactly how everyone around the Warriors franchise should think. However, realistically speaking, Golden State stands a few chances to win the trophy this year. BY: Chris M.

See Dwight Howard Vs Lakers 4/8

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Blazers First Round Match Up Possibilities

Portland Trail Blazers

Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers are indeed one of the strongest title contenders in the Western Conference this season. Whilst they entered the 2013-2014 campaign as underdogs, they have earned the contender characterization thanks to their incredible performances, especially during the first months of the season and also thanks to their consistency. The Blazers currently rank third in the conference, but it’s still unclear at which spot they’ll end up at the end of the regular season. Let’s examine who will the Blazers play in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

The truth is that the Blazers seem capable of beating almost any opponent, at least in the Western Conference. The Blazers won’t most probably meet the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first leg, so we’ll keep them off of our discussion.

Dallas Mavericks

Portland Trail Blazers

Blazers

If the regular season ended today, the Dallas Mavericks would be the first-round opponents of the Portland Trail Blazers. Rip City would be the obvious favorite in this matchup. Although the Mavs are over performing this season, they have neither the quality nor depth to match with the Blazers in a seven-game series. Damian Lillard would own the point guard spot, since Jose Calderon is unmistakable slower than the Blazers’ superstar. In the battle of the power forwards, between Dirk Nowitzki and LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland has the upper hand, too. Aldridge is recording arguably the best season of his career, while Dirk not at the best shape he’s been.

Golden State Warriors
The Dubs will be an opponent to avoid for the Blazers come playoff time. The Warriors are a very dangerous team and when the duo of Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry find rhythm, it’s almost impossible to stop them. The Warriors are great against teams with thin defensive lines and Portland currently ranks 25th in the league in points allowed. The Warriors currently rank seventh in the Western Conference but they are a potential opponent for the Blazers.

Phoenix Suns

Damian Lillard Blazers

Damian Lillard

The Phoenix Suns are another strong potential opponent for the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers could find themselves playing against the Suns, who have been impressive up to now in the season. No one really saw them coming this season and yet they have managed to establish themselves as one of the most dangerous teams in the West. No team, even the highest-seeded one, will really want to meet the Suns in the first leg of the playoffs. The Suns currently rank eighth in the West, but they may be able to climb one or two seeds by the end of the regular season.

Houston Rockets
The battle for the spots three to five is very close in the West. The Houston Rockets have been trying to clinch one of the highest ones this season. At the end, though we might see the Rockets falling a bit behind and meeting the Blazers in the first leg of the playoffs. Whilst Dwight Howard and James Harden have already build chemistry, the Blazers have the potential to top them in a seven-game series. My favorite match up would be the Blazers Vs Rockets!Chris Michaels

Lakers Face Durant and Howard This Week

Lakers Tickets Courtside

Lakers Bulls

With Steve Nash and Steve Blake in the fold things might be looking up, at least a little bit, for the Los Angeles Lakers. Nash and Blake returned to the Lakers lineup on Tuesday night in Minnesota, with Nash making his season debut. The depleted Lakers ended up losing Tuesday night at the hands of the Timberwolves, but then went on to win two in a row on the road before losing at home Sunday versus the Chicago Bulls.

Week Recap: Even with the return of Nash and Blake the Lakers continue to be the most snake bit team in the NBA when it comes to losing players. The return of their two point guards coincided with the loss of Nick Young and Jodie Meeks to injury. Wednesday’s night win in Cleveland saw Robert Sacre of the Lakers stay in the game after fouling out, a rarely seen NBA rule, due to the fact the Lakers had just five players left. After already losing Nick Young to injury and Jordan Farmar to leg cramps the Lakers were down to five players after Chris Kaman fouled out. Even with a depleted roster the Lakers hit a season-high 18 three-point shots to defeat the Cavaliers and former Head Coach Mike Brown. Los Angeles continued their winning ways Friday night with a fourteen point defeat of the Philadelphia 76ers behind 19 points from Steve Nash on his 40th birthday. Steve Blake contributed 14 points and 8 assists in the victory. Even without Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol the return of Nash and Blake is a welcome sight for Lakers fans. The Lakers returned home Sunday to face a competitive Chicago Bulls team, losing a tough one, 92-86. Chicago ran out to a nineteen point lead and the Lakers rallied back but couldn’t close the gap in the end, losing despite a season-high 27 points from Chris Kaman. Unfortunately for the Lakers they may have lost Steve Nash again for a short period of time. Nash knocked knees with Kirk Hinrich in the third quarter, causing his knee to flare up once again. He’ll be evaluated and may miss a couple of games.

Lakers Tickets Staples Center

Staples Center

The Week Ahead: The Lakers have a big home stretch coming up with five games at STAPLES Center over the next two weeks, including two with key Western Conference contenders. Los Angeles kicks off the week Tuesday night when they host the Utah Jazz. The Jazz are coming off of an impressive home victory over the Miami Heat. Thursday night Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder make a visit to STAPLES Center, giving Lakers fans a chance to see the NBA’s leading MVP candidate in action. Following the All Star Break the Lakers return home next week when they face off versus the Houston Rockets in a game that many Lakers fans have had circled on the calendar since last summer. Wednesday will mark the return of former Lakers center Dwight Howard to STAPLES Center. The gifted big man, who had an up and down season in LA last year, has teamed with James Harden to put the Rockets in the fourth playoff position in the west. Lakers Vs Rockets tickets start at just $48 per ticket. The Lakers wrap up the following week by hosting the Boston Celtics on Friday and the New Jersey Nets on Sunday. With five games including four playoff contenders it will be a big ten days of basketball for Lakers fans. Chris Michaels.

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The Lakers Without Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant LA Lakers

Kobe

The six-month wait for Kobe Bryant to return from his Achilles injury was short-lived. The Lakers superstar was slowly working his way back into shape before injury struck again a week ago Tuesday versus the Memphis Grizzlies. Bryant’s knee injury was suffered in the third quarter. The optimism the Lakers saw in Bryant’s improved play has he rounded into form was quickly scuttled once again. Bryant’s fracture of the lateral tibial plateau in the same leg he suffered his Achilles tear has put Bryant on the shelf for an additional six weeks that will carry through into the All Star break. The injury has made many question the wisdom of Bryant returning at all this season. The Lakers superstar reiterated his determination to play again this season, which he will likely do. The latest injury, although clearly not season ending, has once again made many question the Lakers decision to extend Bryant for two additional seasons beyond this year.

The Lakers have re-upped Bryant so it’s pointless to debate the merits of the deal. The club may have over-paid for the player that Bryant is at this point in his career, but you have to admire their interest in rewarding their superstar for what he’s done for the franchise. In a difficult Western Conference it’s difficult to see the Lakers competing for one of the final playoff spots. Los Angeles currently sits at 12th in the west, in a solid group of teams that includes Denver, Minnesota, New Orleans and Memphis. The Dallas and Phoenix greatly improved the already competitive west has become even tougher. With the Lakers playoff chances dim does it make sense to sit Bryant the entire regular season?

Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant

Actually getting the famously competitive Bryant to sit out the season is a challenge in itself, but the idea of sitting Bryant does make some sense. Without Bryant the Lakers were surprisingly competitive due to the roster decisions they made in the offseason. An entire year off would give Bryant the ability to truly recover, both from the knee injury and the Achilles. There is no indication that the two injuries are related but Bryant has now suffered two major injuries on the same leg in the past eight months. A fully recovered Bryant, even if he’s diminished athletically, will allow the Lakers to achieve the max value out of his two-year extension. During the remainder of the regular season the club can take a long look at some of the younger players (Wes Johnson, Nick Young, Jordan Farmar) that have helped ignite them this season. The combination of a potential lottery big and any value the club can get for Pau Gasol in a potential trade will give the Lakers even more versatility next season.

The Lakers fan base can tolerate a subpar season to build for the future. A fully recovered Bryant and a solid draft pick can do wonders for the franchise as they move into next season. Meanwhile let’s sit back and enjoy this year’s team, who though far less talented are a lot more entertaining than last year’s Dwight Howard centered club. By:Chris Michaels.

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Can a healthy Pau Gasol fill in for Dwight Howard?

Los Angeles Lakers

LA Lakers


The Los Angeles Lakers experienced a big shock, due to the departure of megastar Dwight Howard this summer. But can they be optimistic that the hole Superman left behind will be filled somehow? Probably yes. That’s because they possess one of the best big men in the NBA, in Pau Gasol. The 7-footer Spaniard is one of the team’s stars that didn’t play up to their potential last season.

Pau Gasol will be under pressure in 2013-2014. Inevitably, he will be the target of comparisons with Howard. Assuming he is once again healthy, could he fill in for the gone monster center?

If we look at the stats sheets of both of them, we can see many similarities. Certainly, D-12 is more forceful around the rim and he is more athletic. Howard is a fancier player, a more impressive dunker and a better blocker than Pau Gasol. Nonetheless, Gasol has some other attributes that Howard is missing, like a mid-range jumper and solid passing skills for his size. He is much more accurate from the free-throw line, too, an aspect of the game that sometimes dooms Howard’s strengths. If Gasol manages to find the good part of his self once again, then he could make Howard’s absence unnoticeable.

The 2012-2013 campaign was Gasol’s less productive one of his career. He averaged 13.7 points per contest, 8.6 rebounds and he also shot 46.6 shooting from the floor. He played in 49 games and started in 42 of them. Those numbers could be adequate if Gasol was a mediocre power forward or center. But we all know that can do much better than that.

The 7-footer has an 18.4-point per contest average for his career and also 9.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists. He is also a 51.8 percent shooter from the field.
Dwight Howard averages 18.3 points per game to go along with 12.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists. His shot average from the floor is 57.7 percent.

It’s obvious that a healthy and good-shaped Gasol he can perfectly replace Dwight Howard. Defensively, Gasol can contain almost any opponent at the power forward and center positions.

The big question of course now for Gasol and the Lakers is what condition he will be in, how well he will be able to help his team win games. This will be a major concern for Mike D’Antoni next season. He has to find ways to utilize his big man, and also bolster his mental condition. Due to the slump of the previous season, Pau Gasol played like he had no motivation. The incompatibility with Howard was obvious. Sometimes, the Los Angeles Lakers were better when only one of them two was on the court. When Gasol was out due to injury, this became even clearer.

LA certainly has the quality needed to surprise the league and record a successful season next season. All they have to do now is to find a way to return to their usual standards, both individually and as a team.

Barry’s Tickets has been selling Lakers Tickets for all Staples Center games for over 10 years with No Service Fees or Hidden Charges. By:Chris Michaels

Will The Lakers Make The 2014 NBA Playoffs?

Can the Lakers make the playoffs?

Los Angeles Lakers

LA Lakers

With Kobe Bryant returning from an Achilles injury and Dwight Howard now a member of the Houston Rockets many have written off the Los Angeles Lakers as a legitimate playoff contender. With the NBA’s Western Conference as deep as ever and many of the contenders making improvements to their roster the Lakers will have a tough challenge ahead of them. Here are five factors that will impact whether or not the Lakers will make the playoffs.

Kobe Bryant’s Health: The Lakers superstar has been such an iron man during his NBA career that the sight of the injury he suffered late last season was a shock to NBA and Lakers fans alike. The injury served as a reminder that Bryant has accumulated a lot of miles on his legs during his sixteen year NBA career. With Howard now a member of the Rockets and an aging cast around Bryant the Lakers will rely on their superstar more than ever. The big question is how quickly can he come back? The injury is an opportunity for Bryant to tap into his famed work ethic and shock the establishment by making a quicker return than normal. The Lakers need their superstar back and how quickly and effectively he can return will greatly shape the upcoming season. Bryant has proven people wrong time and time again in his career and it wouldn’t surprise anyone around the Lakers if Bryant came back and put together an All Star caliber season.

Can They Stay Healthy? Beyond the chemistry issues of incorporating Dwight Howard into the lineup the Lakers early struggles last season was health related. With injuries to Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace, Steve Nash and Howard the Lakers very rarely had the starting five they envisioned going into the season on the floor at the same time. The Lakers had big expectations from the two-time former MVP Nash, but the forty-year-old point guard just couldn’t stay healthy. All indications this season is that Nash is healthier than he was in the last couple of seasons. If he can regain some of the form he showed the past handful of seasons in Phoenix the Lakers may be in good hands. In regards to Gasol the veteran big man will be motivated to re-assert himself as the leader of the Lakers frontline and should form a nice veteran inside combo with Chris Kaman. The former Clippers big man had a difficult season last year in Dallas but is a capable inside player who should provide quality minutes.

Have they gotten younger? Even though the Lakers will still rely heavily on the aging veteran trio of Bryant, Gasol and Nash they did make some moves to inject some younger and more athletic players into the rotation. Nick Young and Wesley Johnson have bounced around and both been labeled as disappointments in various stages throughout their careers. Johnson was a former high draft pick of the Minnesota Timberwolves who never really lived up to expectations, which included spending last season in Phoenix. The Lakers are hoping that the tutelage of Mike D’Antoni and the presence of Kobe Bryant can help Johnson elevate his game to the promise of a fourth overall draft pick. He can shoot the three ball, is extremely explosive in the open court and is a plus defender. Nick Young is a similar player to Johnson, rangy and athletic with the ability to hit the perimeter jumper. The big question is whether the duo will be an upgrade over veteran Metta World Peace.

The Head Coach Question: Much continues to be written regarding the Lakers decision to go with Mike D’Antoni as the head coach over Phil Jackson. The bottom line is that the Lakers roster as it was built last season just didn’t fit the style of play that D’Antoni utilizes. With an offseason to re-construct the roster and with Dwight Howard off in Houston , D’Antoni and the front office have added some younger more athletic shooters to help him achieve the style of play he wants. Of course the D’Antoni offense requires a healthy point guard, and the question is still out on whether Steve Nash can stay on the court the entire season. The Lakers Head Coach has the point guard who helped drive his offense during their year’s together in Phoenix. Like Bryant and several other members of the Lakers, Mike D’Antoni has something to prove this season.

Can they play defense? The Lakers were a poor defensive team last season and lost their top two defenders from a year ago in Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace. At this point in his career Kobe Bryant is no longer the defensive force he used to be. In fact he often takes many possessions off on the defensive end. Both Nash and Gasol are outright liabilities on defense. Chris Kaman is solid but not the quality of Howard when the former Lakers big man is playing up to his capabilities. It’s likely the Lakers will have to outscore teams, which is possible in the D’Antoni system. They’ll compete well with the middle and bottom tier Western Conference teams, but will struggle against the elite Western Conference foes like Oklahoma City, Denver, San Antonio, Los Angeles Clippers, Houston, Memphis and Golden State. Whether or not the Lakers can find some semblance of cohesive team defense will be a key factor in whether or not they make the playoffs.

So, will they make the playoffs?

It’s going to be a challenge. There are seven teams (Oklahoma City, Denver, San Antonio, the Clippers, Houston, Memphis and Golden State) that have the look of potential fifty win teams. The Western Conference is as deep as ever. The Lakers very well could be competing for the final spot with a group of teams that includes Portland, Utah, Dallas, Minnesota and New Orleans. In that group the Trail Blazers have a young roster and have made some nice offseason moves. The Timberwolves have a healthy Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio and look to be much improved. Both Dallas and Utah have a veteran core. It all depends on how quickly and how effectively Bryant returns. If the Lakers star can make an early season return and be the player he has been the last several years the Lakers have a chance to start strong and be in playoff contention. If Bryant cannot make that return it may be a tall task to make the playoffs.

Lakers Tickets are at the lowest they have been in many years reflecting that the fans might not be supporting the Lakers organization and the moves they have made since Mr Buss passed away. By:Chris Michaels

Dwight Howard and the Lakers face Paker and the Spurs today

Lakers Vs Spurs Playoff Tickets

Lakers Vs Spurs Playoff Tickets

After a miraculous run during the last weeks of the regular season the Los Angeles Lakers ended up even higher then they were expected to be. They finished 7th in the Western Conference and now the second-seeded San Antonio Spurs are on their way to another challenging run, this time in the Playoffs.
The momentum for LA is big. Not only did they manage to make it to the Playoffs after losing their superstar Kobe Bryant and also after being almost paralyzed by the constant injuries this season. They also topped the Houston Rockets in the season finale and clinched the 7th seed. This could turn out to be crucial for their post-season course. The reason for that is no other than the fact that they avoided the sizzling Oklahoma City Thunder, at least for the moment.

Despite that there was a huge gap on the record table between the Spurs and the Lakers, one could notice that San Antonio is a much more preferable opponent for LA.

The Spurs edged the season series 2-1 but it was nowhere near an easy job for them. In fact San Antonio won the first matchup by just a two point deficit and also the second one by just three. Both of the games were decided by details and could have easily turned the other way around. Also, during their latest meeting, the Lakers got a must-win game without Kobe. That game was a preview of what’s going to be the story in the upcoming series.

The blueprint for the Lakers’ success is simple. Everybody needs to step up. Of course, much load will be on the shoulders of Dwight Howard. He will need to reach the monstrous performances he had during his Orlando Magic days. He is more that capable of dominating the paint, even with an ever young Tim Duncan on the opposite side. After the injury of the Black Mamba, D-12 has exceled his offensive rhythm. His accuracy from the charity stripe will also play a big role. Every detail counts during the Playoffs and his below-50% shooting from the line could be one of them.

Of course Howard will need some help. Fortunately, his teammates have showed some urgency during the last games. The encouraging fact for LA is that they expect Steve Nash to be ready for Game 1. They will need their entire available arsenal to beat their opponents. Gasol also will be a key player in the series. The two-time NBA Champion has to step up as another strong presence inside and help Howard in rebounding.
On the other side, Gregg Popovic has a few headaches on his head. Parker and Ginobili came back from injuries, but it still remains to be seen if they are at their full strength. Also, despite their great course this season, his team encountered some serious problems when playing against the Lakers in their previous matchups. The addition of the T-Mac of course only adds to the team’s firepower. The Spurs will have the pressure on their side as they are considered to be the favorites. Shall they slip one of their first two games, they will lose home court advantage and then the momentum suddenly will be on LA’s side.
With the drama of the regular season disappeared after the capture of the 7th seed, the road ahead has no limits for LA. Even without Kobe and despite not having their ideal lineup – the one that was projected to make them almost unbeatable – the Lakers can still respond well to yet another challenge and advance to the next round.

First game of the series tips off on Sunday the 21th of April at San Antonio and the two teams play again on Wednesday. Then the series move to the Staples Center on Friday the 26th and Sunday the 28th. If necessary, the next games will take place on Tuesday the 30th, Thursday the 2nd of May and the last game will be on the 4th of May.

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Dwight Howard and Lakers seem ready for playoff challenge

Dwight Howard

Is Dwight Howard ready to compete for a championship?

Despite the loss to the Phoenix Suns, there’s barely a single Lakers fan that can be disappointed by the team’s performance turnaround after the NBA All-Star break. Apart from Kobe, who has been most consistent player of the team throughout this season, Dwight Howard has also managed to improve his game on both ends of the floor. He has been a huge factor that allowed the LA Lakers to save this season.

It’s no secret that both the fans and the team’s officials in the City of Angels were disappointed by the performance of D-12 during the first half of the season. You can blame his adjustment period or the fact that he was coming off a severe back injury. One thing is for sure: Howard was not the dominant player in the block the Lakers expected him to be.

However, he drastically changed his pace both on the defensive end and of offense. Especially on defense, the impact of the three-time Defensive Player of the Year has been big no matter the opponent. When he is not denying shots he is most likely to change them and that’s of course if the opponents find the courage to even attack the Lakers’ paint. This became more noticeable due to the constant and long lasting injuries of his teammate big man, Pau Gasol. D-12 had to step up and take more responsibilities on both ends of the court.
Offensively, Howard has also improved his performance. He is driving stronger to the basket after the pick-and-rolls and he is more efficient when he catches the ball close to the hoop. During the last 10 games, Howard is averaging 17.4 Points per Game on 48% shooting from the field and meantime grabbing a bit over 15 rebounds. He also has almost 3 blocks per game.

Howard’s performance boost comes along with a general improvement to the Lakers as a whole. LA is now showing that the original purpose of this team was to be successful in the post-season. Of course the Lakers didn’t target to finish 8th in the West when the season started. Nevertheless, when Steve Nash and Howard took their talents to LA to join Kobe and Gasol, there was just to one goal, to win another Championship. This team is in a win-now situation. This was the case even at the very beginning of the season and this continues to be their focus. Judging from the aging roster, one could say that this might actually be the last chance for this team to change a ring.

The Lakers have responded well to their first task, to pick up the pace, find ways to win and enter the Playoffs. Nothing’s 100% certain yet, but the fans can be optimistic. The next challenge for them is to put their names as an eligible Championship Contender. In a way they have achieved that, too. They went from a team scratched off the Championship puzzle, to a strong presence in the West. They will now have to fulfill the fans’ expectations.

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Dwight Howard finally reminds of Superman of old

Dwight Howard

Is Dwight Howard ready to compete for a championship?

It’s been almost seven months since the blockbuster trade that brought Dwight Howard to LA, to join forces with Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. No one can say that this trade was worked out well for the Lakers up to now. However, during the last weeks the team has really picked up its performance and Howard is no exception. He finally shows what a dominant player he can be, a beast down the block.

In recent win of the Lakers over Howard’s former team, the Orlando Magic, he scored 39 points and also grabbed 16 and denied 3 shots. An amazing stat he had was his 39 free-throw attempts, of which he managed to get 25 to go in. This tied the NBA record for most free-throw attempts in a game. Since the start of the season, lots of teams have followed a weird –yet successful- tactics against the 6’11” center. They intentionally fouled him when the Lakers had possession, even if Howard didn’t have the ball and tried to score a basket. That led him to missed free-throws.Nevertheless, Howard proved during the last game that he can handle such situation and he punished the Magic.

Possibly the most essential fact is that Howard is finally healthy. He entered the season not at his full strength, after passing through a serious back problem that could be proved to be even more severe. The surgery he underwent last spring and his time off the courts made him lose his pace.

After the All-Star break, D-12 started showing some urgency, as the rest of the team did. In fact it was time they all did. His numbers show the truth, 17.6 points per game, almost 15 rebounds and 2.6 blocks. It’s like he is a different player and it’s way more than just stats.

With the constant and long-lasting injuries of Pau Gasol, he had to step up and take more responsibilities, both offensively and on defense. He now seems to have accepted his role as a defensive wall in the paint and as top option on the offensive end, together with Kobe. The Lakers will definitely need him at his best as they progress through their schedule. Especially in the Playoffs, Howard can be an ace hidden in the sleeve for them. There is arguably no player currently in the NBA that can defend him in the post on a consistent basis. If he catches the ball close to the basket, it’s really possible that he’ll score or get fouled, or both. That’s the Dwight Howard the league got to know, during his first years in Orlando and that’s who the Lakers’ fans expected to see after the trade.

The number one priority now should be health for Howard. As he stated, he feels great with his body and admitted he has started finding his rhythm. Coach Mike D’Antoniagreed, saying that he sees the improvement in his condition and performance day by day. At last, as Dwight is the Superman we expected him to be.

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