Tag Archives: Dwight Howard

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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Kobe stating that the media manufactured the Lakers drama

Media brought on Lakers Drama

Kobe Bryant & The Media Drama

When Kobe Bryant makes statements, press talks or tweets the world is watching. Are his statements always true and correct? That question is a little tricky. The latest news that Kobe gave us is that according to his point of view the media have actually manufactured the drama over the team.

We’ve seen many times Kobe making comments regarding his teammates and his team, trying to motivate them to play harder or even through pain and even making some suggestions. This time though, he tried to underplay the fact that the general picture the Lakers have shown us up to this point of the season is not convincing. Talking about the comments he made on Dwight Howard and about the need for urgency from his team, he said that his comments about Howard were misinterpreted. Additionally he said that he only tried to motivate his teammate and the rest of the story was in fact manufactured by the media.

Trying to push your teammates so that the team rolls up and finds its pace is one thing. However, to call the Lakers drama manufactured this season might be a little too much. It’s an awkward moment for the franchise and with if they don’t manage to enter the playoffs with this roster, then the drama would become real and for good. Surely this is the last thing the Lakers have to think about. Now it’s time for focus and hard work, so that the team gets some wins. However, handling the media and solving a problem internally is what great teams do. There’s no need to avoid looking failure in the eye and there’s also no need to put the blame on a single player or coach. Teams win as a whole and teams fail as a whole. That’s the way sports work and that’s how the NBA works, too.

The Lakers need Kobe to be the leader. He has to stand up for his team now that it’s a difficult time. It’s great to see him not giving up – that’s certainly not the way he is- and try to force his teammates and especially Howard, Gasol and Nash to show some urgency. That’s how Kobe has used to be during his 17 years in LA. However, finding the appropriate way to fire up the rest of the team is important. Controversies and mutual press statements are not the solution to the problem.

Dont miss the next “Battle For LA” When the Clippers and Lakers face off at the Staples Center on Feb 14th!

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2013 NBA All Star Game will Feature four from Los Angeles

4 NBA All Stars from Los Angeles

4 NBA All Stars from Los Angeles

After a non-surprising fan voting for the 2013 All Star game in Houston starting on February the 15th, the Western all-stars feature two players from each LA team; Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant from the Lakers and Chris Paul alongside Blake Griffin from the Clippers.

Kobe will record his 15th straight All Star appearance, all as a starter, while in the meantime he leads the votes overall for the third time in his career. This is well deserved by him despite for the Lakers being just 11th in the West. The 34-year veteran superstar is leading the league in scoring with 30 PPG and also is also shooting a career high 48% from the field this season.

Also at guard Chris Paul will make his appearance as a starter for the 4th time in his career, his sixth time generally as an all-star. Paul has been the leader of his team this season and has managed to change the whole picture of the Clippers together with Blake Griffin and the rest of the crew. He is averaging 17PPG and also almost 10 assists and he has provided some huge games for his team, lifting LA over tough opponents. His presence and his basketball IQ is what makes him so special, as he has the unique ability to make every teammate look better, a skill that only a few players in the entire NBA history possessed. Paul had a tough competition this season with Russel Westbrook for the starting point guard role, but managed to finish ahead from the Thunder’s star at votes.

At center we find Dwight Howard, his seventh straight All-Star appearance and his sixth as a starter. Although his team has not had a rather successful season till now, the monster center is putting huge numbers almost every game in rebounds and field goal percentage. He is averaging almost 18 points per game, 13 rebounds (first in the league) and 2.5 blocks. Even with some ups and downs in his performance, Howard is still considered to be one of the most, not to say the most complete players down the block and his starter role is well deserved.

Blake Griffin will also start for his 2nd time in an All-Star game, his third appearance overall. He is averaging 18 points on a 53% shooting from the field and also 8 rebounds per game. His has provided some huge games this season for the Clippers and also boosted the team’s 17-game winning streak that broke the franchise record. Apart from all the numbers and the stats, Griffin might be one of the strongest and most enjoying players to watch in the entire league, with all the dunks and alley-hoops his putting down.

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Can the LA Lakers make it to the playoffs this season?

Lakers Playoffs

Lakers Playoffs

It may be a weird question for every Lakers fans, but it’s the reality we all have to face. We may be used to ask whether or not we are going to win the Pacific Division, the Western conference or even the championship. However this season, things have changed. What we’ll have to fight for is to secure the 8th spot in the conference and enter the playoffs. Can we do that? Of course we can. Will we manage to achieve that? Let’s hope so.

After 37 games the Lakers now are 16-21 and rank 11th in the Western Conference. The 8th seed is taken currently by the Portland Trailblazers, who have a 20-17 record. They are 4 games ahead of the Lakers. Houston is 7th with 21-7 and the Nuggets are now 6th with 23-16. So the first target for us at this point is to achieve as many wins as possible in order to secure at least the 8th seed. We might have a tough schedule up ahead, with lots of games against above 0.500 teams, like the Heat, Memphis and the Thunder, but with Howard back on the team after an unspecified injury and with Nash already back, we can be pretty confident that we can win any game. Gasol is also expected to return the next few days and that will allow us to see the full potential of our team finally. We have yet to see how the entire team can play all together since the very beginning of the season. Due to our misfortunes and the constant injuries of our best players, we are in a tough position right now. But in the end I think we will manage to get what we want and believe me, as soon as we enter the playoffs, things will change drastically. We are champions, we have the heart of a champion plus a bunch of superstars in our team and we will not be easy prey for any predator in our Conference.

If we manage to get our entire team back and keep them healthy so we can get some rhythm, I am sure wins will come. Perhaps some tweaks during till the transfer deadline could help in that direction. Chemistry is not built overnight and that has to be made clear to all of us. We can play like a contender and I am sure we will when we have everybody up and rolling once again. Not only can we enter the playoffs, but we can take over many of our playoff opponents.

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2012 Year in review for the LA Lakers

Staples Center LA Lakers

For the LA Lakers, it has been a frustrating and controversial season up to this point. They were the big story during the off-season past, after making the huge acquisitions of All-Star center Dwight Howard and also veteran point guard Steve Nash. They also added some great role players like Jodie Meeks and Antawn Jamison and even Jordan Hill while in the meantime they retained their core players, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Metta World Piece. Every media, newspaper and TV show stated that the Lakers looked unbeatable in paper. They were supposed to be one of the few teams in the entire NBA that could contend for a title against the Champions Miami Heat. They, together with the Oklahoma City Thunder looked to have all the pieces set to chase a ring. However, the reality was vastly different for the team.

The beginning of the season was disappointing and the Lakers lost 4 out of their 5 first games. That led to the immediate firing of Coach Mike Brown, who was to blame for the team’s ineffective way of play. On top of this, the injury of Steve Nash after appearing in just 2 games was devastating for the Lakers. In addition, Dwight Howard came back to action after a serious back injury. Things continued to go south for LA, as they lost also backup point guard who torn an abdominal muscle and had to undergo surgery. The sophomore Darius Morris suddenly stepped into the power rotation, but the difference between him and Nash or Blake was obvious in the game play. The team continued to struggle on both ends of the floor, committing many turnovers and not finding its offensive rhythm, even after the new Coach Mike D’Antoni took over. Despite the winning record being slightly improved, the Lakers continued to struggle and hover over and under 0.500. It is very unusual to see the LA Lakers lying under the 8th seed at the Conference Standings. Pau Gasol was injured with a tendonitis and remained sidelined for eight games. His performance this season did not match the great expectations every Lakers fan had, but that was just another drawback to the team’s general appearance.

The end of 2012 found the Lakers on the verge of 0.500 with a 15-15 record. Of course things got better for them after both Nash and Gasol got back from the injuries. The Lakers won a tough derby against the New York Knicks, at a game that marked Nash’s return. It was a momentum victory for them.

Of course it’s normal for a team with so many new roster acquisitions to be in a bonding stage for a short period of time. However, the Lakers have to rush this stage and balance their way of play as we approach the Playoffs. Steve Nash is almost 39 years old, Kobe turned 34 this summer and also Gasol is 32. With this aging roster and 1-2 years possibly this team stays together, the Lakers are in a win-now situation. That’s why in 2013 they have to fight their way back and re-enter their way of chasing a championship.

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The newest Los Angeles Laker Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard Los Angeles Lakers

Dwight Howard Los Angeles Lakers

Four years ago at the trade deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers made what was considered a blockbuster move — they traded a package centered around Marc Gasol (although at the time we thought it was Kwame Brown) for Pau Gasol. Pairing him with Kobe Bryant led the Lakers to three straight finals and two NBA titles.

After tonight, Pau Gasol may be offensive option No. 4 on the Lakers.

To what is certainly the frustration and consternation of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and other owners (nice competitive balance), the Lakers have had the best offseason they have had since 1996 (getting Shaquille O’Neal and drafting Kobe Bryant). The Lakers were able to work trades for both point guard Steve Nash and the most dominant center on the planet today, Dwight Howard.

The Lakers are now the team best positioned to challenge the Miami Heat for the NBA title, they can match up in raw talent. And with real strengths at point guard and center — the two weakest links of the Heat — Los Angeles may well be the best team in the NBA.

Acquiring Dwight Howard is another bold move for the Lakers, just what we’ve come to expect from a franchise that measures success in championship rings.

So Howard is coming off back surgery and might not even be ready to start the season? So what? The Lakers don’t do Novembers. The Lakers do Junes. This is who they are.

Stay Tuned, this could be an amazing season in Los Angeles.

Recap NBA ALL Star Friday Night

Friday night the NBA hosted a number of events, none more interesting than the 2012 Sprint NBA All-Star Celebrity Game (5 p.m. | ESPN) and BBVA Rising Stars Challenge (7 p.m. | TNT).
Back in my day All-Star Friday night would be a place where they’d just talk to the All-Stars on camera, live, and get Karl Malone mad. The Celebrity Game and “Rookie” game have both gone through a number of changes over the years. This year in the Celebrity game they augmented the rosters with some former NBA-All Stars (passed their prime), and one WNBA notable (Tamika Catchings). The coaches for the two teams (somehow separated into “East” and “West”) were Orlando Magic Dwight Howard and Oklahoma City Thunder Kevin Durant respectively. I really had no idea who the celebrities in the celebrity game were except for the Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Kevin Hart.
There were even more changes in the Rookie game. This year they put all the rookies and sophomores into a pool, and had Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley alternate picks to fill out the two teams. The rosters used to only be 8 players strong, but because Jeremy Lin is a huge story right now, they increased the roster size to 10 players. In the older format it was very rare for the rookie team to beat the sophomore team. This way seems a bit more interesting though; you know, provided that the people making the picks actually know what they are doing. Ex Los Angeles Lakers Shaq’s first two picks, LA Clippers Blake Griffin and Jeremy Lin, both hardly played at all during the game. On the other hand, Chuck’s first two picks dominated when they were in the game. Early on DeMarcus Cousins was dunking on everybody, and his first pick Kyrie Irving won the MVP of the game (He went 8-8 from downtown). Also the two teams had every uneven coaching. Shaq’s team was coached by an assistant coach for the Chicago Bulls and Steve Kerr (TNT). The Chicago Bulls assistant was coaching in a game where no one played defense, so he was wasted; and Kerr was a GM but never a coach. On Charles’ team the two coaches were Maurice Cheeks (Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach), and Mike Fratello (TNT). Mo Cheeks and The Czar were both NBA head coaches — and Mike was totally into the game actually coaching.
I’m having difficulty finding an actual Box Score of the game, but Gordon Hayward finished the game with 14 points, a pair of blocks, and countless nice passes. His outside shot was still missing; however he got to do a little bit of everything and he looked like he was having fun. I was particularly impressed with his defensive rebounds — which he snagged due to his length and athleticism, I would like to see more of that for the Jazz. Derrick Favors also added 14 points, in 14 minutes according to John Hollinger. He made pretty much all of his shots, including all of his free throws — and he was the only guy out there on Chuck’s team who failed to convert his thinking into “Exhibition Game Mode”. In a way, he was the analog to Shaq’s team’s dour blue collar bigman Greg Monroe. They both played back to the basket, had some dunks, but many more of their finishes were fundamentally sound. And they both played post defense, instead of just letting people dunk it. Monroe, of course, stole the game and the highlight of the game when — in super-duper garbage time, actually disrupted a potential John Wall Jam, and turned it into a full court assist with seconds left on the clock.
Both of our guys played well off the bench, and seem to be enjoying themselves. Hopefully they can get more playing time together in the second half of the season. I think the last time I watched the rookie game was when Andrei Kirilenko was a sophomore, and he was the only guy playing defense for his team. Nice to know that few things have changed for the mentality of our players.

The Lakers and Clippers seek to add depth before the playoffs

With the Kenyon Martin signing done, the Los Angeles Clippers have obtained one more big body to help contend with the L.A. Lakers’ big front court in the future Battle of Los Angeles  Now, both teams are seeking to add yet more depth in order to bring home the bacon.  The returning players from overseas, like K-Mart, are one possible avenue for each team.  Everyday, it seems, the Lakers are rumored to be interested in so and so, or so and so is rumored to be demanding a trade to the Lakers (see Orlando Magic Dwight Howard).  Until recently, I cannot ever recall a single player either demand a trade to the Clippers or hope that the Clippers picked them up off of the waivers.  However, that has all changed with the formation of Lob City through the acquisitions of Chauncey Billups, Chris Paul, and even Caron Butler, who now has an NBA championship ring.  Not only are players hoping that the Clippers might take them in, but are actually dreaming about it.  Even Dwight Howard, arguably the best Center in the league, has persistently been rumored, now, to want to end up with the Clippers.  While that may or may not be true in reality, the media has crowned the Clippers as the next Big Thing.

Out of the available pool of free agents, including those who are currently overseas, who is the best fit for either the Clippers or the Lakers to put either team over the top?  Starting with the China-boys, this analysis may become polarizing quickly.  First up is J.R. Smith.  Two weeks ago he annihilated the Chinese league for 60 points on 14 of 18 treys.  Qingdao will probably have to sell their team and give up now like the Seattle SuperSonics did.  J.R. Smith, one of the streakiest and most annoying players in the NBA (and its sister-leagues) today, probably set back the Qingdao team a decade with that explosion.  J.R. Smith

Not two weeks ago did J.R. Smith remind the NBA of his talents.  He exploded for 60 points over Qingdao in the Chinese league, drilling 14 of 18 three pointers in the process.  Now, everyone knows J.R. Smith can shoot the ball and shoot it well.  Everyone also knows that he can dunk the ball and dunk it well.  But his off the court behavior and me-first attitude on the court could end up being more of a burden than a blessing to the team that lands him this coming week.  The Lakers want to sign Smith to complement Kobe and finally get someone to hit a perimeter shot.  While I love Matt Barnes, he is a far cry form the player who regularly turned it on for Don Nelson in Golden State a few years back.  And while I love Ron Artest (read:  Metta World Peace), he has always been a chucker and a sort of offensive clunker.  He still brings it defensively and is vital to their success, but for as much as a chastise J.R. Smith, I’d still rather have him taking ill-advisde shots than Metta World Peace.  The Clippers are also interested but since they’re already defensively inept in the backcourt (largely due to a lack of size), adding Smith would only make them defensively worse.  Also, there are likely not enough shots to go around on the perimeter between Cp3, Billups, Foye (a chucker), and Mo Williams (another chucker).  What the Clippers need is a real backup SF (or even starting SF).  If the Lakers sign Smith, I’d give it a B+ signing (only if Kobe can keep J.R. in line).  For the Clippers:  C-.

Taking a look at the list of domestic players, the only one who really stands out for either team is Gilbert Arenas.  While Larry Hughes’ teardrop tatted beneath his eye does stand out, unfortunately his game does not.  Arenas so desperately wants to play for any L.A. team in his hometown that he’s scheduled his own public workout for later in this week.  Arenas was last seen sporting an ill-advised beard and a shaky jumpshot in Orlando last year, and the fact that no team has yet signed the enigmatic combo-guard is not a good sign.  Last year he played 25 minutes off the bench behind such wonders as Jameer Nelson and Jason and Quentin Richardson.  What?  If Agent Zero cannot even displace any of those three chuckers, who is to say that he can displace any of the Clippers’ chuckers, who are actually playing at a fantastic level right now (see:  Mo Williams).  The Lakers could use someone to create offense, but not someone to dribble out the shot clock.  I’d give the Clippers signing Arenas a D- and the Lakers signing him a C+.

The last candidate is Wilson Chandler, who may or may not ever get out of his contract in China.  Chandler is a young player with a multifaceted game.  For some reason, he reminds me of Danny Granger, although he’s never really had the chance to put up Granger-like numbers.  Chandler is not phenomenal at any one thing but is pretty good at most of them.  The Lakers don’t exactly need another wing to steal shots, but if Chandler could be used to generate legitimate offense off the bench (that does not come from off-balanced three pointers), then he might be a good signing.  However, he would likely command too much money for the Lakers.  The Clippers could also really use him, as his game would readily remedy a lot of the penetration problems the Clippers currently have (and also move Caron Butler to the bench where he belongs).  But Chandler would probably cost too much for them, too.  That being said, I’d give each team an A- for acquiring Chandler.  In the end, though, the Lakers ought to refrain from acquiring anymore older talent and begin looking at younger talent.  Maybe let the Mini-Mamba loose.  The Clippers should stand-pat and let the team gel first before acquiring anyone else.

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2012 NBA All Star Game

The NBA All-Star Game is a game held annually between the top players in the Western and Eastern Conferences of the National Basketball Association. The game is part of All-Star

Weekend, held every February, which includes other exhibition activities such as the Rookie Challenge, Slam Dunk Contest, and Three-Point Shootout. The first NBA All-Star Game was held in 1951 in Boston, Massachusetts. The game gives fans the chance to see the best players in the NBA play together in a more relaxed atmosphere. The game is a celebration of basketball and sportsmanship and a real treat for any NBA fan.

Players for the NBA All-Star Game are selected in two different ways. NBA fans choose the starters, and the reserves are chosen by coaches, though the coaches cannot vote for their own players. The All-Star teams are coached by the coaches from each conference with the best record through the second week in February. Coaches, however, cannot coach two years in a row anymore. This is known as the “Riley Rule” – because of Pat Riley’s success with the Lakers in the 1980’s, he coached the Western Conference All-Star team nearly every year. The coach with the next best record is selected in this case to coach the team.

In May 4 2010, NBA Commissioner David Stern announced in a press conference that Orlando has been selected as the site of the NBA All-Star Weekend 2012, the 61st edition of this popular event.

The NBA All-Star Game will be played on Sunday, February 26 in the Amway Center, the new Orlando Magic Stadium to be opened in the fall of 2010. In the previous 2 days, the Amway Center also host the Rookie Challenge and the regular contests of the Saturday Night. The NBA All Star Jam Session will be held in the Orange County Convention Center.
This is the second time the All-Star visits Orlando, 20 years after the unforgettable 1992 edition, when Magic Johnson came back to the courts after starting his battle against the AIDS to win the MVP trophy and send a huge message to the whole world.

Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, David Robinson or Clyde Drexler were some of the greatest stars in 1992. Craig Hodges won his third three-point contest and Cedric Ceballos made a name for himself with a “no-look” dunk. In 2011 Blake Griffin stunned the arena by jumping over a car in the slam dunk contest.

The NBA All Star Weekend is second only to the Super Bowl when it comes to the biggest party weekend on the planet. Celebrities, pro athletes, and many more come to party with the NBA elite. Last year in Los Angeles, Dwight Howard had his own private party with performances by Rick Ross and Rihanna. Now the All Star Weekend in 2012 has shifted to Orlando, Florida. Dwight Howard’s hometown. With his contract expiring at the end of the season, this could be Dwight Howard’s last year in an Orlando Magic uniform.

The Eastern and Western Conference all-star teams will be led by the coaches with the best records in their respective conferences as of February 12 – two weeks before the game. Last year’s coaches – Boston’s Doc Rivers and San Antonio Spurs Gregg Popovic – are ineligible; league rules prohibit a coach from running the all-star team in consecutive seasons.

EASTERN CONFERENCE is made by teams Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, and part of WESTERN CONFERENCE are excellent Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings etc.

NBA All Star Game Tickets are onsale now. You can also purchase NBA All Star Rookie Challenge  NBA All Star Slam Dunk Contest.