Found December 29, 2012 on Fox Sports West:
LOS ANGELES Following a lackluster loss in Denver on Wednesday night, the Lakers showed that when properly motivated by embarrassment this time they can play defense. And play it well. Los Angeles grabbed 52 rebounds and scored 23 fast-break points to beat Portland 104-87 at Staples Center on Friday night. Dwight Howard bounced back from his flagrant 2 ejection and 35,000 fine, scoring 21 points and grabbing 14 rebounds, while Kobe Bryant scored 27 to lead the Lakers to their sixth win in seven games. Bryant saw his streak of 10 straight games with 30 or more points come to an end, but he and each of the starters got some rest, no one playing more than Kobes 31 minutes. The Lakers were excellent defensively, allowing 39 fewer points than they did in the 126-112 loss to the Nuggets. This is great, Howard said, but we just have to go out there, keep working hard on defense and do it consistently. Its like Ive said before, we cant just be satisfied playing hard one or two games. We need to do it every time we step on the court. Steve Nash, who had 10 assists in his fourth game back from a fractured leg, says that having Howard playing at his best is key for the Lakers to be successful. Hes a handful for any guy to handle, he said, and hes so good on the pick and roll that it makes things so much easier for us to score. Defensively, when he plays hard it takes a toll on the other team. Thats why we got him and thats why were going to lean on him. Hes a one-of-a-kind player. And a player who sometimes get frustrated and isnt hesitant to let his coach or teammates see or hear about it. Howard has called out Mike DAntoni and his staff for not emphasizing defense enough, and hes made it clear that he doesnt like it when he isnt involved in the offense as much as he thinks he should be. But following the incident with Kenneth Faried in Denver that cost him a lot of money, Howard said hell try to keep his emotions better under control and wont let his being fouled hard put him in retaliation mode anymore. When I let those petty things get to me, it affects everyone and we lose, Howard said. Another emotional player is Pau Gasol. But ever since he returned from missing eight games with bad knees, he seems to be taking his role with the team in stride. Hes no longer the featured player down low for the Lakers, but he just goes out and plays rather than complain and its turning around what had been a poor start to the season. Despite playing with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, Gasol scored 15 points, grabbed nine boards and blocked three shots in 30 minutes. He also dished off five assists and said hes continually adjusting to his role in DAntonis offense. Im playing in short spurts, he said, and Ive got to be patient with my game and just be patient overall. I have to play my game, make the good decisions that I make and the rest of it will come. THREE THOUGHTS 1. Every Laker player make that every NBA player should grab a DVD of Jamaal Wilkes and watch it intently. Theyd see a consistent, no-nonsense, show-up-to-play-every-night basketball player. Everyone always talks about how the Showtime Lakers wouldnt have won as many titles if any without Magic Johnson or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Undoubtedly, this is true. But they also wouldnt have won without the man they called Silk for the smoothness of his overall game. During the Lakers title season of 1979-80, Wilkes averaged an even 20 points per game with 6.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.6 steals. The Hall of Fame small forward also shot a phenomenal .535 from the field, with most of his shots taken from 17 feet or farther. During his second Laker championship season he was even better, averaging 21.1 ppg, shooting at a .525 clip. He was also a vicious defensive player some called him dirty who made life hell for the majority of his opponents. Wilkes had his No. 52 jersey retired by the Lakers on Friday night at halftime, joining fellow Los Angeles stars Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Gail Goodrich, Kareem, Magic and James Worthy on the wall at Staples Center. 2. If DAntoni has proven anything so far during his Laker tenure, it that he has an enormously thick skin. Hes been criticized by some media, many fans and even his own players, yet he hasnt seemed the least bit bothered by it. Metta World Peace said that DAntoni had let the offense turn into the Kobe Show until they beat the Sixers in Philly. Asked about it, DAntoni admitted without rancor that MWP had a point and that hed try to prevent that from happening in the future. When Howard has expressed his displeasure with the coachs defensive strategy, DAntoni attributed it to frustration and moved right past it. 3. Add World Peace to the list of candidates in the running for Most Improved Player formerly known as the Comeback Player of the Year award. After two seasons of inconsistency, MWP has come to life after the firing of former coach Mike Brown. He came to camp in tremendous shape, but once DAntoni took over and set Metta loose, hes been a solid and most importantly consistent contributor on offense and defense. Its unusual to think of a 13-year veteran as a Most ImprovedComeback possibility, but MWP belongs in the conversation.
1 Comment:
  • METTA WORLD PEACE IS THE SECOND MOST CONSISTENT PLAYER ON THE ROSTER RIGHT NOW
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Dwight Howard Fined 35k for Flagrant 2

In a move that team-mate Kobe Bryant will certainly approve of, Lakers  center Dwight Howard has been fined 35,000 for the flagrant foul that he committed upon Denver’s Kenneth Faried on Wednesday night.  Please Click Here To Read This Story.

Lakers’ Frustration with Dwight Howard Intensifies

Photo Credit: ESPN.GOMuch like the Lakers thus far, Dwight Howard hasn’t been much of himself this season.  Recovering from back surgery last April that sidelined him for the rest of last season, Howard is still not 100% and won’t be for a couple more months.  His play this season is not what many Laker fans had expected from what they remember in Orlando.Last night was another...

Howard fined, Gasol probable vs. Blazers

In a season of ups and downs, injuries and mediocre basketball, the Lakers got more bad news this afternoon. An MRI on Pau Gasols right foot showed he has plantar fasciitis, one of the most painful and longest-healing injuries an athlete can have. The 7-footer is listed as probable for Friday's game against the Blazers at Staples Center. But plantar fasciitis is as unpredictable...

Unwilling or Unable: Dwight's Disappointment so far

Dwight Howard has been disappointing in Laker Land to say the least.  Rather than stepping into the team's superstar role and taking just a little pressure off of Kobe's ever-aging body, Dwight has all too often faded into the background, and hindered the team with poor free throw shooting and decision making in crunch time. Kevin Ding, from the Orange County Register has...

Dwight Howard Fined $35K For Flagrant Foul

Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard has been fined $35,000 for his Flagrant Foul Two against Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations. The incident, in which Howard made excessive contact with Faried above the shoulders, occurred with 5:02 remaining in the third quarter of the Lakers’ 126-114...

Howard Vows To Maintain Composure, Avoid Petty Fouls

Dwight Howard is three flagrant foul points away from an automatic one-game suspension.

Dwight Howard fined by NBA for flagrant foul

The NBA has fined the Los Angeles Lakers' Dwight Howard $35,000 for his flagrant foul on Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets. The fine was announced by NBA executive VP of Basketball Operations, Stu Jackson on Thursday.  The flagrant foul in question occurred with 5:02 remaining in the third quarter of the Lakers' Wednesday loss to the Nuggets. It was Howard's third...

Exec: Dwight Currently Playing Like Koufos

Dwight Howard is visibly not the same player he was before undergoing back surgery.

Dwight Howard ejected with flagrant 2 foul on Nuggets Kenneth Faried

Dwight Howard was ejected Wednesday night during the third quarter of Lakers vs. Nuggets. Howard mushed Kenneth Faried in the face, earning a Flagrant 2 foul.   Howard left the game with 12 points and seven rebounds. The Lakers eventually loss this one, 126-114 ending their 5-game win streak. After the game, Faried had this to say about [...]

Stan Van Gundy: Dwight Howard hasn’t looked like himself

Stan Van Gundy still communicates with the player who was most responsible for him being successful with the Orlando Magic, and the same guy who was chiefly responsible for him being fired. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Van Gundy said he still exchanges friendly text messages with Dwight Howard. In the interview, Van Gundy discussed Howard’s status with the Los Angeles...

Lakers take command, beat Blazers

Dwight Howard had 21 points and 14 rebounds, Kobe Bryant scored 27 points and the Los Angeles Lakers never trailed in their sixth win in seven games, 104-87, over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night. Pau Gasol had 15 points and nine rebounds as the Lakers closed out their 2012 schedule by climbing back to .500 (15-15) in their rocky season. Los Angeles had little trouble...

Kobe overtakes LeBron as top All-Star vote getter

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has overtaken LeBron James as the NBA All-Star top vote getter.  The second ballot returns were released on Thursday. Kobe has 977,444 votes, while James is second with 970,314, followed by Kevin Durant at 924,898, and Carmelo Anthony with 891,759. The 62nd NBA All-Star Game will be played at the Toyota Center in Houston, Tex. on Sunday...

Pau Gasol has plantar fasciitis, Howard fined $35k

Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis on Thursday, according to the Lakers. Lakers annouce that an MRI performed on @paugasol's right foot revealed plantar fasciitis. However, he's probable for Friday's game. — Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) December 28, 2012 Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the thick tissue on the bottom of...

Surging Lakers rout Trail Blazers

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Dwight Howard had 21 points and 14 rebounds, Kobe Bryant scored 27 points and the Los Angeles Lakers never trailed in their sixth win in seven games, 104-87 over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night. Pau Gasol had 15 points and nine rebounds as the Lakers closed out their 2012 schedule by climbing back to .500 (15-15) in their rocky season. Los Angeles...

The Best Choices To Be The Next Nets Head Coach

Though it’s entertaining as hell to watch, we all have to remember that the NBA is an extremely unforgiving business. With the news that the Brooklyn Jay-Z’s, ahem, Nets, fired their head coach Avery Johnson yesterday, most everyone was a little shocked around the league—yes, even LeBron! As Bron put it, one month he’s recognized as the best coach in the league, and then...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.