Originally written on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 11/10/14
Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni says he does not plan to bench Dwight Howard at the end of games despite the center’s struggles at the free throw line. The Houston Rockets became the latest team to foul Howard purposely at the end of a game and see the strategy work in their favor. They began fouling Howard when they were down 97-93 with 3:17 left on Tuesday. Howard went 5-for-10 from the line after being fouled five straight times, and the Rockets went on to win the game 107-105. Coach D’Antoni said that Howard’s missed free throws weren’t the issue, and that he wouldn’t bench him anyway to solve the problem. “You don’t do that to a guy, and he made his foul shots. He’s not the reason that our defense breaks down, he’s not the reason that stuff happens,” D’Antoni said, via Lakers.com. “He’s gotta work through this. You take him out now, and what are you going to do, take him out all the time? You have a player that’s going to be your franchise player and you don’t do that to him. “It’s not him that’s causing the problem. It’s not a good thing, a knee-jerk kind of reaction … he’s fine. That’s not a problem. He made the last 4 out 6, and you have to go up and knock them down, and he will. We shouldn’t even be talking about that, because it shouldn’t come down to that. We shouldn’t have had 19 turnovers, and we shouldn’t lose our guys on a switch or on the perimeter. That’s not him; he’s doing a hell of a job, and he will continue to do that, and we’ll work through this.” D’Antoni is right in his mindset. You cannot plan to bench one of your franchise players at the end of all your close games, especially when he has such a big impact defensively. However, he needs to come up with a better solution. D’Antoni might have to consider taking Dwight off the floor when the Lakers get the ball, and then reinserting him into the game when they’re on defense. The numbers speak the truth about the matter. According to stats from ESPN, Dwight Howard’s free throw shooting has been awful in “clutch time,” which is defined as times when the score is within five in last five minutes of fourth quarter or overtime. Howard is 7-16 (43.8%) during “clutch time,” while the rest of the Lakers are 13-19 (68.4%). Howard is shooting .468% on free throws this season, which is down from his career average of .584. Even Shaq was never this bad at the line when teams began employing the “Hack-a-Shaq” strategy against his teams (he was a .557 shooter in his worst year). Howard really needs to get his act together.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao close to deal for fight

TJ Lang: Suh wanted to fight me after stepping on Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Hernandez jurors allowed to watch Super Bowl

Tiger misses cut: ‘I’m only doing this so I won’t get fined’

Roger Goodell grilled on Deflategate during presser

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rex Ryan: Seahawks need to ‘take the air out of the football’

J.J. Watt buys cabin in the middle of nowhere to train

Six teams have done background work on Peterson

NBA set to earn $700M through streaming deal in China

Wade Phillips is the best coordinator hire this offseason

Bill Belichick gives understated scouting report of Tom Brady

President Obama zings Patriots over Deflate-gate

Each major conference's Player Of The Year candidates

Super Bowl XLIX preview and predictions: Patriots-Seahawks

49 Stops to Super Bowl XLIX

Most unexpected MLB free agent signings of past 10 years

Five most villainous Super Bowls of all time

Super Bowl ad focuses on acceptance of gay athletes

Foster says UT boosters paid him $40-50K while in college

Ranking the repeat Super Bowl champions

Eric Decker to Sherman: Time your conception a little better

Could Katy Perry and Russell Wilson be dating?

The Media isn't the villain we deserve, but it's the one we need

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Obama zings Pats over Deflate-gate

Each major conference's POY candidates

Super Bowl XLIX preview and predictions: Patriots vs. Seahawks

The 13 things we want to see in Super Bowl XLIX

49 Stops to Super Bowl XLIX

Tiger Woods, misses cut: ‘I’m only doing this so I won’t get fined’

Ranking the repeat SB champions

Roger Goodell grilled on Deflategate

Katy Perry, Russell Wilson dating?

Rex Ryan has advice for Seahawks

Super Bowl: Things you can't control

LeBron and the Cavs are ready to make a run

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.