Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 12/5/12
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.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Cubs close door on Sammy Sosa reunion after bizarre comments

Rick Pitino restrained from going after North Carolina fan

76ers trading Ersan Ilyasova to Hawks for Tiago Splitter, pick

Budapest drops 2024 Olympic bid, leaving only Los Angeles and Paris, which could ban some participants

DeMarcus Cousins was ‘praying’ for a better supporting cast with Sacramento

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Nets trading Bojan Bogdanovic to Wizards

Elliott spoke with police after 'best friend' caught with gun

Jets reportedly believe Jay Cutler can compete in AFC East

Report: 'Melo could waive no-trade clause for Clippers after season

Rivers: Paul medically cleared to play, could return Thursday

Trea Turner missed part of Nats camp Wedneday for jury duty

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

The top 10 MLB third basemen heading into spring training

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

Box Score 2/22: Not everyone is happy with the new intentional walk rule

Teams and players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

Will the Timberwolves start showcasing their potential?

'Playmakers' in Ice Cube's league who can help the Cavs

Box Score 2/21: It's trade heartbreak season

The guard tandems you'd want in a 2-on-2 tournament

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

The top 10 MLB third basemen heading into spring training

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win the MVP award

Teams, players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

Will the Timberwolves start showcasing their potential?

'Playmakers' in Ice Cube's league who can help the Cavs

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker