Originally written 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.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Urban Meyer has 'feeling' who will start at QB

Report: Schilling to return to 'Sunday Night Baseball'

Report: Cardale Jones rushed to hospital with head pain

WATCH: Cubs' Baez swings so hard he falls down

WATCH: Boston host jokes Goodell should be murdered

WATCH: Mets get inside-the-park HR after OF flips over wall

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Eli Manning remains unfazed about poor preseason

RG3 thinks 'Concussion' movie will 'make a lot of people mad'

Can Darrius Heyward-Bey replace Martavis Bryant for the first month in Pittsburgh?

Treon Harris to start at QB for Gators’ opening game

Marshawn Lynch campaigning for Seahawks to sign Fred Jackson

Alabama vs. Wisconsin showdown not selling many tickets

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

Top 10 storylines for Week 4 of the NFL preseason

Matt Williams is still hopelessly married to the idea of the closer’s role

Five unique CFB games to watch this weekend

Be careful what you wish for, Jay Gruden

Ryan taking leap of faith with Bills

Top 10 storylines for Week 1 of college football season

Underdogs: Hopefuls that can shock in the World Cup

Manfred digs Shoeless Joe a deeper grave

Why Mike Trout ain't right

The Opening Drive: Jamal Anderson warns UM fans before heading to Salt Lake City

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