Found March 13, 2013 on
Purple and Gold Blog:
Los Angeles Lakers
A lot of anxiety fell into Dwight Howard prior to the game in Orlando last night. His first visit in the city that he gives credit to for raising him as the player he is today since his rookie year in 2004. But it turned out that Howard managed his emotions real well and led the Lakers (34-31) to their 4th-straight win to reclaim the 8th seed in the west from Utah.
The Lakers are in Atlanta tonight to take on the Hawks (34-29) — a team that has only won once in 7 tries in the month of March and is trying desperately to avoid slipping out of the playoff picture at the 7th spot.
The loss of Lou Williams to a torn ACL and Joe Johnson to a trade with Brooklyn are now coming back to haunt the Hawks. While they still have plenty of talent in Jeff Teague, Al Hordford and Josh Smith, Atlanta is lacking that go-to scorer who can create for himself as well as the team consistently. But that's just one area of why the Hawks have been miserable the past 3 weeks. Still, they are still dangerous enough for the Lakers, especially if they come out with a mindset to make the purple and gold pay for beating them at Staples Center 2 Sundays ago.
Time together has given the Lakers that team chemistry they were lacking before the All-Star break. Since then, the offense is clicking. The defense is active. And the team has figured out ways to overcome their 1st half woes to win games together.
But it's important for the Lakers to take each game as an opportunity to improve as well as a chance to cement their place in the playoffs.
This is the last meeting with the Hawks in the regular season with the Lakers looking to sweep the season series for the 3rd consecutive years. The Lakers are 2-3 in their last 5 games at Philips Arena.
Matchup of the Game
Dwight Howard vs. Al Horford: If Zaza Pachulia does not play tonight, this is going to be the matchup to watch. Horford presents a tough matchup for Dwight with his ability to knock down that mid-range shot and activity on the glass. Horford had 24 points on 12-of-20 shooting versus Howard 2 weeks ago. So, Dwight needs to look to dominate the paint on both ends of the floor even more tonight than last time these teams met.
Keys to the Game
> Expect Better Effort From Hawks: Like most teams, Atlanta plays better at home. And if you take into account that they lost by only a single point against the Lakers at Staples Center, they'll probably come out looking to get some payback. The Lakers have to come out strong from the get-go tonight.
> Dwight Howard: Another reason why the Hawks have not been soaring lately is their lack of size in rebounding. They're ranked 25th in the league even with Smith and Horford patrolling the glass. Howard has to look to punish anyone defending him, stay active under the hoop and challenge shots that get near the rim.
> Turnovers: One of the reasons why the Hawks nearly stole the game at Staples Center is the 21 turnovers the Lakers committed for the game. The Lakers have to be much more careful in that department tonight since turnovers on the road is a lot more difficult to overcome.
Watch Out For
LAKERS: Kobe Bryant: He had a bad shooting night versus Orlando last night scoring just 11 points on 4-out-of-14 shooting from the field. Expect him to set the tone offensively for the Lakers tonight.
HAWKS: Josh Smith: Smith played well in LA getting 19 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks. Kobe's one-handed dunk late in that game in his watch was the shot that broke Atlanta's back, so look for Smith to be more aggressive on the floor tonight.
@ Atlanta Hawks
Tip-off: 4:30 p.m. (PST)
TV: TWC SportsNet (Southern California)
Radio: 710 AM ESPN/1330 KWKW
LAKERS: Pau Gasol (foot) and Jordan Hill (hip) are out.
HAWKS: Lou Williams (knee) is out. Zaza Pachulia (sore Achilles) is game-time decision.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Dwight Howard was a force Tuesday in his first game back in Orlando since being traded from the Magic to the Los Angeles Lakers over the summer. He had a season-high 39 points while grabbing 16 rebounds and recording three blocks in the Lakers’ 106-97 win.
Howard has looked great in the last four games, all of which have been wins for the Lakers.
Though Dwight got the better...
The last of Dwight Howard’s 5 Baby mamas and the most sane one of them all has been working with Gamma Labs and producing these fitness videos over the last couple of months.
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It's the game that's been circled on every Orlando Magic fans' calendar since the beginning of the season.
Lakers vs. Magic -- 7 p.m. ET -- March 12, 2013.
The return of Dwight Howard.
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Prior to Tuesday night's game between Dwight Howard's new team, the Los Angeles Lakers, and his old one, the Orlando Magic, the big man said a lot of the right things. He apologized for his recent bashing of the team and talked a lot about growing up.
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Let me get this out of the way first: Dwight Howard deserved to be booed.
For a season and a half, he waffled and played with Magic fans' emotions. He kept the whole organization in limbo because of his indecision and forced the team to cater to his ever-changing whims before ultimately frustrating everything by either having a true change of heart or fearing a trade to a...
Dwight Howard went 25 for 39 from the free throw line in his return to Orlando on Tuesday.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- The number 12 is no longer sacred in Orlando.
The man who used to wear it, Los Angeles Lakers' center Dwight Howard, also once shouldered the Magic's hopes of attaining an elusive first NBA championship.
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When fans look at the players on the floor tonight, only one will matter.
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Howard has been preparing...
As covered here extensively at the Sportress over the past week or so, Los Angeles Lakers center and perceived turncoat Dwight Howard made his much-anticipated return to Orlando on Tuesday night to face his former team — and a chorus of boos, posters and hecklers — at Amway Arena.
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Los Angeles Lakers (33-31) vs. Orlando Magic (18-46)
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I'm sure Dwight will handle this with class right?
I’m assuming Shaq was motivated by the time change and the fact that “Spring” is just a week away. Why else would he come on “Inside the NBA” wearing his Easter suit? That’s a lot of white for TV. He has that nuclear glow going on. Ever the social media maven, Shaq told his Twitter followers to Tweet him their thoughts on his suit. You can imagine how that went. Shaq...