For the first time since the four-team mega trade that brought him to Los Angeles back in August of this year, Dwight “Superman” Howard has finally seen on-court action as a member of the Lakers.
”I actually shed a couple of tears. During the starting lineups, one of my teammates caught me, so I tried to hide it, but I was just excited. It is really emotional, because I hadn’t been on the court in a while. I didn’t know what to expect, but it’s a very humbling experience.”
Even if it was just meaningless preseason basketball, it’s at least something.
In 32 minutes, Howard put up 19 points on 8 for 12 shooting from the field. He hit 3 of his 8 free throw attempts, grabbed 12 rebounds (4 offensive) and blocked 4 shots.
He did however turn the ball over 5 times as well.
In the end, it wasn’t enough as the Sacramento Kings rallied in the final minutes of the fourth quarter to knock off the Lakers 99-92.
Los Angeles now falls to 0-6 this preseason…..
and no one cares!
It was a risky move of course, but seeing Howard on the court must have the mouths of Lakers fans all over the country salivating.
I assumed early on that we wouldn’t be seeing Dwight until the first month of the season. I figured he would possibly miss the first 5-10 games of the year as he recovered from an offseason back surgery.
There is absolutely no way the Lakers would have put him on the court last night unless they got some sort of confirmation from doctors that Howard’s back was good to go.
Otherwise, they would be idiots.
For every ally-oop and cut to the basket Dwight had, he would also throw up a careless turnover or be late on defense and lose his assignment as well.
It wasn’t a perfect game, and no one should have expected that from him.
Last night’s loss not only exploited flaws in Howard’s game as he makes his comeback (he still can’t shoot free throws to save his life), but it also showed some areas of weakness in the Lakers arsenal.
The bench was dreadful, being outscored 57-18 by the Kings second unit. Even with Antawn Jamison on board, the Lakers reserves aren’t nearly as deep as one might think. The starters are going to have to be ridden like mules and play 32+ minutes a night with at least 2 of the 5 on the court at all times to help stay in games.
That’s a fact.
Hopefully over the course of the season, I’ll be proven wrong in the respect. It could very well present itself to be a huge problem down the road.
I guess on a team with Howard, Kobe Bryant (who led the team with 21 points last night), Pau Gasol, Steve Nash and Metta World Peace, depth may never come into play.
The bottom line is that the son of Jorel himself (Superman junkies will get that) is back and ready to establish his dominance once again.
The kinks will be worked out over time.
Expected perfection over night would be naive.
Christopher Walder is a sports blogger and lead editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter @WalderSports