The Los Angeles Lakers’ worst nightmares came true in 2021-22, as they are embroiled in a battle for the Play-In Tournament with less than two weeks left in the regular season.
The Lakers thought they would fight for the championship when they brought in Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook, among other signings, last summer. Instead, they still can’t be sure they will make the postseason, as they are currently out of the Western Conference’s top-10.
Dwight Howard says it doesn’t feel entirely right the Lakers are so far away from the top of the standings with the talent they have. “It’s a little shocking, but anything can happen,” Howard says.
“We knew coming in we’re going to get team’s best shot. It’s just an ideal feeling knowing where we were to start the season and where we’ll be right now. We wish we were in a better place, but sometimes life throws you hard times and you’ve got to figure out a way to push through.
“As a team, we just got to push through these last couple games, which are so tough. Everyone is giving enough effort and energy. We want to win. It’s not like we’re going out there saying, ‘let’s just give up.’
“It’s been tough. We’re going to keep fighting. We’re not going to stop.”
However, Howard points out things can take 180-degree turns quickly in the NBA if a team suddenly clicks at the right moment, giving L.A. hope that it still has something to play for this year.
“Anything can happen. Some of us have been in the league for so long, we understand that,” the Lakers center says.
“It’s all about who’s getting hot at the right time, especially going into the playoffs. If we were able to catch a little fire going into these playoff games with a little consistency with lineups and stuff like that, anything is possible when you have some great talent like we have on our team.
“I feel like we just put our head down and work and not worry about refs, calls and plays or anything like that. Just go out and hoop. Then we’ll give our team a shot.”
Howard hopes Lakers can avenge loss to Pelicans with LeBron James and Anthony Davis back
LeBron James and Anthony Davis are expected to return on the court in Friday’s clash against the New Orleans Pelicans. Howard hopes the two superstars will help the Lakers get their revenge for the unfortunate loss they suffered against the Pelicans last week.
“We’ll be very happy with both of those guys back,” Howard says.
“We need every game. We let one loose against New Orleans a couple games ago. I’m hoping we can come out and win a game. We really need this one. We’ve been getting team’s best shot every night, so sometimes it just seems like the ball doesn’t go our way, but we got to continue to play.”
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