Last season, the Los Angeles Lakers really missed the energy and physicality that Dwight Howard brings to the team. Just one game into the preseason, Howard was already showing exactly that type of play that has come to be expected of him, both good and bad.
Howard finished with 11 points, six rebounds and a block in just 13 minutes in the Lakers’ preseason opener against the Brooklyn Nets. But what was most talked about after the game was his six fouls and the entire sequence that led to him being ejected.
Initially, Howard drew a loose ball foul on Nets big man Day’Ron Sharpe while jostling for rebounding position, but an inadvertent elbow hit Sharpe in the face.
During the official review on the play, ultimately ruled a flagrant on Howard due to the errant elbow, he would also pick up a technical foul while he and Trevor Ariza stood at midcourt talking to their former teammate James Harden. No one is quite sure why Howard picked up the technical, including Howard himself.
“Oh man, that was crazy. That sequence was crazy,” Howard said after the game. “I didn’t know I got a tech. I got a tech for standing by Trevor. Then I got a flagrant foul after the guy got a foul on me…I didn’t know I got a tech because I didn’t do anything to deserve one but I’m still going to go out there and have fun, play hard and play aggressive.”
The first preseason game, not even a week into training camp, is sure to be filled with sloppy play and plenty of mistakes and that was surely the case for the Lakers here. Howard will need to get his fouling in control, but he understands his role of playing hard and aggressive and he will do that to the fullest extent.
This incident seemed to be more of a reputation call on Howard than anything else. The elbow was clearly an accident, but the flagrant ruling is standard in today’s NBA. But the technical call truly came out of nowhere.
Regardless, the way Howard plays the game really toes the line of being too much at times, and we will have to be careful about staying on the right side of that and not hurting the Lakers once the season begins.
DeAndre Jordan willing to accept lesser role on Lakers
Dwight Howard’s center counterpart on the Lakers, DeAndre Jordan, made his debut in the purple and gold and showed himself well as he started the game and finished with seven points, four rebounds and three blocks in 17 minutes. It’s unclear exactly what Jordan’s role will be on this Lakers team, but he has made it clear that all he cares about is winning.
“That’s all I’m worried about,” Jordan noted. “Obviously last year in Brooklyn there was times at the end of the season where I didn’t play, we went small and things like that and I handled it like a pro and I’m expecting to do the same thing here. I’m going in and I’m gonna compete every day and we’ll see.”
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