Lakers News: Dwight Howard Looking To Keep Spirits High Amid Early Struggles
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have simply not looked like a complete team in the early stages of the regular season. There have been great moments, but there have been even more moments of frustration as L.A. tries to figure out a way to make this work.

Dwight Howard, who has played a somewhat limited on-court role, has taken on the task of being a veteran leader off the bench. Howard has done a great job changing his image league-wide, becoming a strong veteran presence. This change has been hugely beneficial for the Lakers, as they need someone staying positive amid a rough start.

Following a bad loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Howard reiterated the need to stay locked in and stay positive, via Spectrum SportsNet:

“We just have to keep our energy high, keep our spirit high, you know? When teams make runs and stuff like that, we just have to keep our heads high and keep playing. I think when we tend to allow things to happen on the floor, the mishaps, we get down on ourselves, we get down on our teammates and it might show. We have to keep our mindset positive. We know that every team we play is going to come in and they’re going to make crazy shots and play extra hard because they’re playing against us. So we have to keep our energy the same throughout the game. Minnesota was on a losing streak, so we knew they were going to come out tonight hungrier than ever. Then they got going and they hit some big shots and the lead got away from us. Like I said, our energy has to always stay the same. So that’s the biggest thing, effort and energy got to stay high. It’s a long season, we’re going to get this right. We’re going to stay positive and we’re not going to allow these small mishaps to affect who web are as a team. We got to stay together and stay positive.”

Howard reiterated that this is still a team with championship aspirations and that a couple of bad games to start the season won’t change that goal:

“Championship is still the aspiration, that’s still our goal, it’s not going to stop. Sometimes you have to lose before you win, and sometimes you’re going to go through things in life, go through things on the court, go through things that are going to test your character. And it’s also going to build your character. So we definitely understand that, the biggest thing is that we got to stay together, stay locked in, and stay focused. Our goal is to win a championship and it’s not going to be easy. Nobody’s going to hand it to us. Nobody’s going to say ‘Hey they got all these guys on the team, let’s not even play hard.’ Every team is going to try to beat us, take us down, so during these moments where it seems like it’s disbelief, our character has to stay strong. Our mindset has to stay strong and we have to keep moving forward. We can’t allow games like this to change us, change who we are as players, and change what our goals are. We just got to stay locked in.”

If the rest of the team shares Howard’s mindset, then it’s going to take a lot more than a bad loss or two to break the Lakers’ spirit. They have made it clear that they knew this was going to be a challenge, and they already have a couple of reaffirming wins under their belt.

As a team, the Lakers now need to find a source of consistency so that bad losses don’t become the norm. A better third quarter against the Timberwolves and better second halves against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the outlook on this season looks much different.

Russell Westbrook preaches consistency

Following the Timberwolves loss, Russell Westbrook was one of the Lakers players to speak on the issues currently plaguing the team and his focus was on consistency.

“I’m not sure. You can’t really put your finger on it and say what it is or what it’s not. Sometimes you come out and you find it, sometimes you don’t. The inconsistency is a problem. That, we do know.”

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