With the injury to Gasol and backup forward Jordan Hill out for the for the rest of the season, center Dwight Howard has been under heavy media scrutiny to return to the court with the Lakers becoming extremely thin in their front court. In his post game recap, ESPN LA’s Dave McMenamin discussed Howard’s surprising return to the court Friday against the Boston Celtics even though he had a minimal impact, only scoring nine points, grabbing nine rebounds, and fouling out of the contest.
It is clearly evident that his right shoulder is bothering him as there were multiple times where he did not even lift it to contest shots. Despite his injuries Kobe said he and Steve Nash will figure out how to best involve Dwight.
“We’ll figure it out,” Bryant said. “Me and Steve talked about it a little bit at the end of the game there and in the locker room a little bit in terms of how to put pressure on the defense and try to maximize [Howard] in making the defense be aware and turn their head and finding him and so forth.”
Nash earlier discussed how difficult it was to get into rhythm with the front court switch of Gasol and Howard but that they will work it out:
“It’s tough,” Steve Nash said. “Now here we are finding ourselves, we have a great rhythm with Pau, and now he’s gone and now we have to find a rhythm with Dwight, and it’s just constantly changing and trying to find a rhythm and understanding of each other. It’s stop, start. Tonight with Dwight back in the lineup, I felt like we didn’t have a great rhythm offensively and I didn’t think we really played that well defensively, obviously. Now we got to try to build him back into the lineup and find a way for him and us to collectively be successful.”
The future looks dismal for this Lakers squad as injuries and not being able to develop chemistry has be riddled their season thus far. Even with the inconsistencies and added pressures, Kobe sees no other option than this team finding their way.
“We don’t have a choice,” Bryant said. “We just have to figure it out. We have to put our thinking caps on and guys have to step up and have a little bit more responsibility than they ordinarily would.”
Their first opportunity to do so is Friday night in Charlotte when they take on the Bobcats.