HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — We have Dwight Howard and the Los Angeles Lakers for the prioritizing of our Sunday night TV schedule.
Because the suspense has been building to a fever pitch in anticipation of Howard’s Lakers’ debut, which could come tonight against the Sacramento Kings on NBA TV (9:30 ET).
** UPDATE **
Mike Bresnahan of The Los Angeles Times tweeted that Howard will indeed play tonight, making his Lakers’ debut against the Kings!
Howard is officially listed as a “game time decision,” after this morning’s shootaround practice. We won’t know for sure unless we tune in, Lakers coach Mike Brown did tell reporters that Howard “looked good today,” since the Lakers and Howard have remained relatively coy about his status thus far.
Howard reportedly went through a full practice Saturday only to emerge afterwards eager to make his debut and a bit cautious about rushing back.
“I’m tired of people asking me if I’m going to play, but I’m excited,” Howard told reporters. “I think everybody is excited to see me play. It’s a great honor. I want to make sure I can sustain everything I can do so I don’t play one game and then sit out the next 20. I want to stay consistent.”
We’ve all been pretty consistent when it comes to the attention we’ve paid Howard, his surgically repaired lower back and the Lakers (0-5 so far in the preseason) the past few months. All we want is to see whether Howard, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace and the rest of the crew look as good on the hoof as they do on paper.
They’ve shown brief flashes in Howard’s absence in games that, while not counting in any set of standings that matter, still tell a little something about a team and what they might have in store for the rest of the marathon that is the NBA season.
We don’t need to see Howard for 40 to 45 minutes or anything ridiculous. We just want to make sure he is still the big man we remember, the guy who changes games at the defensive end and literally plays above the competition on the offensive end.
There will be rust, obviously. No one is expecting an immediate return to his Superman (sorry Shaq) ways.
But we need to see him in something other than his Clark Kent get up before the regular season starts. You know Bryant, Nash, Gasol, World Peace and the boys do as well.
If for no other reason than our own selfish interests, Howard has to take the floor tonight at Staples Center.
A nice 15 to 20 minutes of action against the Kings can go a long way towards satisfying the curiosity of millions … and yes, we’ll have our popcorn ready!