Howard Proves He’s Healthy, Ready





HANG TIME WEST – The take-away moment Sunday night for the Lakers and their fans came with 1:06 remaining in the first half against the Kings in Los Angeles. Kobe Bryant missed a jumper, Dwight Howard went around the faux box out by DeMarcus Cousins, tipped the offensive rebound in while being fouled, crashed to the ground on his left side, and finished the three-point play.

It was all right there. Howard moving well, Howard able to play physical, Howard popping back up after hitting the court hard. Even Howard making the free throw.

For all the attention that will go to the highlight-reel lobs he finished and the final line of 19 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks in 33 minutes, numbers the Lakers will take when he is at full speed, none of it really mattered as Howard made his combination return from back surgery and his L.A. debut in the sixth exhibition game. It’s not exactly news for anyone to get behind the Kings defense for one thing, and stats in a preseason matchup mean even less.

The real headline is that Howard moved well in his first game since April 7 as a member of the Magic, showing strength and agility but no sign of the herniated disc that ended his 2011-12 early and led to April 20 surgery. And while he appeared winded at times, 33 minutes was a very good workout for a return to action in a sign he will be close to, if not at, 100 percent when the Lakers open the regular season Oct. 30 against the Mavericks. Coach Mike Brown, in another important signal, was so convinced of the direction of Howard’s recovery that he sent Howard out to finish the game with the rest of the starters when keeping Howard on the bench would have been understandable caution.

The Kings completed the 99-92 victory, improving to 4-1 while dropping the Lakers to 0-6 with two more chances for Howard to develop a rhythm with his new team before Dallas comes to Staples Center. The next benchmark for L.A. comes Monday as the medical staff does an important day-after check to see how the back responded to the game and potential of stiffening up over night, followed by Wednesday against the Clippers in Los Angeles and a night later the Kings again in San Diego in the preseason finale.

Sunday against Sacramento was just a start, but it was a meaningful start. Howard looked strong beyond the stats and what will get the most fanfare on the highlights. He looked on his way to being really ready.

32 Comments

  1. Popoy Di Maunat says:

    @rizz YES they Are!!! That’s why they play preseason to see who has a skill to make it to the TEAM…. During preseason … Team Rosters start at 20…. after a couple of games it will reduce to 15 then 14 and when the preseason is over they will make the team of 12 +1 reserve… IF your lakers couldn’t beat a team with no allstar or a star player… that means they are in trouble…. D12 Pau MWP Nash and kobe look promising…. In PAPER…. BUT they need to win atleast a couple of games…. MIAMI, OKC, Clippers win their games even their starters playing at minimal or limited mins. But for the lakers 5 starters playing until closing seconds… and still loss to a team w/out any star player means…. your bench is useless…. send them straight to D-League….

  2. rizz says:

    Lets come back December and see how they doing. That should give them time to gel and build a some chemistry while working out the kinks. I think by that time they will be rolling though teams and their bench will pick up. Remember they picked up a lot of new bench pieces as well and the preseason is not a good basis on how well they will do.

  3. R E E says:

    LAKERS offense looks pretty damn dangerous.
    DH fills the void that Bynum couldn’t on both defense and offense PICK AND ROLL situations.
    Howard was moving effortlessly on the pick and roll and with IQs such as Bryant and Nash…spells a problem for the Western Conference in the post season.
    Everybody’s been questioning whether or not the Lakers’s backcourt can hold off elite backcourts because of their age (Bryant/Nash) and being a liability on defense (Nash)…even though the Lakers have played with undersized PGs for at least a decade.
    But when you have twin athletic towers in Gasol and Howard on the defensive end…that should be the last of your worries.
    Save those worries for the LAKERS BENCH…STILL QUESTIONABLE.

    • W/E says:

      gasol is far from athletic,fast guards can get past both gasol and D12 and if even if they dont score they can get to the free throw line and give foul troubles to them

  4. manicdeep says:

    Anyone know when, how and where Dwight actually sustained this “back injury”. As a fairly alert Magic fan, to me it seemed to happen about the same time Van Gundy made the infamous “Dwight wants me fired” speech to the press, and management didn’t get Dwights back (no pun intended). But perhaps I’m a bit suspect of any back injury….even in B’Ball.

  5. manicdeep says:

    When did Howard actually get his injury? I am an Orlando Fan….pay fairly close attention to the Team, especially in the “on season” and I can’t recall Dwight even indicating a twinge of pain before, during or after a game. It was all of a sudden (after the Van Gundy “Dwight wants me fired” incident) Dwights back injury requires benching and surgery. Anyone recall an actual game, time or claim of injury cause?

    • David says:

      ruptured back disc can happen at anytime and the player can play on it with pain, but that would only makes it worse. The solution should have been rest but he played too much and causing more damage to the disk.

  6. dzam says:

    arron brooks had an unbelebeable night, d12 first game back, and kobe missed a shot…. u have three legit mvps on one team even the 72 10 bulls lost to the detorit pistons gyeah know.

  7. David says:

    Kobe has proven that he is not much more than a scorer, he is much like Allen Iverson later in his career who can still score over 25 points per game but has almost no impact on overall wins and losses.

    Kobe is the most overated star ever, he isn’t even close to Lebron.

    • MHM 35 says:

      and yet LeBron still can’t consistently hit a 3 pointer. If he relied on hero shots like Kobe did he would be averaging the same FG%. The reason LeBron is a beast is because of his incredibly high basketball IQ and the fact that inside the paint he can score at will. His shots look pretty when they go in, but it’s easier to predict when he’s going to miss them than when he’s going to hit them.

  8. W/E says:

    Lakers have no chance for a championship with this horrible bench and Kobe hero wannabe attitude..i expect him to take alot of selfish bad shots at the end of 4rth quarters like he did last year…Nash commiting too many turnovers for a PG and cant play defence..

    • W/E says:

      like he did last night..Kobe gotta play team BBall or else its gunna be bad

    • David says:

      Kobe wants to play hero ball, when he didn’t get the last shot he complained about it. Example is in the playoffs last year when Kobe was doubled team and was clearly not open while Blake was wide open and took the shot. Kobe was pissed and said he was open and called out Metta. Clearly Kobe was wrong and should have been corrected by coach Brown.

      Coach Brown is too much of a chicken to correct him, Phil Jackson would clearly have no problem yelling at Kobe.

  9. SLEEPLESS IN MILWAUKEE says:

    Miami will be dethroned after paying for a title KOBE Back Baby!!!!!!!!

    • Roman says:

      So if the Lakers win, they DIDN’T pay for a title with Nash, Howard and a wild card in Antaun Jamison? I think they paid just like Miami did. Hell, their starting five is an all star team. Chalmers or Anthony wouldn’t be on one…

  10. ko0kie says:

    uah don’t know what you expect after back surgery but he looked splendid…he will make this team so much better. it doesn’t even matter anymore if kobe is unconscious and goes 1-5 as long as howard cleans it up.. but I think they need time until they can beat the good teams on a regular basis. they bench is awful.. who said again jodie meeks and antawn jamison will help thrive the lakers bench? loool

  11. Lakers(Champs2012-2013) says:

    They will be fine when the season starts, remember they have not played all together yet, JHill is injured who is a key bench player

  12. Chester says:

    didn’t improve his free throws with all the time he had off

  13. avashikaran says:

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  14. Bok says:

    I’m glad that the Lakers lost this game, for a good reason. Sure, their talent’s a given, but there’s a lot of things to work out like chemistry, blending, getting used to the new offense, and making the right calls when it comes down to the wire. A clean sweep of the pre season might give them a wrong signal, that they’ll be on their way to 82-0 record. No team will just give them the game, they should take it from them. They must stay hungry & focus for everything to materialize.

  15. JustaFan says:

    Pre-season or not….. 0-6 is not the preferred stat. lol

  16. Tom says:

    Even tho the lakers lost it just a preseason so it doesn’t matter. Wat matter is dh12 looking really good when he on the floor. However the bench looking really bad so idk. Hope they can fix it somehow. Can’t wait for the season to start. Go lakers

  17. Jon says:

    I know its just pre-season, but it might seem that he’s starting right where Bynum left off