Exposed Howard Covers Lakers Sins

HOUSTON — Evidently, it is also safe now to spit into the wind and pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger. Because everybody, it seems, is tugging on Superman’s cape these days.

Dwight Howard couldn’t be more exposed if he were a magazine centerfold wearing nothing but a staple. At least in Playboy, they usually let you lay down on a soft bearskin rug.

Howard shot just 8-for-16 on free throws and it was actually his best night from the foul line in a week and a half.

Every time the Lakers center stands unguarded 15 feet from the basket, it is becoming less a surprising adventure than a sitcom rerun: The Big Clang Theory.

The Rockets were only the latest to intentionally foul Howard and send him to the line. The strategy — Bite-a-Dwight, if you will — continues to take a shark-sized chunk from the aura of the big man that the Lakers are falling all over themselves for the chance to pay $100 million to and give away the keys to the franchise.

The fact that the strategy worked — and gave the crowd at the Toyota Center great amusement — covered up a bigger batch of sins. The Lakers can’t take care of the ball, committing 19 turnovers, can’t keep opponents off the offensive glass and can’t defend consistently when the game is on the line.

Yes, the Rockets sent Howard to the line five different times in a 69-second span of the fourth quarter. Yes, he connected only five times on his 10 throws. But during that stretch Houston outscored the Lakers by just 7-5.

It was everything else the Rockets did in the fourth quarter — getting James Harden into the paint to draw fouls, getting easy dump-off passes to Greg Smith, getting open shots on the wing for Toney Douglas -- that made the difference.

Just as occurred on at home on Sunday night against Orlando, Howard’s ineptitude from the foul line was the lightning rod while everyone else in the lineup let the house burn down.

Now the talk shows and the Twitterverse will be teeming with the suggestions for coach Mike D’Antoni to chain Howard to the bench in the fourth quarter of close games.

“People have no clue what they’re talking about if they think I’ll take Dwight out in the fourth quarter,” D’Antoni said. “It’s pretty simple: You don’t do that to a guy. He made his foul shots and that’s not the reason that we lost that game. He has to work through this. You just don’t take out a franchise player and do something like that to him.”

Certainly not if you don’t want to risk turning a mental block into a full blown psychosis. If Howard is going to be the anchor to the Lakers in the post-Kobe Bryant future, then he can hardly be hidden away at crunch time like Grandma’s porcelain figurines every time the kiddies come to visit.

“That’s just a strategy that teams are employing and we have to figure out the best strategy to defend it,” Bryant said. “We’ve talked about it a little bit. He just has to keep working at it all the time and keep practicing and doing it over and over until he turns it into a strength.”

The more critical problem is the Lakers’ lack of discipline and defense when games get late. This was a game in which the Lakers once led by 17 and were still up by 13 early in the fourth quarter.

On a night when Harden was a myopic 3-for-19, Chandler Parsons 5-for-16 and Jeremy Lin 2-for-8, the Rockets kept working and grinding and did all of the little things to inch their way back and give themselves a chance. It was the kind of play that the Lakers seem to think is beneath them.

With Steve Nash still out with a fractured leg and Pau Gasol now going to the sidelines to rest his ailing knees, excuses are all around for the Lakers, if they want to use them.

So, too, is the easy scapegoat, Howard, hammering more metal than a blacksmith, at the line. But it is not Howard committing the defensive breakdowns. He’s stepping up to cut off a penetrator and nobody is rotating behind him. Howard is not the one leaving the likes of Douglas and Carlos Delfino wide open on the outside because the proper switches weren’t made.

“He’s not the reason that our defense breaks down,” D’Antoni said. “He’s not the reason that stuff happens.”

But as long as Superman keeps standing exposed at the foul line, the real problems stay hidden.

124 Comments

  1. Maniac says:

    If they were to change any rule to stop this act, I’d say change the rule so on an intentional foul, the person who has the ball takes the FTs. It eliminates the “hack-a-shaq” type fouling

  2. Good comments everyone. But, let’s be real….Dwight Howard’s free throws are a problem that should be able to be rectified plain and simple. Look, you getting paid millions of dollars to play a sport that you consider your job? Everyone agrees?…Good…Then I’m sure you have a hoop court at da house or access to a gym. Simply take your “butt” to either one and practice… Now, also the other problem is…. the Lakers aren’t being consistent. Quit relying on the fact that Steve Nash will be the end all to this disfunctional team. We simply have to play better “DEFENSE” and learn how to be more aggressive in closing out teams…. the Lakers have no fire right now or elite team “swagger”…Once we get those issues “worked out” we should see an Improved team!! That’s just my take……

  3. NBA FAN USA says:

    Is it just me or is FRAN BLINEBURY consistently bashing on the LAKERS…??? He clearly has some personal hatred for that team, it portrays in a lot of his articles…. maybe he’s a KINGS fan idk..

  4. Najee says:

    You know you’re a bad free throw shooter when someone (Stephen A. Smith) says that your shootin is worser than Wilt and Shaq combined.

  5. Y-Oh-Y says:

    “People have no clue what they’re talking about if they think I’ll take Dwight out in the fourth quarter,” D’Antoni said. “It’s pretty simple: You don’t do that to a guy. He made his foul shots and that’s not the reason that we lost that game. He has to work through this. You just don’t take out a franchise player and do something like that to him.”

    you don’t do that to a guy? isn’t that the same thing you did to pau gasol last 2 games when you benched him in the 4th quarter?

  6. The Whiny Lakerland Fans says:

    WE “whiny” Lakerland fan will boycott the games. Here is our demand…Trade Pau for B. Mullen of the Bobcats. WE need shooters. See that dunk my Mullen. See WE need that. We need a dumb trade like this to spread the floor. Or trade Pau for J. Smith of the Hawks. Even though maybe their contracts don’t match. So lets throw Korver and Teague in with the deal, too. WE think thats a great trade for both teams. C’mon Hawks, take the deal. Just hand us your players. Take an injured Pau. For our next demand, bring Phil back, fired Mike. Even though Buss and Jackson has some issues in the past. That don’t matter. Just bring Phil back. Bring back Phil. WE fans, our life are so miserable now. That’s our demand, force a team to take an injured Pau, so we get the other teams players. WE are collecting donations to pay for Phil’s contract already. BRING BACK PHIL. BRING BACK PHIL. BRING BACK PHIL.

  7. Lakers-R-Us says:

    As a Laker fan I am really feeling badly about the way their season is going this year! I root for them no matter what! Regardless of their record! The thing I hate most is the blame game that is going on right now. That; in my opinion; is devastating the team! Blame Pau Gasol; Blame Dwight Howard’s free throw shooting; blame the bench squad; even some that blame kobe for taking too many shots! D’Antonti getting into blaming Pau Gasol doesn’t help either! I say just play basketball to the best of your ability. They certainly have the talent. As long as they play hard and play good defense; and have that championship heart like they used to have; I don’t care if they lose games. Just play basketball; and quit finding excuses. That’s my opinion.

  8. dfgvan says:

    I believe the rule is that before the 5 minute mark of every quarter a player without possession of the ball can be fouled and the it will charge only as a personal and team foul, penalty freethrows if over the foul limit. If at the 5 minute mark and beyond, intentional fouling of a player without ball possession will incur 2 technical free throws plus ball possession.

  9. Anand says:

    This article, what Dwight said in the post-game and what ESPN and NBATV have been saying all point to Lakers having issues down the stretch stopping opposition from scoring and portraying that as the main reason and not Dwight’s FTs. Here is what I think:

    Its very subtle, but if a team starts doing that (Hack-a-Anybody) the whole morale of the other team’s offense goes down, what people have to realize is that NBA basketball is a game of runs and a game of rhythm, disrupting the rhythm on offense goes a long way in converting itself into defensive lapses down the stretch, you cannot just go and brick FTs on one end but be on the money on defense when the opposition has a go at you in the next play.

  10. MrGimme says:

    Kobe is eating the ball and don’t want to share it…. he is the best ball hog player every played this game. All he want’s right now is score and be in the record book. Lakers should trade Kobe …Howard is the future of LA…he should be the main man now.

  11. John Ocean says:

    Last game that Pau played, he left the game winning by 1 point in the third quarter, 6 minutes later they lost by 10 to the “superb” team of the Orlando Magic
    Pau has played with tendinits in his knees and all I hear is blaming , when all I see is profesionalism and comitment (meanwhile Pau does speak a word)

    All I see in this team is a problem in the building of the roster, a team loaded with talent in the starting 5, but with no bench at all, and that does not win tournaments sir.

    Stop making Pau the scape goat.

    I cannot understand how hasn´t Mr Kupchak´s name showed up in the talk before, really amazes me…

  12. MANILA BOY PHILIPPINES says:

    HEHHEHEHEHE LAKER FAN CRY LIKE A BABY NOW,,, EVERY TIME LAKER TEAM PLAY FANS R CRYING LIKE A BABY SUPER TEAM… HAHAHAHA

  13. MANILA BOY PHILIPPINES says:

    @W/E R U BLIND? WHAT R U TALKIN ABOUT GASOL IS INJURED..

  14. Soggy says:

    Stop crying about Hack-a-Dwight! Orlando had to put up with it. Intentional fouls happen to good free throw shooters too, like when a team is up, late in a close game. They put the ball in the hands of good shooters. Dwight just needs to become a decent free throw shooter; he’s an NBA player for crying out loud. And don’t blame it on being a big man, cause there are plenty who can hit freebies.

  15. Matt says:

    Dwight Howard is one of the nicest people in the league and one of my favorite players.

    The solution is real simple. Take him out the last 2-4 min. of the game if the score is close. How is everyone missing this?

  16. Franz says:

    D12’s free throw shooting form doesn’t actually look that bad. From what I’ve witnessed, he just needs to take another step behind the FT line and he should be able to make more.

  17. Draper 4645 says:

    Hey loosers, stop pointing fingers to anyone in this. Just admit it Lakers are loosers.
    Winners never blame others for defeat, they take responsibility and try better if not the best.

  18. Kal says:

    Its not about dwights fts. They were up several points before the two minute mark when the opponent can’t intentionally foul someone. Its about their defense when it comes to the last minute. Shaq was the same as dwight but they got 3 championships out of hack a shaq, because they defended well. Kobe is a sore in defense. Couldn’t even keep up with harden on the last 2 minutes in defense

  19. W/E says:

    CLearly its GASOLS fault AGAIN cause he simply didnt play at all last night!! WHATS WRONG WITH THIS TEAM, the last 6 minutes of the game they are totally out of sync,WHY D’ANTONI DOESNT FIX THAT,BENCH HOWARD ITS THAT SIMPLE,Lakers should have at least a 80% win percentage and not bellow 50% with this roster, D’antoni….this guy has already won the worst coach of the season award.

  20. Wesley says:

    The Lakers are a great team on paper but it takes a certain kind of choach to lead them to Victory and D’ Antonie is not the guy.He doesn’t know how to use his players. I don’t know what Bernie did to get to 4-1 ,but whatever he used we can use it now. The blame Starts and ends with the Choach that’s why they pay him the Big Bucks. He’s not the Man For The JOB.

  21. bu says:

    1st, tks to D’Antoni himself to admit it’s not Howard’s fault. It’s HIS!!!! We all know his abilities in X’s & O’s & without any kind of defensive systems in place. So you know the rest.

    2nd, the whole team is demovtivated right now, & actually, since last yr. When Lakers won the last 2 champs, Kobe was a bit more disciplined with shot selection & played decent enough defense wl twin towers active & more aggressive, then with MWP played the best individual defense in the last champ. Compare it now, completely different mentally & morale.

    3rd, all the drama created by the owners feud. You all heard about the Buss’ stories.

    4th, Howard, as I’ve mentioned in other posts, has very limited dimensions of his game. He’s a great defensive & rebounding centre who can be effective offensively if he’s fed the ball in cuts & screens & maybe some open court, but not someone who has post moves like Hakeem. Guys like Luis Scola, Zach Randolph have 5x more moves than him. I’d never call him a franchise player, because he’s too limited & not a game changer.

    His work attitude & on court demeaner seems to be too relaxed & never see him take responsibilities when his team loses & comes back with super monster games often enough to lead by example.

    To sum up, people have too much expectations on Howard. So, it’s not his fault. It’s our expectations.

  22. JohnC says:

    All numbers – but the ones about the t-shirts sold – show that Pau is more effective than Howard in a 4th quarter, even with those sore knees. Neither Brown nor D’Antoni so far have realised the impact Gasol has in a game, when his teammates look for him and play for him. Phil Jackson knew about it and made this team play the finals three years.

  23. QueensBridge says:

    He thought that the Magics/Orlando media/papers was harsh on him. The LA media/papers are eating him up. Howard needs to shut up, take responsibility and play. Quit making excuses. The b-ball is in his hands at the end of the game to close out. Isn’t that what he wanted? To be praised in the bright lights. To be the Superman. Funny, he won a dunk contest and is self-proclaim as Superman. Funny. Again Howard, be quiet and take responsibility.

  24. KC says:

    One more thing. I think Mike D. is a great coach, but he’s not known for his defensive strategies. The Lakers have historically shown a certain aversion to playing consistent defense. One thing that team needs like a bullet is some discipline. Playing D is easy in the gym during practice, but the Lakers have got to keep their heads on the game and get back to defend even if they’re tired. Playing the way they are so far, they’ll be lucky to make the playoffs. They have to get more consistent on defense, especially on the road. That’s going to take a serious effort no only from the starters but from the bench as well. The Lakers are allowing too many points from their opponents to be a serious contender–and there’s no excuse, given their roster. They have the size and length to force a team to take more perimeter shots, but only if they run back on d!

  25. KC says:

    This is only a fair article. It’s true the Lakers have all sorts of problems. However, unless my math is wrong, If Howard had made just 2 more freebies that game would have gone to OT. 3 more and they win the game. So Howard’s inability to sink free throws has SOMETHING to do with the loss, don’t you think? 7 of 10 free throws is not asking a lot. For example, Pau makes a higher percentage than that…

  26. HonestGuy says:

    How hard is it to practice and eventually make 75% of free throws? I can’t believe that DH12 still has a FT problem after years in the league. Go to the gym everyday and shoot 1000 FTs until you get good.

  27. Rob says:

    Can someone please tell ‘Fran Blinebury’ who looks like he’s never played a sport in his life and should be writing for Lord of the Rings.com not NBA.com that this throws off the entire offense during that stretch and you’re basically just accepting that you’re going to get 1 point every possession. You said and I quote “But during that stretch Houston outscored the Lakers by just 7-5.”You use the word ‘JUST’ like the 2 point differential was meaningless? Look at the score of the game Fran (107-105). If the opponent starts the hack a dwight between the 5 minute mark and the 2 minute mark DH needs to come out of the game. If you can’t survive that 2-3 minute stretch without him you deserve to lose. It’s unacceptable to have him on the floor during that time if you expect to win basketball games. It’s for the good of the team to have him on the bench during that time if this method is going to be applied. DH and MD need to see this and do what’s best for the ‘team’. Lastly the NBA is a game of runs the Rockets made theirs and the Lakers still had a chance to win the game. Aceepting a 7-5 run in a 1:19 span (5 points in 5 possessions) is not right. Keep him on the bench until the 2 min mark and whatever happens happens. At least Laker fans will know MD is doing what’s best for the team. Good day.

  28. jack black says:

    No worries. Lakers will work it all out. I’m sure of it. Maybe not this year.

  29. RondoTheDramaQueen says:

    *slides across the floor with my big boy pants

  30. heroes del silencio says:

    so the blinbury (author of this article) likes to imagine howard naked!?! :/

  31. killuabest says:

    You cant defy the sytem( hack a shaq now howard) D’Antoni should know this better..then what were the change/moves you did from the games you loss to magic and now to the rockets while having a good lead entering 4th quarter-reason you dont know how to close end games and poor decision making..that’s d price for us laker fans having a subpar coach recruited by equally subpar decision made in getting coach D’Antoni….I really hope Laker will make it through playoffs…finger-crossed.

  32. Deaj says:

    If Kobe had a 30+ points the Lakers lost i think Gasol is not the problem

    BRING BACK BERNIE BICKERSTAFF

  33. ko0kie says:

    lol… I can only laugh about you people whining because such a Hack-a-Shaq Strategy destroys the game.
    the game is basketball and if a franchise player in the best basketball league in the world cannot make more than 50% of his freethrows its just pathetic… PATHETIC. it’s the easiest shot in the game, because it’s ALWAYS the same.. no one can contest it. charity stripe!

  34. KobeWhiner says:

    31 shots kobe took, howard took 9 shots, so kobe do you still wanna blame gasol? even he didnt played? lmao! kobe the ball hog biggest ego in the world, that shows how great a player kobe is, ultimate ball hog, teammate basher, management whiner

  35. Leebrowndyems says:

    by the way.. wizard has a 1-9 win loss record before the game against the heat hahahaha..

  36. Leebrowndyems says:

    Miami is a super team as well, they lose to the wizards but nobody were talking about it. When lakers lose to the rockets. even grandma have a big fuzz about it hahahaha.. trade this, blame this, fired this, his fault… hahahaha crazy!

  37. hooplover says:

    funny he doesn’t have a problem benching a franchise player named Gasol in the fourth quarter!!!! smh! get it together d’antoni otherwise you’ll be under the bus with mike brown!

  38. Nick says:

    When Steve Nash comes back turnovers will diminish, more guys will get easy shots and things will stabilize. People need to stop panicing after every game!

  39. Jay says:

    Dantoni IS COMPLAINING ABOUT THE DEFENSE!?!?!?! how much time does he actually concentrate on defensive rotations with the team?? I can tell u NOT MUCH TIME.. they looked lost on their defensive rotations!! WE WANT PHIL!

  40. dj rgm9 says:

    Growing pains for our dear Lakers,that i’m calling that game from yesterday’s against the rockets.Very poor coaching decisions by coach D’antoni,clearly he sits too long Kobe waiting until the Rockets came back in to the game.When D’antoni let kobe come in to fix the score it was too late it was just only 6 points difference at fourth quarter they starting to hack a Dwight until 2minutes to the end of the game.That’s why you need Gasol also to minimize the damage for hacking Dwight.Put Gasol&Hill for a few minutes at Howard’s place because at least Gasol&Hill can make free trow’s.I know Gasol is resting his knees day by day.D’ANTONI NEEDS TO ROTATE BETTER All avaiable players + use some extra more time out tactics even to break the offence ballance from the Rockets.Clearly his experiments rotating players d’ont works for them.Jim B.could at least giving Bernie Bickerstaff a chance until all-star game and evaluate to see if Phil J. was needed in case they stand in awfull position.I bet my own life that to keep Bernie was certainly at least a play off spot at the time they reaching all star period.Poor decision’s by Jim&D’antoni,im ashamed by the choices they made!!!As more than 20 Years being a big Laker fan since Kareem,Magic… i’m very disapointed they way they become.
    HOW YOU GONNA FIX THIS JIM,HOW?

  41. Bart says:

    Howard should still be on the court and 5-10 free throws is not the reason the Lakers lose the game.
    Bad defence and bad choices on offence leading to fast breaks is.

  42. Bart says:

    I remember from the Shaq-a-hack days that when he wasn’t in possession of the ball he – when fouled – would be a awarded with a free throw and ball possession on the sideline.
    Now they can hack and get him to the free throw line.
    In international basketball a unsportsmanlike foul is called on this kind of plays, awarded with two free throws and ball possession. Only when a player is holding the ball (or dribbling) and a normal, not excessive, foul is made only two free throws are awarded.
    Is this a rule change? Since?

  43. Kamote says:

    LA had championships with Shaq getting to the line (that’s why it’s originally called Hack-a-Shaq in the first place). The problem LA has is basically poor defense. I’d give consideration to the excuse that LA is still trying to learn D’Antoni’s system and they’re still waiting for Nash. But if they don’t execute in defense (which by the way they have 3 elite defensive players in Kobe, DH and Artest), the deepest they’ll be would just be the second-round of the playoffs.

  44. Ben Lamontagne says:

    Other Laker flaws or not, they would still have won that game had he been able to hit with any kind of consistency by far one of the easiest shot in basketball.

  45. Daniel says:

    Now what? Was Gasol’s fault yesterday too? D’Antoni go home!!!

  46. Green Mamba says:

    Uhuh! Just as I thought, the other day everybody seemed to gang up on Gasol and claimed he was responsible for the leakage in the teams defense. So now they are discovering its the team as a whole that has problems. It wasn’t cool to single the dude out like that messing with his confidence. I think it wud be ok if Howard started the 4th quarter and then maybe rest around the 5min mark until the 2min. He wud have played 9min in the quarter without too much damage!

  47. 16going417 says:

    Okay, so now the media (namely Sekou) and the team cannot blame Gasol for this one. So, what is the excuse now? To point out the obvious? The Lakers knew Howard could not shoot free throws before they signed him. Granted a non-free throw shooting Howard is a lot better than an non-playing/injured Bynum.

    The problem is; has been and always will be D’Antoni’s system. He loves to run an offense full of three point shots and non-efficient defense. This type of offense works when the 3’s are going down. Even Howard made a 3 pointer in the win against Denver (Bynum got benched last year for jacking up a 3). However, the Lakers 3 point shooting is VERY inconsistent and thus they will be a below .500 team if this continues and I don’t see it changing anytime soon. D’Antoni has already said he will not pull Howard out when teams start putting him on the line. So, we Lakers fans can expect to see this from the Lakers the rest of the season.

    I’m starting to doubt this team will even make the playoffs this season.

    • 16going417 says:

      And for those of you who say it is not the coach (D’Antoni), then why is it everyone says Phil won championships because he coached Michael Jordan and Kobe? What happened when Phil did not coach MJ in Washington? What happened when Phil left the Lakers? If it is the players then shouldn’t MJ have won the championship in Washington and since the Lakers pretty much had the same players that they had when they won with Phil shouldn’t they have won the championship last year?????

      Believe what you want, but the coach makes a BIG difference when it comes to the performance of a team. And D’Antoni is failing……..

  48. Trevor says:

    What about Kobe 31 shot attempt? Maybe that’s a little problem too.

  49. christian house says:

    kobe is still a beast

  50. lol says:

    “People have no clue what they’re talking about if they think I’ll take Dwight out in the fourth quarter,” D’Antoni said. “It’s pretty simple: you don’t do that to a guy. He made his foul shots and that’s not the reason that we lost that game. He has to work through this. You just don’t take out a franchise player and do something like that to him.”

    So you can’t take out Howard but you can take out Gasol? Everyone says Howard is a franchise player and all but the gap between them is not that wide when it was Gasol who was 1 of the main reasons Lakers added 2 more titles to their collection. So you got a hypocrite coach who’s not interested in defense despite what he might say, you can’t make your free throws and you’re tend to ballhogness too much… i’d say Lakers are set to lose and probably blame Gasol for it, who actually CAN make his free throws. Save us Steve Nash!!! You’re our only hope!!! Oh wait, you’re too old for that… well i suppose that’s who Lakers are and i’m tired of it!

  51. ballinnnnnbgbujbrv says:

    “People have no clue what they’re talking about if they think I’ll take Dwight out in the fourth quarter,” D’Antoni said. “It’s pretty simple: you don’t do that to a guy. He made his foul shots and that’s not the reason that we lost that game. He has to work through this. You just don’t take out a franchise player and do something like that to him.”

    ..But you take out a great player and 2 time champion, Pau Gasol, out in 4th quarters..even though he is not a liability on the line and still has a slight defensive presence…

    granted he didn’t play in the Rockets game due to tendonitis, he averaged just 4.7 minutes or something like that in 4th quarters while Mike is in LA. C’mon man……

  52. Rick says:

    Isn’t the real problem that the league allows hack a dwight? Isn’t it sad that an inferior team can win a game because of something like that? The games should be played right, and see who comes out on top. These teams are afraid of the Lakers half court offense, so they foul dwight, and they’re rewarded with a win? That’s terrible.

    • Game Time says:

      No complaints about how they do it to the Clippers huh?

      • Nunna Yobinnes says:

        Dwight could easily solve the problem by learning how to shoot free throws. It is a part of the strategy of the game – exploit your opponent’s weaknesses. Should teams be penalized for trying to exploit bad defenders? No. Just more Laker fan whining.

  53. kid says:

    Fire Kupchak, trade Howard & get a couple of good second unit for his salary keep Gasol hes more efficient when it comes to 4th quarter

  54. Jereac54 says:

    What can we say, it can only get better,it hard to imagine things getting any worst for the Lakers.

  55. KB24 says:

    Uneasy Lakers this season…don’t know how they could find a way to fix their problems and come up from the actual situation.
    Change of coach right at the start of the season, injuries (the 2 PF), the Gasol-drama-trade-speculation, when Nash will come back he will need some games to be healthy…it doesn’t seem to be the season we all fans expected, by the way…it’s a long race, let’s see.
    Everything began since Stern denied the trade of Chris Paul to the Lakers…if that had happened, maybe now we would talk of a different league; now we have a squad which is at the moment for sure in troubles: no D, aged team, injuries, poot FT shooting by Howard…maybe with the whole roaster we’ll be able to produce many points, but season goes on and our record is ugly to see….D’Antoni is an unproven caliber championship coach; let’s follow the drama..game after game…hoping things will get better.

    For all the KB24 haters….with KB replacing Lebron..Miami would have won the last 2 NBA titles…….hands down

    • BobRizzi says:

      People who say hack-a-howard is not in spirit of the game i ask the question how is it any different to the fouls you see called at the end of a game as one team tries to close the gap on another. Free throws are a skill and getting 2 freebies every possession should see you pull away if you can execute that skill. If every other part of Dwights game is not sufficient enough to compensate for poor free throwing then he needs to be hooked. Stop making excuses for someone who cant hit a free throw.

  56. Clay says:

    I thought if a player is fouled intentionally, their team should be given the ball after the free throws. If you can just foul players any how you like so that you can get a possession then may be the should just decide the game at the free throw line and not play possessions.

  57. Hendrik says:

    I do not believe that the Dwight Howard-situation is covering up the ‘one hidden’ problem the Lakers are having atm. In my opinion there’s more than one thing wrong with these Lakers. Dwight is obviously having difficulties being a franchiseplayer for a franchise that actually matters (no offence to the magic, who indeed reached the finals with Howard, but didn’t shake much ground otherwise with Dwight) and he’s trying to play it too cool. He’s smiling and kidding around a lot, and that’s not a good move, especially when Kobe, one of the meanest, toughest competitors in the game, is on your team. Howard needs to show the rest of the league he is a mean, strong beast, and is not to be mocked, which is the case right now with the Bite-a-Dwight-thing (which is a terrible nickname, btw).
    The other problems are in fact numerous: these guys haven’t played together long enough, the injuries of Nash en Gasol, Jamison and Meeks who cant play defence, and also the Lakers’ defence AND offence is so inconsistent that the return of Nash alone won’t be able to fix that. Certain issues certainly are related to others but there’s this weird Aura around the Lakers; I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something feels terribly wrong in Lakerland.

  58. Agaric says:

    I don’t understand why the guy is so terrible at free throws — or more specifically, I can’t fathom why people can’t teach him that standing up straight as a board, waiting half a second, and flicking the ball off his fingers is not going to yield consistently favorable results. If he’s afraid of airballing it if he tries to adopt a different (better) shooting form, someone might tell him that a few airballs are preferable to a legacy of consistently awful FT shooting almost a decade into his career. Wtf was Mark Price DOING with him in Orlando?

  59. Blame Gasol! Ups... says:

    Thank god the Lakers can blame Howard too! I’m curious to see how far the fingerpointing is going to reach.. Beware D’ Antoni! Your experimentation period is running out!

  60. Nils says:

    “But as long as Superman keeps standing at the foul line exposed, the real problems stay hidden.”

    couldn´t said it better ….

  61. Jones17 says:

    I’m a big a fan of Kobe as anyone but his defence is the reason this broke down 2 games in a row. You can’t just roam off everyone and expect someone else to pick them up for you. As much as everyone bangs on about Kobe’s basketball IQ, he sure as hell doesn’t look like he knows what he’s doing on defence. The Delfino and Douglas 3’s + at least 2 rotations when Dwight came out to close out driver, Kobe was the man who should have covered Dwight’s man.

    And of course Dwight’s free throws are poor and are definitely part of the reason we lost (as are Kobe’s 3 missed FT’s)

  62. Scott The Magician says:

    Kobe 31 shots
    Dwight 9 shots

    ALL I HAVE TO SAY……

  63. speechless says:

    Mike D’Antoni not able to close out games? Yeah we saw that with New York that’s why he ran away like a kid. Why would anyone ever give him a job as a coach again?!

  64. Benjamin says:

    It’s Pau Gasol’s fault, isn’t it?

  65. Chris says:

    Honestly the whole intentional foul thing is starting to get old. Players are supposed to avoid fouling, now it’s sort of a joke that needs to die already. I know the trick has been used awhile, hell even Dennis Rodman fell victim to it. Still it’s getting old, nothing like seeing a game take forever to end when it’s utilized.

  66. Dwight really needs to step up his free throw shooting. If he can’t do that then he needs to be able to finish off those shots even when he gets fouled. come on dwight! Up the Lakers!

  67. star says:

    all of a sudden, D12 gotta improve freethrows? lol? His freethrows are not the problem. The problem is their so-called leader Kobe.

  68. It was also Pau fault, maybe? says:

    When Pau will go out to another team (maybe Celtics? Miami?) doing his 20-10 every night playing center, LA won´t have any puppet to blame for loses

    • Mental1981 says:

      I believe this.

      • paqnojo says:

        True. I also still believe like someone else mentioned earlier that if we are winning a game 10 or less in the last 5 minutes sit Howard until he gets better at the free throw line which can happen through out the year. Winning in the regular season would take for a lineup like Nash, Kobe, MWP, Jamison and Gasol to be on the court the last 5 minutes. I also believe that with this system Gasol would excell at the 6 relieving for Howard. That would give them a legit Center at all times and Pau’s number would improve as well as his knees health.

    • Hunter says:

      Or Mavericks?

  69. wynnfab says:

    D’Antoni should bench Howard in the last 6 minutes of the 4th quarter and that’s were Gasol comes in……….

  70. Gamerfan says:

    It’s amazing how quickly we demonize the spurs for violating the “Spirit of the Game” in resting their stars yet we can’t seem to do a thing about this whole Hack-a-Player cancer in the league. And please stop calling hacked turnarounds a “Magnificent Comeback” because there is nothing magnificent, dignified or sportsman-like about it.

    Superman’s got his Kryptonite but LA didn’t lose this game, the league lost it for them all because of a mere technicality. It seems the league has gone to great lengths to make this a “small team” league by imposing the “def 3-sec in the key” rules and now with the refusal to regulate this Hack-A-Player flaw. If you look at the low percentages shot by both the Magic and the Rockets, there is no way that either team deserved to win any of those games. Regardless of Dwight’s free throw abilities, it doesn’t seem fair or even dignified that these teams should win over a team that outplayed them the whole way through. Dwight’s shooting aside, LA played a better offensive game and were it not for the Hack-a-cheat plays, they would’ve won their last two games.

    There is much that the league can do to make it fair. One is to treat any intentional fowls on a player not holding the ball like a Defensive 3-seconds call, or any team player on the court can shoot two free throws then change possession, or the fowled player can shoot one free throw and retain possession . It is fair and doesn’t turn the game into a joke where any losing team can simply HACK their way into a victory. By that logic, a win never truly identifies the team that played a better game. Look at the stats for both recent LA losses and you will see what I mean. Keep in mind that both opposing teams didn’t really begin scoring until the circus began in the last 5 minutes.

    • Shawn Smith says:

      This is amazing. Laker fans are now suggesting that the rules currently being enforced is the reason for the teams struggles and that they should be changed?

      Wow. Where were these suggestions last season? Unreal.

    • Nunna Yobinnes says:

      And I suppose that teams should receive a technical foul for exploiting a player’s bad defensive skills? Come on, get real. Dwight could end this problem by learning how to shoot free throws. If you make them, you don’t get fouled so often.

    • Draper 4645 says:

      Just admit it. LAKERS ARE LOOSERS.

      Winners never blame anyone for loosing games. They take the responsibility themselves and try to improve. NO FINGER POINTING TO ANYONE.

  71. SMITH says:

    I agree with everything you said about the Lakers….just try to be less corny about it.

  72. Dr.Rasheed Syed says:

    Devastated to see Lakers lose game after game…

  73. Frank says:

    When Howard misses free throws at the end of games, the other Lakers players start to hang their heads and defeat can be seen on their faces. Until the players come to terms with the fact that the “Bite a Dwight” is a tactic which other teams will employ successfully and until the other Lakers players stop internally (I mean within their own minds) blaming Howard for losing, their defense at the end of games will not recover.

  74. B-Baller says:

    Laker fans just need to realize that in 2000. When Refs were paid to make sure the Lakers Made it to the finals and won (for ratings). This is for that. This is the karma that follows a storied franchise the got to the top for half a decade by cheating and stacking their team with ultra players that other teams could never afford. The lakers are the ultimate example of a big market team pushing everyone else out of the way. Heck even the ESPN studio is right across the street. The lakers don’t need anyone to hold their hand, or any new super players, they need to do what every other team already has to do, get better if they want to win. Kobe has been holding up that team for years, someone else has to take the lead when hes gone.

  75. Pinoy Baller says:

    dwight has to practice his free throws, it is really killing the lakers during 4th quarter. dwight please do some extra time on the practice facility, shoot at least 500 free throws a day.

  76. nbafan says:

    lakers lose again LOL

  77. Zandro says:

    The goat, or i should say the scapegoat is Mr Buss. Phil is the biggest answer to their woes right now.

  78. uoykcuf says:

    I am glad they exposed his weakness like that. This will either makes him work hard at his freethrow or break him and turn to D. Coward again. Prediction: Mike D will be fired before the season ends, D. howard will sulk, blame and clash with kobe, Kobe will be his usual “rap”ing mode and demand a trade, nash will retire at the end of the season and Gasol still doesn’t have a clue and will be riding the pine like Nate in NY. best will be a 6th seed comes playoff time and a first round exit. Fair weather laker fans will bandwagon miami, okc or any contender to fufill their destiny as leeches.
    Never see a team that full of all-star and so much talent have zero chemistry. I guess you have to expect that when a team have kobeiam and d. Coward.

    • hooplover says:

      spoken, (written) like a true lakershater! you have no clue what you’re talking about and the childish name calling isn’t going to make the problems go away. if that’s the only way you can express yourself, don’t bother commenting, grownups hang out here!

  79. moshe wanna says:

    shak had the same problem and nothing happened to the Lakers so hat should not be an issue
    the Lakers must make some more adjustments and very soon
    like i said many times before and will say it for the last time
    the Lakers need a bench that can contribute round about twenty to twenty five months a game and about twelve to fifteen rebounds.they should figure out who stays and who leaves and now is the time to do it
    i know it is very difficult for pau but he is not delivering

    • slider821 says:

      If you watch shaq in the playoffs, especially that famous game against Sac, he would focus intensly at the line, take his time, and really think about the shot. He made 8-10 or something out of the ordinary for Shaq.

      Howard has absolutely no focus at the line. He stands there with his cheeky smile and hucks a poor excuse for a shot up, his form looking different but horrid nonetheless every time. He may have a coach working with him on his free throws but the focus is not there. The shot is not fluid, there is no connectioned between the knees, shoulder, elbow, wrist and no follow through with the hand. It’s poor form and he can’t seem to really focus on his form in game.

  80. Heat Eiji says:

    big boy pants

  81. Nba Fan says:

    really? going this far? playboy? this is sport man…..i stopped right when they mention playboys with sofa or something….this is stupid.

  82. dattebayo says:

    Did Kobe actually shoot 3-9 from deep or did they count his attempts when the Rockets fouled Howard?

    • slider821 says:

      They wouldn’t have counted those attempts since they didn’t give him the continuation, he went 3-9 straight up.

  83. GRRR!!! Lakers what are you doing??? says:

    Ok, its getting to the point where I cant keep watching Lakers games! I am the biggest lakers fan ever, but their consistant lack of effort night in night out is really getting pathetic! The Bobcats show more heart, and I’m sorry to say, its time to stop blaming the coaching staff… They still have time to turn it around, but it needs to happen NOW!!!

  84. javajim says:

    the fault for the lakers falls on two people, kobe for jacking up 20+ shots daily and d’antoni for letting him. enough said

  85. Larry Simpson says:

    The rule that allows players to simply intentionally foul someone is horrible. What a travesty of basketball! It actually deserves a technical foul and expulsion if it occurs more than once. This is nothing to do with the Lakers and Dwight Howard. It just is a terrible rule that should be thrown out.

    • Shawn Smith says:

      So there’s 10 seconds left and a team is down by 4 after a basket and intentionally fouls someone, that player should be thrown out? How do enforce intent? How do you protect the integrity of the game?

      Does Kris Humphries get expelled for his foul on KG? Will there be accusations of a ref being on the take if he throws out Lebron James in the first quarter of a playoff game because he “felt the foul was intentional”?

      Have you actually thought that scenario through before making that post/suggestion? The refs couldn’t even deal with flopping and still struggle with the block/charge call. Now you’re suggesting a referee be responsible for judging intent on a foul and have the power to toss players on their opinion in real time?

      LMAO

    • LAKERS says:

      This has nothing to do with the Lakers or Howard, but it has EVERYTHING to do with the COACHING STAFF! Forcing DH to stay in the game, emphasizing that if he doesn’t make FTs then the Lakers lose the game, is only adding more pressure on the guy and makes it harder to make FTs. It’s like asking Kobe to shoot a bunch of 3pt shots. Sure Kobe can make 3pt shot, but it’s low percentage. The coaching staff gotta accept that they have a weakness and prevent the other team from attacking their weakspot, forcing the team to take low percentage shots (DH FTs). It’s all about winning the game. Not about forcing a guy to become better at FT. Another thing they gotta accept is Gasol’s FT skill is a talent. They overlook Gasol’s FT talent and thinking it’s a skill that can be taught to any big man. If shooting FT is a skill that can be taught then how come shooting 3s is not a skill to teach? Why are the Lakers not shooting 60% at 3s? So why expecting DH to shoot 60% at FT?

      • KC says:

        I don’t get your comparison between 60% from 3 point range and 60% from the free throw line. Nobody guards you when you’re taking free throws, and even undefended the 3 is much harder to make. At least I find that to be the case when I shoot. Even with pressure, it’s not hard to shoot 70% + from the free throw line. It just takes practice and the ability to see the ball falling through the hoop. I think it’s clear DH12 is just a head case from the line–something he can overcome with practice if he could only discipline himself.

      • LAKERS says:

        Can practice make a player bigger, stronger, and faster? There is a reason why both Shaq and Dwight are bad a FTs. It seems as if you’re big, you have to be soft to make FTs. Big and strong often come with weird hands that make it hard to make FTs. I know cus I also have big hands so I can relate. The coaching staff just gotta admit it’s their weakness and take Dwight out during critical time. The rest of the Lakers just have to step up with the defense. It wouldnt hurt since the Lakers were already leading by 17pts. Theres no need to lose game after game just to try to get a guy that shoots 49% up to 70% FTs. It’s still low percentage. If you’re a good coach you don’t take that low percentage chance, especially you’re team is leading and you let them play the sack-a-Dwight until you lose. Just let Dwight continues to practice FTs during practice. At one point, he’ll ask himself why it doesn’t transfer into the game and his mind and body will automatically adjust. No forcing DH shooting FTs during the game needed. So what the got one weakness with DH and FTs? Just don’t let ppl use it against you, especially not during the 4th quarter.

    • Game Time says:

      Crying Laker fan. Just admit it.

    • slider821 says:

      It wouldn’t happen if a player could simply make the easiest shot in the game 3/4 times. 75% free throw is expected at a high school level and it’s a joke that a player still can’t do it at a professional level.

      • DWM says:

        Hack-a-Evans was done to the clippers last year too and we got rid of him. Clips had a horrible free-throw shooting team and now it’s been narrowed down to two (DJ and Griffin). Now, we have some of the best free throw shooters in the league. The point is you just gotta get better at shooting free throws because this Hack-a-dwight ain’t going away anytime soon.

      • DHK says:

        Last year it was Hack-a-Splitter on Tiago, How’d he solve that? He hit his FTs and they stopped fouling him. Simple.

    • Nunna Yobinnes says:

      Oh, so teams should not be allowed to exploit their opponent’s weaknesses, huh? Howard could fix the problem by learning how to shoot free throws. Maybe a technical foul should be called on any team who designs their plays to exploit a bad defender on the opposing team?

      • FACE THE FACTS says:

        Howard the problem?
        His rate is around 50%….that is better than the average field goal percentage!! Do it the whole game and they win!

        Problem is their EGO!`

    • rza says:

      I agree but at the same time these guys are professionals making millions and need to be working on their games in the offseason and this wouldn’t be a problem

    • Nouri says:

      Remember we r talking basketball, you r suppose to put the ball in the basket. how come big guys enjoy their advantage of being big but noone can take advantage of their weaknesses? DH is so dumb, for get the FT why does he allow so many offensive rebounds for teams they play with. He is just not a talented guy. Just a big body, I hope lakers would count on him as franchise player.
      Go Lakers GO