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Dwight Howard posts double-double in preseason debut for the Lakers

Oct 22, 2012, 12:48 AM EDT

Sacramento Kings v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

Dwight Howard made his preseason debut for the Lakers on Sunday, and for the most part, he showcased every bit of the all-world individual talent that we’ve all become accustomed to seeing.

The rust was noticeable, however, and if this first run was any indication, the team concept will take quite a while to develop into anything close to resembling cohesion.

Howard looked athletic, agile, and spry in his 33 minutes of action, while putting up more than respectable numbers of 19 points, 12 rebounds, four blocked shots, and two assists.

Lest you forget whose team this is, on the Lakers’ first offensive possession with Howard in the fold, Kobe Bryant ignored his new post threat by launching and connecting on a three-pointer from the wing as Howard attempted to establish position inside.

Bryant led all Lakers with 21 points, and equaled Howard’s 12 field goal attempts for most on the team.

Three noticeable things came out of this, the Lakers’ sixth preseason game without a victory to start the year:

One, Howard is healthy — this is perhaps the most important revelation to come out of Sunday’s contest, considering it means the Lakers will have their starting five intact and on the floor when they open the season at home on Oct. 30 against the Dallas Mavericks.

Two, the Lakers’ bench is an unmitigated disaster at this point. Things may change once the games count for real, as Antawn Jamison may begin to find his scoring touch, and Jordan Hill might be healthy enough to put on a uniform and provide a spark with the second unit. But on a night when the starters each played 32 minutes or more, it wasn’t exactly encouraging to see the bench outscored 57-18 by the second unit of the Sacramento Kings.

Finally, all the talent in the world on the same team won’t win games without the group coming to a comprehensive understanding of the systems that are in place, and knowing what everyone’s individual responsibility is on each possession to ensure that the team is able to fire on all cylinders and achieve maximum production.

On this night, there was far too much standing around on offense, and it was clear that many of the starters were unsure of what the team dynamic was supposed to be. The timing of passes was off, the cutting by players away from the ball was sporadic, and when it did happen, the ball didn’t seem to find its way to the player making that effort to get free.

Overall, Dwight Howard looked fine — his individual numbers bear that out, and the fact that he’ll be ready for the season-opener is certainly a positive sign. And, the caveat of “it’s only the preseason” is certainly worth repeating, and perhaps overstating for emphasis. But don’t expect the Lakers to immediately steamroll all opponents in their path; if tonight’s first look at the new starting five was any indication, it’ll take some time as the team attempts to find itself while continuing to be a work in progress.

  1. libertynchurch - Oct 22, 2012 at 1:03 AM

    Nash and Jamieson pick-and-roll for the second team? Purposely didnt use the term ‘bench’. Nash didnt sign up for that.

    • norcal031 - Oct 22, 2012 at 12:54 PM

      Yea that bench is going to be so bad They were last in bench scoring last year and will probably be worse this year. Jamason loves to brick 3’s and get blocked Steve Nash CAN NOT stay in front of ANY young PG and yes Howard will take away anything that gets past Nash their arent many big men in the west who will be able to score on him esxcept DMC! But like Shaq said I only praise real big men of the past not the big men yall be prasing today.

      GO KINGS

  2. xcastorx - Oct 22, 2012 at 1:13 AM

    HeatBench>LakersStarters BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!! LAKERS SUCK

    • moclov4 - Oct 27, 2012 at 11:34 AM

      nice attempt at trolling, nobody that follows the NBA in their right mind would make such a ridiculous, asinine statement. you just keep furthering stereotypes of Heat fans … besides Ray Allen, who is a starter on any other team and will come off the bench by design, is there ONE future Hall of Famer on that Heat bench?

  3. progress2011 - Oct 22, 2012 at 1:32 AM

    Those flat tires in the emergency lane on I-5, are the wheels that fell off the laker bus.

  4. Dan M. - Oct 22, 2012 at 2:17 AM

    Pretty ridiculous to criticize them for not having team chemistry at this point. Its the first time three guys who have generally dominated the ball in their careers are all playing on the same team (Kobe, Nash, Howard). It took the Heat months to gel, the Knicks months to gel (and they still might be working on that one), it’ll take the Nets months to gel and the Lakers months to gel.

    • borderline1988 - Oct 22, 2012 at 9:13 AM

      True, except people are a tad more worried about the chemistry thing when referring to Kobe Bryant as opposed to Lebron James.

      No one doubts that Nash, Howard and Gasol can find chemistry. It would take them some time to iron it out, but it would happen.
      That point the author made about Kobe shooting a contested 3 on the first possession of the game while Howard was trying to set up post position…if you don’t think Kobe knew what he was doing, you’re mindless. Kobe hit the shot obviously, but he’s trying to send a message. And that should worry Laker fans.
      Kobe can coexist with others, but he doesn’t like sharing the spotlight. He likes to be the alpha dog, and he will put Howard in his place if Howard gets too involved with the media or tries to take over.

      • moclov4 - Oct 27, 2012 at 11:42 AM

        um, yeah – this is already a non-issue put to rest. besides the author overanalyzing THE FIRST PLAY OF THE GAME, Kobe and Howard have already both publicly and privately discussed this. At first Howard didn’t want to come to LA because he wanted to be “the man, the #1 guy”, but he acknowledged that it’s Kobe’s team for at least another couple of years … to which Kobe agreed. People need to stop making stories out of nothing for drama. Is it shocking, breaking news that Kobe always has wanted to be, and ever since Shaq left, always HAS been the alpha dog on the team? No, it’s something that is basic knowledge about this Lakers team.

  5. badintent - Oct 22, 2012 at 2:48 AM

    57-12 !!! King’s bench smackdown of Fakers ! Damn ! Mike Brown , get down and get this mess cleaned up ! Or your starters will be on IR by February from too many minutes. We talking about the Kings ! Kings ? yeah , we talking about the Kings.The Anaheim or Seattle Kings.

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Oct 22, 2012 at 4:19 AM

      You actually think that the Lakers will give their all just to win this pre season game?

      Fakers? What’s so fake in having 16 banners hanging in the rafters compared to your team?

      One word for you. : Doofus.

  6. passerby23 - Oct 22, 2012 at 3:00 AM

    The Lakers will get it together, but the observation of Kobe hoisting up a 3 as Howard tried to establish post position will be an interesting one going forward. It’s still difficult imaging Nash and Kobe really being effective together unless Kobe is willing to dial down his game and have Nash control the ball. If it’s Kobe ball and Nash is reduced to standing around the perimeter as a spot-up shooter, it will be a complete waste of their individual talents.

    • moclov4 - Oct 27, 2012 at 11:54 AM

      people need to give Kobe some credit, and remember that in addition to his incredible work ethic, he also possesses and uses his high basketball IQ to succeed on the court … what does that mean in this context? Having played against the Suns for so many years as division rivals, Kobe knows that the Lakers didn’t bring Nash in to just be a spot-up shooter, he was brought in to run an offense; Kobe hasn’t played with a high-level, competent point guard since … the Gary Payton/Karl Malone “experiment”. Kobe is a scorer, and he knows that by putting the ball in Nash’s hands, Nash will set up Kobe for much easier shots, not having all the attention on him and having to initiate the offense all by himself.

  7. thelakeshow562 - Oct 22, 2012 at 3:41 AM

    its a new team AND PRESEASON AND DONT HATE Lakers #1 CUZ HOW MANY RINGS YOU GOT !!???? cuz if your not a celtrick you dont have enough F@#K BOSTON AND YOUR TEAM LOS LAKERS

    • Andrés Garcia - Oct 22, 2012 at 4:30 AM

      Learn how to write or you won’t be taken seriously.

  8. BigBeachBall - Oct 22, 2012 at 4:00 AM

    This team will crush the heat…lakers in three

  9. davidcl77 - Oct 22, 2012 at 6:47 AM

    Lol!

  10. paulhargis53 - Oct 22, 2012 at 6:54 AM

    Of course lakersucker isn’t shooting his mouth off on this thread….they lost.
    Typical jerkoff behavior.

    Didn’t go all out to win? The starters all played at least 32-minutes…..

    Don’t use the banner argument, its stupid. Titles won in previous years have nothing to do with the current one.

    • skids003 - Oct 22, 2012 at 8:11 AM

      Ask Kobe, the only letter in TEAM is I.

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Oct 22, 2012 at 8:41 AM

      Be that as it may, the word “Fakers” used by haters isn’t aimed at this year’s team. It’s aimed at the franchise. Haters use them year in year out. So the rebuttal using the number of banners do count.

      True on the number of minutes, but it still doesn’t mean all out. You can see that in their eyes. You can see that in their body language.

      Just an opportunity to warm up. That’s all.

      To my fellow Lakers fans: Respect our team’s haters. They are the ones who think that our team is better than theirs.

  11. tsi431 - Oct 22, 2012 at 7:52 AM

    How can you compare the Lakers bench (72 minutes total) vs the Kings (135 minutes total) against one another?

    Why not add this sentence to your article?

    The Kings bench outscored the Kings starters tonight by a margin of 57-42, proving the Kings bench is much better then the Kings starters.

    Compare the starters points if you want some more ugly numbers (LAL 75 SAC 47).

    • brianspider - Oct 22, 2012 at 9:04 AM

      So using your logic the Laker’s starters played 167 minutes to the Kings’ 106. However you want to put it, the Kings’ roster showed much greater balance tonight and got the W.

      • tsi431 - Oct 22, 2012 at 11:28 AM

        Yes exactly, you get it. The minutes are the important part, but they are just forgotten about in this blog.

        By the way, balance is for the bottom 1/3 of the league, who have no true stars.

        Starters win championships, not bench.

        The past NBA Champions have all had strong starters and lackluster backups. NBA players don’t need much rest. A few game time minutes at the end of each quarter is plenty (real time around 15 minutes to the beginning of the next quarter).

        Last year was different, due to a short schedule and multiple back to back games.

  12. lakerluver - Oct 22, 2012 at 8:49 AM

    Who cares about whether they won or lost? I’ll tell you who…the naysayers that’s who! The same ones who said Dwight wouldn’t be a LAKER. Or that Dwight won’t be ready for the start of the season. Let’s see what this team looks like in May/June. If I recall correctly, the Heat were the butt of everyone’s jokes the year before last. “Bron and Wade can’t play together”. “Bosh is too soft”. “No bench”. “Spo cant coach”. Etc., etc., etc. But we all know how that story ended. The Heat ended up in the Finals. The moral of the story is, in the NBA the cream always rises to the top. Once the L A K E R S get rolling they’re going to be very hard to beat. The good thing is, because Dwight is way ahead of schedule, the L A K E R S collectively will be way ahead of schedule. By late spring of next year the only thing that will be able to stop this team is health.

  13. omniusprime - Oct 22, 2012 at 8:56 AM

    It’s obvious the weakest link for the Lakers is Clown Brown, the most pathetic excuse for an NBA coach ever. With all the talent the Laker’s starting five have he couldn’t even coach them to a victory against the lowly Sacramento Kings. The bench is a farce and Kupcake had better do something to improve the bench. Still the new look Lakers are a work in progress and can only get better. It’s all about finishing the season strong and in a great position to win the championship. Go Lakers!!!

    • dysraw1 - Oct 22, 2012 at 11:45 AM

      not after 3yrs of watching Dick D’antoni at the helm.

  14. paulhargis53 - Oct 22, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    They use “Fakers” to get under your skin. It works, because you, and people like you, react to it.

    You can spin it however you like, they all played major minutes and lost. The bench was deplorable.

    lakerslurper, You cared. You were shooting off your mouth last night about great they looked, Howard in particular.
    There are 2 other things that are going to unravel this team besides health.
    Kobe not staying within the system, and a horrid bench.
    You’re a jerkoff,jerkoff.

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Oct 22, 2012 at 9:52 AM

      To say that they get under my skin when they use that pathetic term is giving them too much credit.

      Really.

      For the sake of argument that they indeed played all out, so what? Would one pre-season game truly be indicative of what will happen in the whole season? Please, paul, only stupid people will fall for that.

      But in all seriousness, I don’t think that the Lakers would intend to go all-out and risk injury for a game that is meaningless. Lakers are not stupid.

      If it were a real game, you would see a real all-out.

      Chances are, the Lakers would have won that game.

  15. lakerluver - Oct 22, 2012 at 9:14 AM

    There are 3-4 teams with a legit shot at the Larry O. Even with their splendid “pre-season” record, Sac Town ain’t one of those teams. The L A K E R S will win 54-62 games and represent the Western Conf. in the Finals.

  16. lakerluver - Oct 22, 2012 at 9:17 AM

    Blah, blah blah…talk to me in June.

  17. paulhargis53 - Oct 22, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    That reaction right there is why you are detested on this site, lakerslurper, even by some of your own fellow fans.
    You have no rebuttal, so you dismiss the guy with a blah blah blah. If you could admit things, people wouldn’t hate you,do much, but no its all wine and roses, all the time.

    This is why you’re a jerkoff, jerkoff.

  18. opinevain - Oct 22, 2012 at 9:35 AM

    Um they looked pretty good to me. And Artest, Bryant, Nash, Meeks, and Jamison had a lot of OPEN shots, but I apparently that went unnoticed

  19. paulhargis53 - Oct 22, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    Foul, you’ve brought the faker thing up more than once, so evidently, it IS getting under your skin…..

    I didn’t say it was indicitive of what type of season they will have. I’m just saying each starter played at least 3/4 of the minutes. You’d tbink, the way “some Lakers fans” talk, that just putting those 5 guys on the floor is enough to win.

    I know its preseason, I know the games don’t mean much, but still, if they aren’t going all out for fear of injuries, why ate they all playing 32 minutes a game then?

    With the age of some players, and the injuries of others, its rather foolish to play them that much, don’t you think?

    It’s also very easy to say they list because they werent going all out. You think Kobe likes to lose …ever?

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Oct 22, 2012 at 11:09 AM

      True. I always bring up that faker thing because it gives me great delight in exposing how stupid and juvenile these doofuses are. They can’t even give a good rebuttal and justify how such trash talk is apt for the franchise.

      The fact of the matter is, the Lakers franchise gets under THEIR skin because their franchise pales in comparison to what the Lakers have CONSISTENTLY achieved. The Lakers remind them that such achievements can’t be done by their franchise in their lifetime.

      Paul, just because you log in a lot of minutes doesn’t mean you are playing all out. It’s not that much different when they practice against each other. You think that during practice, they only play for 30 minutes every time they practice? The pressure to win isn’t there. They are just taking advantage of the opportunity to test whatever they have in mind. If Kobe is really pissed of losing even for preseason games, then you would see him livid after every preseason game.

  20. libertynchurch - Oct 22, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    Coaches can decide when to go all-out in a pre-season game. But the players are playing to win. Always. Summer League, intra-squad, whatever. On national TV with their
    new squad? Yeah, the players wanted to win, but lost. No big deal. They still have some things to work on. And they will. The Lakers will most definetly compete for a Ring this year. But to say that they lost because the players weren’t trying is disingenuous.

  21. teehov843 - Oct 22, 2012 at 11:03 AM

    That’s not true. On the Lakers first possession, Dwight made the assist to kobe for the three pointer

  22. teedraper - Oct 22, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    It was the FIRST GAME u retard Popsicle! Give the over analysis a break already.

    You writers…..boy I tell ya.

  23. lakeshowbro - Oct 22, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    Paul, I love it! You REALLY detest the Lakers huh? And since when do previous accomplishments not count? Isn’t it the desire of any sports franchise to build a legacy? And what’s with all the name calling? This really is a sore topic for you…

  24. paulhargis53 - Oct 22, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    lakeshowbro:

    I do not hate the lakers and it isn’t a sore spot for me at all. If you notice, my vitriol is aimed specifically at one donkey on here.
    Foul and I are able to have a decent debate, as I’m sure you and I would.

    There are a few exceptions in your fanbase that I detest, and lakerslurper tops the list. I enjoy verbally beating him down- its a timewaster at work-what can I say. He’s a caricature and so mind numbingly stupid that its fun to ridicule him.
    I just happen to think that crowning paper champs is ridiculous. Yes a legacy is important, but all those titles have zero bearing ad to what happens this year.

    I’m a Celts fan, we don’t rub titles in people’s faces, at least I dont. its ludicrous to do so.

    Don’t get the idea I’m all fired up, I’m actually laughing while I’m on this site.

    I don’t know how you can defend a fan like that jerkoff lakerluver, but to each their own I guess…

    • bozosforall - Oct 22, 2012 at 11:31 PM

      The only beating that I see here coming from you, pudhummer53, is you beating off one of your male prostitute clients. You are a typical loser Puh C’s fan…pretend to be above it all, yet forever scarred by how teams like the Yankees have so thoroughly dominated your local loser franchise for nearly a century. You aren’t fooling anyone, crybaby.

  25. magicbucs - Oct 22, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    Enjoy it this year. Dwight’s leaving LA after this season.

    • moclov4 - Oct 27, 2012 at 12:08 PM

      why would Dwight leave? the Lakers can offer him more money than anyone else can, and besides, he and Nash came to LA for one reason and one reason only – because they know it’s their best shot at getting a championship … after years of the Lakers crapping on the Suns, and dominating the Magic in the Finals the one year they made it this decade, both Nash and Howard are smart enough to know: “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!”

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