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Dwight Howard says he’s playing through a lot of pain, but it’s more than that

Feb 11, 2013, 3:55 PM EDT

Dwight Howard AP

Nobody is questioning that Dwight Howard is playing through shoulder pain.

What Steve Nash on the court Sunday and countless others off the court have questioned is why that means he can’t move his feet quickly?

Once again on Sunday against the Heat Howard was solid — 15 points and 9 rebounds in 41 minutes — but he is not the game changing, dominant force the Lakers expected or need if they plan to make the playoffs.

The shoulder injury is part of that and it bothers him every game because it gets hit and his arm gets pulled, Howard told Eric Adelson of Yahoo Sports.

On his first trip down the court, Dwight Howard felt Miami Heat players grabbing at his injured right arm.

“They got me early,” he told Yahoo! Sports in the quiet of the Lakers locker room after Sunday’s 107-97 loss. “They would yank it back.”

Howard said the Bobcats did the same thing in Charlotte Friday night – even worse, in fact.

“It’s like a jolt,” he said. “Then it hurts the rest of the night.”

But again, that doesn’t address things like the play where the near pacifist Steve Nash snapped at Howard on the court against the Heat. Nash drove baseline and got trapped by his man Mario Chalmers and Howard’s man Udonis Haslem. Everyone else was covered and Nash wanted Howard to cut to an open spot where he could get him the ball. Howard stood flat-footed waiving his arms expecting some kind of miracle pass to reach him.

Movement has been a key issue for Howard, something well stated by Kevin Ding at the Orange County Register — Howard’s defensive rotations are not crisp and on offense he just wants the ball in the post.

In Howard’s eyes, he was open, so give him the ball. That has been Howard’s point of view much of the season: He simply wants the ball, wants his touches, wants his shots – and yet refuses to buy into the D’Antoni doctrine that “the ball finds energy.”

If Howard really lusts for individual offense so badly, why not try harder to get the ball? Even if he can’t explode like he did when he fully trusted his body, at least try to do something. Just look at how well things went even with makeshift non-Nash point guards for Jordan Hill – with a herniated disk in his back and other injuries before requiring hip surgery – when he simply rolled hard off picks.

The Lakers are not out of the playoff hunt in the West, they remain just 3.5 games back of the Rockets for the eighth seed in the West. But the Rockets are on pace to get 44 wins and are not coming back to the pack, the Lakers need to go 20-10 the rest of the way to get to 44 wins and be in that mix.

And if they can do that really comes down to Howard, his shoulder, and his feet. Kobe and Nash are doing what they can, as are the role players, but this is Dwight Howard’s time. We’ll see if he can live up to the pressure he said he wanted when he tried to get out of Orlando and came to Los Angeles.

  1. mgscott - Feb 11, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    My dad told them to stop touching my shoulder but they wouldn’t stop.

  2. stadix093 - Feb 11, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    Hiring Mike Brown was a horrible mistake. Not hiring Phil Jackson was another horrible mistake. Not shutting this guy down for the rest of the year would be just as stupid. You don’t see anyone rushing D Rose back.

    • readysethike - Feb 11, 2013 at 4:31 PM

      you cannot compare this laker team to the bulls team. two different squads, the bulls team has a great coach and a core of players that actually like each other. this laker team had a coach its players didn’t respect and a bunch of players who can’t play well together consistently. also a bulls team without rose can still make the playoffs.

      • chitownmatt - Feb 11, 2013 at 4:41 PM

        I think he was comparing/contrasting the Lakers’ seemingly forcing Howard to continue to play injured to the Bulls allowing Rose to take all the time he needs to properly heal.

      • stadix093 - Feb 11, 2013 at 10:32 PM

        Thank you chitownmatt that is what I was saying. Bottom line is he is either too hurt to be effective, and if that is true he needs to sit. Or he his effort level is so low, he’s looking this bad, if that is the case he can leave now. All I want is effort from the team I root for. I am a Laker fan for life but I love how hard the Bulls play and D Rose is probably my favorite player in the NBA.

  3. willardj - Feb 11, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    No coach could save this team. D’Antoni and Brown are both proven successful coaches in the NBA. The Lakers simply aren’t very good anymore. Howard, isn’t even close to dominant like he was. Kobe doesn’t try on defense. World Peace does nothing. Nash is a shell of himself. Gasol also is a shell of himself. People keep saying it’s the coaching and chemistry, but it’s really the talent. When you’re that bad, you need to accept that your team isn’t very good.

    • chitownmatt - Feb 11, 2013 at 4:35 PM

      How can you possibly call D’Antoni and Brown “proven successful”??? The only thing either of them has proven is that they couldn’t win even when they each had one of the best teams in the league.
      The proven winners are the coaches that consistently get their teams to exceed the expectations, not merely live up to or almost meet their expectations.

      • willardj - Feb 11, 2013 at 5:17 PM

        Mike Brown consistently coached that overachieving Cavs team to one of the top seeds in the east. That team had players like Mo Williams, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Anderson Varejao, Wally Szerbiak, Booby Gibson, and Drew Gooden play significant roles and LeBron wasn’t as good as he is today (more athletic but less smart back then).

        D’Antoni led those Suns teams to be real NBA championship contenders (they arguably should have won in 2007). He did pretty well in New York before Carmelo came along. Remember that one of the greatest coaches of all time Phil Jackson led this same Lakers team (except they had Odom, Bynum) to be swept against the Mavs in the 2011 playoffs.

        These two guys may have struggled lately, but most true NBA fans can recognize them as good coaches.

  4. aboogy123456 - Feb 11, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    Dwight Howard will stay in LA and the lakers will want to keep him because he does make the team better, but as a lakers fan I really want to see this guy go. I want to win with guys that I like, and I hate how Dwight has completely given up on his team this year. This is Kobe’s second to last season and it’s been wasted because of Dwight’s attitude and selfishness.

    The NBA needs good role models to look up to and Dwight is a horrible role model. He doesn’t value hard work, he comes up with excuses, he points fingers, and he doesn’t value hard work. He wants the ball not because it makes his team better but just because it’s more fun for him to take shots. He gets paid a max but he doesn’t want the responsibility of a leader. Whether basketball or in life, kids need good role models and this guy sucks.

    • themars211 - Feb 11, 2013 at 4:55 PM

      I totally agree with your post. I don’t necessarily need to like you, but this guy is a big baby. For someone who is so concerned about his offense and touches why doesn’t he put in the work to be a more productive post player. He is horrible on offense and without the jumping ability that he use to exhibit its even more magnified. Say what you will about Kobe but nobody can never accuse him of not putting in the off season work to get better. Howard has been in the league for quite some time now and his offensive skills are rudimentary at best.

    • thevza - Feb 11, 2013 at 5:35 PM

      The question is, would you rather have kept Andrew Bynum and traded his issues for Howard’s issues?

      • themars211 - Feb 11, 2013 at 5:47 PM

        If you asked me that a year ago I would have replied D. Howard without a second thought. At the moment I would still go Howard because I think he actually likes basketball. Its almost like trading one malcontent for the other. Bynum seemed to not care about basketball too much and Howard I think needs to get out of his own way.

      • aboogy123456 - Feb 11, 2013 at 7:10 PM

        I would probably say howard too but you have to consider that as much as he doesn’t like basketball, Drew is a smarter player than dwight. They both have injury problems but I think Drew doesn’t need to rely on his athleticism like howard does.

    • zerole00 - Feb 11, 2013 at 5:36 PM

      I hate Howard after the way he dealt with the Magic, but I think it’s a stretch to say that his “selfishness” has ruined the Lakers’ season. Howard, Nash, and Gasol have been on a rotating circle of injuries and with how much cap is being sinked into them (this isn’t even including Kobe), the bench just can’t compete.

      I agree that Howard’s attitude sucks though (as far as not DEMANDING the ball), but I can’t fault him for looking out for himself as far as injuries go.

  5. progress2011 - Feb 11, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    AHAHAHAHAahahahah !!!!

    Steve “Blow-By” Nash actually told someone to move their feet !!! He can’t check NOBODY !!!!

    Whoever he attempts to line up against, stops shooting jumpers and practice on their Blow By moves to the rack….ahahahahaha

    Fake MJ never plays solid defense anymore and simply gambles to get in the passing lane to get a steal…dude is always out of position.

    So far this year, the blame has gone to:
    1. Mike Brown
    2. Princeton Offense
    3. Nash hurt
    3. Howard hurt
    4. TERRIBLE bench production
    5. Gasol hurt
    6. D’Antoni
    7. D’Antoni’s system
    8. Jim Buss
    9. Jeannie Buss
    10. Fake MJ shooting his team out of games …shooting 7 of 15 and ZERO ASSISTS!

    I JUST returned from Germany, with some 20 year old cheese to go with that WHINE !!!! ahahahaha

    Suck it up….Man up ….just admit “THE FAKERS SUCK ” !

    I suggest you go out and buy a new HD TV so you can see the playoffs clearly from home, along with the laker organization…..ahahahaha

  6. 32magicman - Feb 11, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    Do the Nets still covet Dwight? Lopez is an all star this year. Wonder if they would take this big head primadonna for an improving young centre in a trade package?

    • pudgalvin - Feb 11, 2013 at 5:47 PM

      Yeah, the nets are the fifth best team in the east without any real hope of getting better. Howard might not be the answer, but they’re not exactly in a great place.

      • progress2011 - Feb 12, 2013 at 12:41 PM

        They won’t get anybetter either …because they overpaid for two players that have ZERO heart !

        Joe Johnson and Deron have all the potential in the world but they both disappear at critical times and appear nonchalant !

        So, unless they can get those 2 players with max contracts to step up and play EVERY NIGHT!

        They are stuck in the mud !

  7. 00maltliquor - Feb 11, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    wtf man……wtf

  8. fanz928 - Feb 11, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    Lakers being BA doesnt all fall on Howard Steve Nash poor defense, and bad transition defense from the team screws them

  9. daddyghi - Feb 11, 2013 at 7:47 PM

    sucks to be dwight howard these days… all those pains from injury, pressure from teamates, emotional torture from fans, critics from the media… but i will trade places with him anyday if i’m to earn tons of money playing b-ball!

    • florida727 - Feb 12, 2013 at 4:56 PM

      Amen. Every hack like us that plays on the weekend would kill to get a single NBA paycheck. Heck, keep the cash, I’d just love to trade places with him for a week just to see what that lifestyle would really be like.

  10. luz56 - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:15 PM

    Willardj…… You said it best! Nash is done. Arrest is done. Gasol is not what he was but still has something left in the proper system. Kobe is still great. Clark might be their second best player. Howard…. STFU. Lost total respect since coming to the Hollywood Fakers

  11. bigsexy2288 - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:52 PM

    Will this season hurry up and end so we can send this piece of crap out of town!

  12. omniusprime - Feb 12, 2013 at 9:00 AM

    If Howard isn’t moving his feet around to come to the ball then that’s just proof of a monumental coaching failure. Dumbtoni needs to stop trying to sound like the zen master and speak plain English. Until the Lakers get rid of the worst coach in Laker history the team has no chance of making the playoffs. This horrible season is the karma that little idiot buss boy brought down upon us loyal Laker fans and we want to see him gone.

    Kobe shouldn’t have to do Dumbtoni’s job of getting Howard fired up but he has to since Dumbtoni is too chicken to get after Howard for his lack of effort. Phil Jackson would have found a zen way to get Howard more motivated, like the how he told Artest he was wearing cement running shoes as a way to get Ron Ron to lose weight which he did and got better for it. There’s no mistaking that all the woes of the Lakers are the fault of that little idiot buss boy who brought in Trash Nash instead of a great young point guard.

    Fire Dumbtoni!!! Trade Trash Nash!!! Trade Steve Flake!!! Get Well Pau!!!

  13. florida727 - Feb 12, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    I swear I’m not a hater. I like Howard. I really do. But I think he’s the most over-hyped guy in the NBA. His free throw shooting reminds me of Shaq. It makes him a late-game liability. And especially in the playoffs, when most games come down to the wire, he gets exposed. I just don’t understand the infatuation with this guy. Fun to watch him dunk. But there’s a lot of guys I’d rather have to start a franchise.

  14. Jeff - Feb 12, 2013 at 9:06 PM

    I’m reading through a lot of pain seeing yet another Howard or Bryant or Lakers-related story.

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