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Dwight Howard says this season was ‘like a nightmare’ after getting ejected in Lakers season-ending loss to Spurs

Apr 28, 2013, 10:48 PM EDT

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Three Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — Dwight Howard didn’t stick around for the end of the Lakers Game 4 loss to the Spurs on Sunday, and maybe it was just because he couldn’t wait another moment for the season to finally be behind him.

Howard picked up his second technical foul of the game with 9:51 remaining in the third quarter, and was ejected with the Spurs already leading by 21 points at the time.

It was an ignominious end to a season full of seemingly endless disappointment, and when Howard was asked to sum up his first year in Los Angeles afterward, his response was hard to dispute.

“It was like a nightmare,” Howard said. “It was like a bad dream, and we couldn’t wake up out of it. That’s what it felt like. It seemed like nothing could go right from the start — injuries and all that stuff. But we’ll get an opportunity to get some rest for guys who are injured or coming off of injuries, get a chance to rehab, and think about what we can all do to better ourselves.”

It would be easy to be disappointed in Howard for allowing himself to get frustrated to the point where he put himself in a position to where the referees could toss him. But Mike D’Antoni sympathized with his starting center, and said given the situation of both the game and the series, the frustration level was understandable.

“I hate it for him,” D’Antoni said. “He gets banged up so much in there. I’m sure he didn’t mean to [get ejected], but he takes a pounding. And after a while it gets on his nerves or whatever. But obviously we were in a deep hole anyway, so I just felt bad for him.”

When asked if he thought Howard needed to be smarter with his emotions, D’Antoni essentially said that it’s easier said than done.

“Understand it’s easy when you sit there like us and just watch, but when you’re playing you’ve got your line of adrenaline going,” D’Antoni said. “It’s a hard situation, and obviously it wouldn’t have happened if the series was a bit different.”

Howard didn’t want to talk about what specifically led to the ejection, but did admit he needs to work on controlling his temper in certain situations.

“It’s over with now,” Howard said. “I’ve just got to do a better job of trying to keep my cool. It’s very tough when you’re out there playing. It’s an emotional game. You don’t want to lose, and sometimes when things don’t go your way sometimes you react the wrong way. I’ve just got to keep my cool.”

“I’m sure he’s disappointed in himself,” D’Antoni said. “Like I said, I felt sorry for him. Because he — if you watch the tape he just gets beat, and beat hard. It’s a learning experience, and he’ll bounce back from this. His play from the last couple of months after the All-Star break, he was a 20 and 16 guy every night. We forget sometimes how good defensively, and how many stats he can put up easily.”

The Howard the Lakers saw in the second half of the season is the one they signed up for, and the one they’d like to sign to a max contract once Howard hits free agency this summer. There are a lot of reasons Howard will likely return to Los Angeles, financial and otherwise. But he’s going to pursue all of his options before making that long-term commitment to the Lakers.

“I’m going to step away from everything for a couple of weeks and clear my head before I deal with or talk about anything as far as next season,” Howard said. “I think I deserve that.”

  1. paulhargis53 - Apr 29, 2013 at 8:12 AM

    The lakers sweep SHOULD mean the end of ANY lakerluver sightings on PBT.

    That is if he has any integrity at all. We shall see I guess.

  2. conwell2549 - Apr 29, 2013 at 8:39 AM

    Now Howard knows what Shaq felt playing with Kobe

  3. datdangdrewdundunituhgin - Apr 29, 2013 at 8:48 AM

    if he serious about winning maybe he should be talking about healing up and then getting back to work with his teammates. instead all i hear is excuses and “we need to think about things”. and d’antoni isn’t doing him any favors by coddling him in hopes he’ll return. man, the lakers are a mess. no leadership except from kobe, and he’s out for himself at this stage of his career.

  4. omniusprime - Apr 29, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    If Howard thought the season was a nightmare then how does he think us Laker fans feel seeing our team play so disgracefully the first half of the season? The whole problem was coaches who weren’t intelligent enough to give the team a sense of urgency from day 1 instead of saying they had plenty of time and could work things out in the second half of the season. Only Bickerstaff had them winning early, a shame he wasn’t given a chance instead of bringing in that deadbeat Dumbtoni.

    We can only hope that Howard decides to stay in LA to become the next great Laker big man and superstar. The team needs revamping and they have done it before so I look forward to seeing better personnel come in to replace garbage like Trash Nash and Steve Flake. The Lakers need to get younger and more athletic, this nonsense of bringing in ancient veterans didn’t work so change that game plan.

    Fire Dumbtoni!!! Keep Howard & Gasol!!! Trade Trash Nash & Steve Flake!!! Get Well Kobe!!! Thanks Dr. Buss!!!

  5. edwardemanuelson - Apr 29, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    Black-list this guy out of the league.

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 29, 2013 at 8:46 PM

      Joseph McCarthy? I thought you were dead.

  6. klink6224 - Apr 29, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    What a big big baby. Glen Davis needs to offer up his nickname. I will never be a fan of his after these past 3 seasons and his antics. Thought LeBrons handling of the decision was bad and alienating and this blows that out of the water

    • florida727 - Apr 30, 2013 at 9:31 AM

      Slight modification to the headline…

      “Dwight Howard is a nightmare for the Lakers season”

  7. tampajoey - Apr 29, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    Howard is a cancer. Chemistry death to any team he plays for… too bad he can’t play football for the Jets.

  8. manchestermiracle - Apr 29, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    Christmas in April for all those who despise everything Lakers. Enjoy that fat dose of schadenfreude you’ve looked forward to lapping up since the Lakers traded for Howard. I’d ask what in the world you’re going to do now with the whole summer ahead, but I’m afraid the answers would put me to sleep.

    Try not to forget that Jerry West’s protege, Mitch Kupchak, is pretty good at finding needed pieces and he’ll be hard at work this off-season. The Lakers might not have gone far this year, but they’ve still missed the playoffs just four times in their history. Some of you “pundits” identify with teams that haven’t made the postseason that many times. When your squad’s never won squat I guess it becomes a default behavior to hate who’s on the top of the heap.

    If not for the epic Celtics/Lakers battles of the 80s y’all would get to watch the playoffs on some obscure network delayed until midnight. It’s easy to tell who’s come late to the NBA party when you read punk comments that ignore the league’s history. I suppose it would be tough (unless you live in east Mass. or SoCal) to not generate some hate when you grow up watching Boston and L.A. vie every year for the trophy while your hometown team goes golfing.

    Now that the Lakers are out, and the Celtics are about to be, you can turn your short attention span back to wondering how your team will find yet another way to suck next year. Or perhaps catch up on the Honey Boo Boo and Jersey Shore episodes you missed while trolling for Laker articles to bomb.

    Don’t feel too bad, there’s always next year to extoll your conspiracy theories about refereeing and David Stern’s nefarious plots while not-so-secretly hoping teams you love to hate will implode. Because, as we all know, publicly expressing your hate (instead of positively rooting for something constructive like, you know, your own team) on a sports blog is something to get out of bed for.

  9. kobeluver - Apr 29, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    Tell me PBT, what does it feel like to not have to read lakerluvers ridiculously inane posts anymore?

    You’re welcome!

  10. tombstone7 - Apr 29, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    It seems to me that DH has never matured mentally with his physical body…imo! He jokes when he should be serious and clearly isn’t ready to be a prime time TEAM leader. He has the leadership behaviors of being a PLEASER…..Sad, but painfully obvious in everything he says…upin getting ejected….he quips, “I hope I get the chance to make it up to them!” Yes, just quit Dwight!

  11. iowahbr - Apr 29, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    Howard needs to understand that his stats at this stage of his career mean zip. It’s the win/loss column that matters now and not what he says on twitter. One of the most overrated players in the NBA based on what he did for the Lakers this year.

  12. thecoldequation - Apr 29, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    Dwight Howard doesn’t know when to stop talking. The entire season “a nightmare?” I am not a Laker fan but you would never hear those words come from the likes of Jabbar, Magic, or even Bryant. Great players make the most of the hand dealt to them.

    And now he hopes he can make it up to the fans? The playoffs was Howard’s silver platter to say that the Lakers is his team now with Bryant out. Winning Game 4 and keeping their playoff hopes alive would’ve put a stop to the conversation, albeit temporarily.

  13. jimeejohnson - Apr 29, 2013 at 8:40 PM

    Ask Dwight if he likes California avocados. Lakers have an everyone likes avocado policy or else. Even the infamous Kurt Rambis ate them, albeit in Cobb salads, like William Holden in that I Love Lucy episode. Just sayin’.

  14. Mike James - Apr 29, 2013 at 9:48 PM

    IMO… Howard does not belong in LA… He would do better in a smaller market like ATL… He just doesn’t have the stuff to play there… too inconsistent, too much of a primadonna… and he is SOFT.

  15. bravecapeproductions - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    #12 from the start is the reason the season was a “dwightmare.”

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