After months of eager anticipation, Dwight Howard finally donned the purple and gold No. 12 jersey for the first time since joining the Los Angeles Lakers, and didn’t disappoint.
When the Lakers first acquired him, Howard was expected to miss the beginning of the regular season while rehabilitating from offseason back surgery. A speedy recovery and impressive showings during training camp, however, made a preseason debut a reality on Sunday against the Sacramento Kings.
From the get-go, Howard showed the dominant playing style that helped him get dubbed the best big man in the league during his time with the Orlando Magic. Howard consistently cleaned the boards against a solid Kings front court and made life difficult for shooters who came within his range.
Howard saw the floor for almost 33 minutes, racking up 19 points while shooting 8-of-12 from the field. On top of his impressive point production, Howard also pitched in 12 rebounds (four offensive), two assists and four blocks. He only converted on three of his eight free throw attempts on the night and turned the ball over five times.
Seeing as he wasn’t even expected to be available at this point, Howard looked terrific in his first game as a Laker. Time and time again, he displayed a welcomed harmony with Kobe Bryant as the two made numerous connections that yielded points.
Despite the fact that the Lakers lost, it was a promising start to the Bryant-Howard era in Los Angeles. Don’t get too excited, though; it’s only the preseason and the Lakers are 0-6. Stay tuned.