The 2012-2013 NBA season has been a roller coaster ride for the Los Angeles Lakers, and one of the main reasons is because of Dwight Howard. After the blockbuster trade over the summer the Lakers were projected to be an elite team in the Western Conference, instead they have been just the opposite. The Lakers go into every game just hoping for a win while scratching and clawing their way to above .500, and a chance for the eight seed in the Western Conference.
However, it seems as though the Lakers have finally reached a point where they can begin to see somewhat of a light at the end of the tunnel. At the beginning of the season, Howard did not look like his old self, his defensive ability was sub-par, and his leaping ability was not what fans had grown to see from him. Yes, he was catching the occasional alley-oop from Steve Nash or Kobe Bryant, but his ability to get off the floor so quick, and leap a second and third time for an offensive rebound has not been there. Until now.
Against the Sacramento Kings, Howard displayed some of his magic from his days in Orlando. Rotating effectively on defense to help whoever had lost their man, which is usually everyone aside from Kobe, and getting some key offensive rebounds. His defensive play on DeMarcus Cousins was key to the Lakers coming away with a crucial victory, even if he did commit a late foul that wasn’t called.
If the Lakers continue to get this sort of effort from Howard, then there is no doubt in my mind that they will be able to lock up the West’s eight seed and even give the San Antonio Spurs a tough challenge in round one. However, in remembrance of former Lakers center Andrew Bynum, Howard has quickly become very inconsistent. You don’t know from one game to the next how this guy is going to perform and his bad games usually equate to bad Laker losses. At this point in the season, with only eight games left and the Lakers one game back for the West’s eight seed, they cannot afford to have the inconsistent Howard show up. They need the Orlando Magic type Howard to show up. Not just once in a while. In all eight games.
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