Dwight Howard looks strong in Lakers debut
by Adi Joseph, USA TODAY Sports
Godzilla took Tokyo. King Kong conquered New York.
Los Angeles, Dwight Howard has arrived.
The Los Angeles Lakers lost a preseason game 99-92 Sunday to the Sacramento Kings. No matter. The big deal was the big man: Howard made his Lakers debut and dominated, finishing with 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting, plus 12 rebounds and four blocks in 33 minutes.
The five turnovers and 3-for-8 shooting from the line, that’s expected. Howard hasn’t played in six months. Give the big man a break. Besides, the Lakers didn’t expect him to shoot free throws well.
Howard’s first score let everyone know his surgically repaired back, which knocked him out of the end of last season and kept him off the floor for the early part of the preseason, was fine. He took an alley-oop pass from forward Pau Gasol and slammed it through emphatically.
But he wasn’t perfect. He let a few balls slip from his grip and couldn’t complete at least one alley-oop. Those bumps are to be expected.
He was good, though. Good enough to give physical Kings center DeMarcus Cousins a hard time. Cousins, the Kings’ best player, was held to 16 points on 7-for-14 shooting and six rebounds. He also had five turnovers to go along with five fouls.
The surprise might have been that Howard played 33 minutes, but at this point in the preseason, teams are trying to get their starters serious minutes. Gasol played 36 minutes and the other three Lakers starters also played 33. Kobe Bryant scored a team-high 21 points.… [For more on Dwight Howard looks strong in Lakers debut, click here.]