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Howard says free throws didn’t cost Lakers
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On December 5, 2012 @ 3:00 am In All,Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Adi Joseph, USA TODAY Sports
Dwight Howard wants you to know that his poor free throw shooting did not cost the Los Angeles Lakers a win Tuesday night against the Houston Rockets.
Of course, Howard missed eight free throws, five in the fourth quarter. And the Lakers lost by two, 107-105.
Let’s let Howard explain for himself:
“We allowed them to get back into the game. It wasn’t just about free throws. … It wasn’t just about me missing free thows toward the end. We’ve got to do a better job defending.
“That’s fine. That’s fine. People going to say what they’re going to say. But at the end of the day, the reason we lost is not my free throws. That didn’t lose us the game. Our defense was not there in the fourth quarter.”
Got it. Defense. And he’s right. The Rockets scored 34 points in the fourth quarter, 62 in the second half. The Lakers had a 13-point lead at halftime and again with 9 minutes, 39 seconds remaining in regulation. But they lost because Houston’s bench went crazy as Toney Douglas and Greg Smith combined for 43 points.
And Howard made his last three free throws. Of course, that came after a 2-for-7 stretch in the span of 46 seconds late in the fourth quarter. But Howard doesn’t think Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni, now 3-5 at the helm, should have removed him.
“Why should he take me out?” Howard asked, indignantly. “Like I said, the more I continue to practice, my free throws are going to fall. But there’s other things you can do on the court to help your team. It’s not just about the free throws.”
This is, after all, the guy who laughed off an airball earlier this season. The 8-for-16 effort actually improves Howard’s free throw percentage to 46.7% this season. That’s slightly better than the Lakers’ winning percentage of 44.4%.
But D’Antoni backs his star center, who had 16 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks in the loss.
“If you take him out now, then you’ll be taking out a guy that’s going to be your franchise player all the time,” the coach said. … [For more on Dwight Howard says free throw misses didn't cost Lakers, click here.]
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