Jeff Van Gundy rips Dwight Howard during nationally televised game between Lakers and Thunder (VIDEO)

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During Sunday’s nationally televised game between the Lakers and Thunder — one where Kobe Bryant racked up 14 assists in helping his team to a much-needed win — color commentator Jeff Van Gundy had some strong words for Dwight Howard.

Howard has been up and down this season, and is clearly not all the way recovered from the back surgery he underwent last summer. But he’s complained about his touches at times, while badly missing defensive rotations and blaming his teammates in the process.

These are the things Van Gundy took issue with in an extended rant during the second quarter on Sunday.

Here are some of the more pointed remarks, as transcribed by LakersNation.

He’s let everybody know ad nauseum that his back hurts OK, and that he is not 100%.

That’s not what people are upset about.

They’re upset about his waffling constantly on everything. This idea that he has to have less touches now? You’re the one that wanted out of the situation in Orlando where you were the featured guy. So this is what I‘ve ascertained that would make him happy:

Highest paid player, on a championship caliber team, first option offensive threat, in a big market, with no pressure, no responsibility and no one to prod him from a coaching standpoint.

Where do you find that in the NBA?

What he should do is say, ‘I wanted out. I wanted here. I’m going to make it work here.’

You should not have to beg a NBA player for energy, effort and unselfishness. Because you are not getting touches doesn’t give you the right to hold your team hostage by not giving your very very best.

Van Gundy was simply saying what the rest of us were thinking, but the passion with which he delivered those statements was interesting. I mean, it came across as a bit personal — almost as if Dwight had done something to a member of Van Gundy’s family at some point in the past.

[via BDL]

Magic’s Aaron Gordon skies to finish amazing alley-oop (VIDEO)

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Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.

As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.

Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.

Former Hawk Pero Antic’s celebration accidentally punches teammate in face in Eruoleague (VIDEO)

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Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.

Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.

Maybe a little too pumped.

Ouch.

That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.

Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.

(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)

James Harden helped recruit Lou Williams to Houston

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The Lakers had been shopping Lou Williams around in the run-up to the trade deadline, the only question was would they get a first-round pick for him. Rumors around the league say that Houston had offered them one weeks before, it was on the table, but the Jim Buss/Mitch Kupchak front office held their cards close and hoped a better deal would come through.

While all that was going on James Harden decided to ease the process and did a little recruiting calling up Williams, the sixth-man guard told Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

“When James called, he asked me if I was interested in playing with them,” Williams told The Vertical. “I told him that I loved the Lakers, but James and them have a group that fit my personality, fit how I play. He said he was going to make it happen.”

Williams then laughed, sitting on the edge of a visiting court following a recent practice. “I’ve heard that before, so I didn’t really put stock into it,” Williams told The Vertical. “I guess James did put the word in, and the team made it happen.”

We all know what happened, Jeanie Buss removed her brother and Kupchak a few days before the trade deadline, Magic Johnston stepped in, called around, and quickly pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Williams to Houston (the Lakers also got Corey Brewer). Williams has averaged 14.5 points per game and had some strong performances with the Rockets, although he’s still finding his groove with the team on the court. Still, he’s been an upgrade for the Rockets’ bench.

Harden knew he would be, so he did his part to make sure it happened.

Take a look back at just how great Shaq was with the Lakers (VIDEO)

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Shaquille O’Neal was as dominant a force as the NBA has ever seen.

His peak years came with the Lakers, when paired with Kobe Bryant one the court — and Phil Jackson manipulating both of them — they won three titles (and arguably would have had more if they stayed together). Those Lakers teams were one of the NBA’s great teams.

Friday night, the Lakers unveil Shaq’s statue at Staples Center. Take a look back at some of Shaq’s Lakers highlights.