Dwight Howard

Phil Jackson has texted Dwight Howard about back issues


Relationships in the Lakers world are more like that of a Scottish clan than a traditional business. Around the Buss family there are rivalries, alliances and marriages (or pending ones, anyway) with all kinds of power implications. There are not a lot of clear lines of demarcation.

Out of that morass everyone deals with everyone. So it shouldn’t be shocking that Phil Jackson — the coach Jim Buss passed over as coach and the guy engaged to Jeanie Buss — is texting Lakers star Dwight Howard.

Howard said as much before the Thunder thumped the Lakers. Howard told Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com that Jackson has texted him on back issues (via Sulia).

“I’ve had people really just help me out,” Howard said. “Guys like Phil [Jackson], he texts me and he understands how it is to come off back surgery. He just said it takes a full year to recover, so you can’t beat yourself up over the things that have happened this year.”

Howard doesn’t need to beat himself up, Lakers fans will do that for him.

Jackson also is right, which goes back to the debate about whether Howard should have rushed back at the start of the season or sat out for a few months and come back more ready for the rigors of the NBA grind. But that ship has sailed. The Lakers are where they are now.

The only way Howard improves his reputation damaged from the Dwightmare in Orlando followed by this season is to help get Kobe Bryant what he wants — a ring. Winning is the balm. That’s not happening this year, but like Jackson said his back should be healthy next year. And then we’ll see what kind of Lakers team they have assembled (and yes, I think Howard re-signs).

Looks like Donovan to keep Andre Roberson, Steven Adams as starters

Los Angeles Clippers v Oklahoma City Thunder
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Billy Donovan was given the head coaching job in Oklahoma City to bring their offense into modern times — and it seems to be working, Russell Westbrook said he feels a lot more space in the system.

But if the Thunder are going to contend for a title, they need a top 10 defense as well — and to do that Donovan is going to keep a Scott Brooks move and continue to start  Andre Roberson and Steven Adams. Check out the starting lineup for their first preseason game Wednesday.

There also was this report via Anthony Slater in the Oklahoman yesterday about a scrimmage at practice.

Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson all started for the White team. Nick Collison joined them, but that was only because Steven Adams sat out with back soreness….

Donovan said the teams weren’t split by accident. That’s how they’ve been divided in practice. So at this point, it seems Roberson is this team’s starting shooting guard and Adams is the team’s starting center.

This is the smart move. Last season the lineup of Westbrook, Roberson, Durant, Ibaka and Adams was +13.4 points per 100 possessions over their opponents. Roberson and Adams are there for defense — neither brings much offensive game to the floor, but when you have Westbrook and Durant and only one ball between them, you don’t need more offensive threats. You’re going to get plenty of points.

If they can just stay healthy, Oklahoma City is a team to be feared.

Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88

Harry Gallatin
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The Hall of Fame player behind the original iron man streak is with us no more.

Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88, the team confirmed Wednesday.

Gallatin led the Knicks of the late 1940s and into the 1950s, when he set a then record playing in 610 consecutive games. Nicknamed “The Horse,” he was a beast on the boards who averaged 15.3 rebounds a game one season and averaged 11.9 boards and 13 points per game over the course of his 10-year career. He’s still fourth all time in total rebounds in Knicks franchise history.

Gallatin was a seven-time All-Star and twice All-NBA selection. After his playing days, he spent many years as the athletic director at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends.