Dwight Howard’s final game as a Laker was ugly.
San Antonio early on in its series against the Lakers took to the strategy of fouling Howard hard every time he went up for a shot. San Antonio fronted him in the post, was physical in taking away his position on the block, they collapsed on him (which they could do because there were no healthy Lakers guards to really fear), then finally when Howard would get the ball and start to make a move the Spurs would just foul him. Hard. Howard put up decent numbers through the series — 17 points per game on 61 percent shooting with 10.8 rebounds a contest — but he wasn’t the dominant force the shorthanded Lakers needed against the Spurs, either.
He got frustrated early in the second half of Game 4, pickup up his second technical, and got ejected. He watched the end of the Lakers season from the locker room.
Late Sunday night/Monday morning, Howard took to twitter to apologize to Lakers fans.
That last line sounds like a guy whose preference is to return to Los Angeles next season. Howard is a free agent and will talk to teams besides the Lakers, but throughout the season the strongest indications from him and his camp were always that he wanted to return. And Lakers management has been clear they want him back and will offer him a max contract.
There is a lot of dance to go with Howard this summer, but the smart bet is he is back in Lakers Forum blue and gold next season.
During the 2014-15 season, Rockets star James Harden said the Warriors “ain’t even that good.”
Golden State went on to reach the last three NBA Finals, twice beating Houston in the playoffs, and win two championships.
The Rockets have since re-tooled around Harden, Chris Paul and several quality role players and are in first place. Houston looks like the biggest threat to the Warriors in the Western Conference.
Rockets center Clint Capela on the Warriors, via Dave Schilling of Bleacher Report:
“I expect to beat them,” Capela says.
That’s a fine sentiment. Saying it publicly is another matter. Not even Harden did that a couple years ago. He was recorded during a pregame team huddle.
There’s a fine line between self-fulfilling confidence and providing bulletin-board material to the opponent. There’s already some animosity between the teams stemming from the Stephen Curry-Harden MVP race in 2015, and it has bubbled since. No matter how harmless Capela’s remark might have been intended to be, it’ll be met contentiously in the Bay Area.
Oklahoma City traded for Victor Oladipo out of Orlando to be their third scorer, behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. It didn’t exactly work out that way, Durant bolted town and when Westbrook went off Oladipo was looking for a place to fit in.
That place turned out to be the Pacers.
Oladipo has been playing like an All-Star this season with Indiana, and last week he was key in snapping Cleveland’s 13 game win streak, then turned around and dropped 47 points on Denver. For the week he averaged 35.7 points a game, shot 45.7 percent from three, plus grabbed 7.7 rebounds per game.
That will get you named the PBT Extra Player of the Week.
Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.
Pacers fans delivered.
They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.
Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.
The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.
“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”
Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.