After the embarrassing loss in Boston, (you win THIS round Cameron Heffernan!) the Lakers are 4 games under .500 and the continuing misadventures of Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant only fuel the media fire while the Lakers struggle to make it to the playoffs.
It’s been a tough week for Lakers fans. Pau Gasol, who was playing some of the best basketball he’s played since he came to Los Angeles to win 2 rings, is out of the lineup for 6-8 weeks due to his foot injury. Dwight Howard is having trouble getting back to playing like his Orlando self amidst his shoulder and back problems. And Kobe Bryant had zero, count nothing, zero assists against Boston. Go figure. You change Dwight Howard to Andrew Bynum and it sounds like the same ol’ Lakers from the shortened 2011-2012 season. The Lakers are in a bad place any way you slice it. (Frequent readers may be quick to say “you realized this now?”) Don’t get me wrong, they’ve been fighting an uphill battle since the 0-8 preseason. But with one of the Lakers’ main stars out for at least a month and a half and a defensive center who just doesn’t want to win, the Lakers really look like it might be over.
Holy shit, did Sam Accardo, the optimist amongst optimists for this season say it’s over? Yes. Yes he did.
The key to this season (and the last one for that matter) has been the Center position. The Lakers can’t win with terrible defense (can any team?), and for some reason, when they don’t have a good center clogging up the lane, it’s so open you could set up 10 pins and start bowling. So why doesn’t Howard realize he has the key to the castle? So what if he doesn’t put up 15-20 shots a night. He’s still the reason they win games. That Phoenix loss that no one wants to remember in LA is due in large part to Howard exiting the game due to that damn shoulder injury. If Howard was clogging up that lane, I still believe they would have won that game. But if Howard keeps playing like he did last night in Boston, then I don’t care where he goes after this off season. I’m tired of having 2 seasons in a row of centers who can’t play with Kobe. I mean, what more does he need to do? He had multiple nights of double-digit assists. I saw Kobe even try to get the ball into Howard last night. But it didn’t work and Howard finished with a mediocre 9 points and 9 rebounds. And the rest of the defense just sat there as Boston put on a shooting clinic the whole night.
I’m at a loss for why it’s so hard for the Lakers to just play defense. But it seems to start with Howard, and a fish rots from the head down.
Dwight Howard… this goes out directly to you man. Kobe needs you. He won’t say it just like that, but he does, and he knows it. But he needs the real you. The Dwight Howard that gets a double-double night in and night out. The Dwight Howard that crashes through the lane no matter if it’s open or not. The Dwight Howard that commands the dunk. The Dwight Howard that blocks shots in the paint and alters everything else. I don’t know why it’s been so hard for you. I won’t pretend I have an idea. I don’t think playing for the Lakers franchise is even a good enough reason to want to win. But why don’t YOU want to win? You’ve got the keys to the castle my friend, and I want you to be the king. You just have to wait until Bryant is ready to pass the crown. He’s just making sure the crown is going to the rightful heir. Prove it to him, to the Lakers, and every doubter out there.
Sam Accardo is a writer for Hefferbrew. He hardly agrees with a lot of the media hype around Kobe and Dwight. He just believes what he sees on the floor, and what he saw last night wasn’t good. Check back for more Utterly Fascinating news and updates on the Lakers and everything else sports and sports entertainment here at the @Hefferbrew. We’re on Facebook too!