Playing against the Lakers in LA for the first time Wednesday night since turning down a five-year, $118 million deal last summer to sign with Houston for $88 million (over four years), Rockets All-Star center Dwight Howard knows the crowd will not be on his side at all. Howard has no regrets about his choice to move to H-Town. Per the LA Times:

“I’m going to get a lot of boos,” Howard said Tuesday after the Rockets practiced at UCLA. “I know I’m going to hear it the whole game — ‘Coward,’ whatever. There’s not anything I can do about it. Just go out there and play.

“Thank God, this year I’ve been through it a lot in every city. There’s Lakers fans everywhere. So I think I’m a little bit prepared for it.”

Howard’s stats have improved this season since joining Houston.

He’s averaging 18.8 points and 12.5 rebounds while shooting 58.1%, increases from 17.1 points, 12.4 rebounds and 57.8% last season with the Lakers. His free-throw shooting improved to 54.6% after only 49.2% last season.

Howard was slowed last season by back pain and a shoulder injury. He says he feels “more explosive” these days.

“A lot of things that [fans] were accustomed to me doing, I couldn’t do them,” he said. “I think people were upset about that.”

Howard said he made the right choice to sign with Houston.

“No doubt,” he said. “I did what was best for me and at the end of the day, that’s the only thing that matters. I have no regrets.

“I wasn’t afraid of any bright lights or any pressure. I just felt like Houston was the best place for me.”