Both sides are desperate to move on, but naturally, fans and the media won’t let the storyline die. Dwight Howard will play against the Los Angeles Lakers tonight for the first time since choosing Houston over Hollywood. The big fella says the nationally-televised showdown shouldn’t be considered a reunion of any kind. Per USA Today: “It’s not a reunion game,’ Howard said. ‘What’s the reunion? I think people are making a big deal out of the whole situation. Yeah, I left the Lakers. Ok, I did what I had to do. This is my decision, and for me it’s another game. Half the guys on the team weren’t on the team last year anyway, so it’s really not like a reunion.’ [...] ‘It’s time for everybody to get over it,’ Howard continued. ‘It happened. It’s in the past. I’ve gotten over it. It didn’t work out (with the Lakers last season). The timing was off. It just wasn’t (there). Everybody was injured. People can say that I ran from the situation, that I couldn’t handle the pressure. But I think there’s more pressure coming here to win than there was in L.A., because I left the Lakers to come play for somebody else. So I’m supposed to feel like there’s more pressure to win now, because everybody is like, ‘He left the Lakers; can he win?’ And I’m like, ‘I’m happy. I’m going to win regardless.’ I think people just need to let it go, and if they don’t, then that’s on them. I’ve let it go. It’s in the past.’ Besides, there’s no sense in worrying about the past when his present is going so well. It’s a wonder anyone still questions Howard’s decision considering the chasm that his choice created between the two teams’ fortunes. The Rockets enter the non-reunion game with a 4-1 record, a locker room full of love for their new big man and a future that looks so incredibly bright with Howard, James Harden and company. The 2-3 Lakers, meanwhile,would have been hard-pressed to win even if Howard hadn’t left the team (and the extra $30 million he could have had to stay on the same team). Kobe Bryant remains out as he recovers from his Achilles tendon tear in April, meaning the potential face-off of former teammates who clearly never clicked likely won’t happen until their second Houston meeting on Jan. 8 or the first Staples Center matchup Feb. 19. And for the record, as Howard made clear, they haven’t spoken since he made his decision.”