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Wednesday, April 17th, 2013 at 11:40 am  |  25 responses

Dwight Howard Feels No Pressure With Playoff Seed on the Line


If the Los Angeles Lakers win tonight’s season finale against the visiting Houston Rockets, they’ll guarantee themselves a Playoff spot. Should they lose — and especially, if the Utah Jazz beat the Memphis Grizzlies — they could be going home. According to Dwight Howard, there’s no need to feel any pressure despite this being such a huge game. Per the LA Times: “The Lakers’ season all comes down to Wednesday. By the end of the night, they will either have secured the seventh or eighth seed in the playoffs, or they will have been eliminated. Without Kobe Bryant on the court, Dwight Howard knows that the team will be looking to him for leadership. ‘There’s no pressure,’ Howard said. ‘We understand the importance of the game but we just need to go play and be free. We don’t need to put pressure on ourselves. Just go have fun and win the game.’ Howard will need to shoulder a lot of the load on his already sore back. He acknowledged that recently there have been good days, and there have been some bad ones. [...] Howard said that, all things considered, he thinks he’s had a strong season. ‘I will say that I don’t think a lot of people really understand the severity of a back injury and the fact that I came back and the fact that I look like I’m 100%,’ he said. ‘The back surgery is probably the worst surgery that you can have as a basketball player and for me to come back and play the way I’ve been playing is a blessing and people wouldn’t understand that from the outside looking in. But for me not being able to walk, then getting on the walker, then learning how to do all of that stuff again — to now, I think its a blessing and it’s all about hard work. Everything that I did up until this point is hard work.’ [...] The Lakers center acknowledged that he has learned a lot from Bryant this season, including the need to always stay focused on the immediate task at hand. He demonstrated that skill at Tuesday’s practice when asked if Wednesday could potentially be his last game as a Laker. ‘Wow. OK, that’s a trick question,’ he said. ‘Listen, tomorrow is the last regular-season game for us and then we go into the playoffs.’ Howard added that he has the utmost confidence in his team. ‘We believe that we can do something special,’ Howard said. ‘If we get into the playoffs, we don’t fear anybody.’”

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    we’ll see when he’s at the free throw line

  • yourdribbleizcookiez

    If the Lakers lose and are eliminated from playoff contention, then they would be in the same boat as the Orlando Magic for all their efforts, minus the Lottery pick. Good luck in Brooklyn next year Dwight

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.chester.982 Brian Chester

    Go Lakers!

  • Caboose

    I’m expecting a free throw like post-Monstarred Patrick Ewing tonight…

  • MUBWAR

    damn, i was about to type that!

  • bike

    Here is to hoping they win without any NBA/Stern ‘the game was rigged so LA can get in the playoffs’ conspiracy theories.

  • Max

    It’s not like he will miss from the nerves, it’s just that he sucks at shooting free throws.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1456246234 Ian Anderson

    I hope that they shock the world!!!!!

  • roscoe

    dh12 feels “no pressure”

    that’s surprising considering his summer is probably alrdy bookd w/ plankng & havng fun.

    HOU can ruin LAL summer and don’t think jHarden would not love to make MWP suffer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    maybe he sucks at shooting free throws because of the nerves

  • Max

    Really?
    Do you really think, that this season’s Dwight, who didn’t give a sh*t about anything had any nerves when he was shooting freethrows?
    It is a mental problem, but not because of nerves I think.

  • LLC#12

    http://thehoopdoctors.com/online2/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/lakersfts1.jpg

    I dont know if you’ve seen this, and I know free throws in games are different to practices, but, still interesting to look at.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    what other mental problem could it be other than nerves?

  • Max

    He’s doubting himself, which leads to him not having any confidence that his freethrows will go in.
    Confidence in your shot is the most important thing a shooter can have.
    Look at Gerald Wallace, never been a great shooter, but now he’s really bad, all because he doesn’t have confidence that the ball is gonna go in.

  • Max

    The disparity can be explained by him not being as fatigued and especially muscle memory, if you shoot alot of freethrows, and you keep standing at the line, you’re muscles will build up memory and remember how to do the same mechanic over and over again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    He could very well be doubting himself because of nerves. All I’m saying is that mental issues just like physical ones can be caused by a multitude of things. If you have a sore back, it could be because your abs are weak, or bad posture, or because of the way you’ve been walking since you broke your toe.
    If he is lacking confidence in his shot, don’t you think that has something to do with the way he is mentally reacting to fans/pressure? Just because he is always joking around doesn’t mean he has nerves of steel. That’s how he copes with it.

  • http://twitter.com/AjpDos Allen Powell

    So everyone sucks but Kobe?

  • bike

    Or maybe he just sucks at shooting free throws. The big guys often do.

  • http://www.rich-imaging.com/ Dutch Rich

    Why Brooklyn has to be the proverbial Church’s doorstep?

  • Max

    Fair enough, but if he misses free throws because of the pressure of maybe not making the playoffs he should shoot a lower percentage than his season average. If he does that, You were right.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    haha yes! even though that’s a hell of a small sample size, we shall ssee!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    you don’t just suck at shooting free throws because. There has to be a reason.

  • Tupac

    Hes going to blow it.On the line,down by 2,misses 1,makes 1.

  • Max

    40% Goddangit!

  • roscoe

    that is really interesting. thx for the post.

    interesting to see dh12 practice %

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