Dwight Howard Remains Optimistic Despite the Lakers’ Struggles

by December 10, 2012

The Utah Jazz handed the Los Angeles Lakers their latest humiliating loss last night, exposing their terrible defense in the process. Dwight Howard, who has repeatedly voiced his displeasure at his teammates’ inability to help him out defensively — maintains an air of positivity. From the LA Times: “At this point, what is there left to say? The Lakers are losing at home and on the road with the same regularity, a 117-110 defeat against the Utah Jazz on Sunday night at Staples Center the latest in a season full of them. A team that began the season with NBA Finals-or-bust aspirations has perfected the second part of that equation, falling to three games below .500 for the second time. The last time it happened, after a previous loss to Utah, the Lakers fired their coach. Mike D’Antoni is (presumably) safe for now, though not much has changed over the last month. Kobe Bryant is still scoring at a high rate, the guard getting 34 points on nine-for-24 shooting. Not that it’s making any difference for the Lakers on the other end of the court. The Jazz dominated the Lakers both inside — outscoring them, 54-34, in the paint — and in transition, posting a 19-4 advantage in fastbreak points. ‘We just have to do a better job defensively,’ Bryant said. ‘Offensively, we’re OK.’ […] Dwight Howard seemed visibly frustrated, his teammates repeatedly failing to rotate properly on defense. ‘He should be,’ Bryant said. ‘He’s covering a lot of ground for guys.’ Said Howard: ‘I’ve just got to continue to play. I’ve just got to make sure I don’t show my frustration that much and just continue to play.’ […] ‘I just don’t think we have a gut-checking moment yet,’ Mike D’Antoni said. ‘At some point, we’re going have to draw a line in the sand and that’s it, you’ve got to fight … Somehow, we’ve got to play tougher.’ […] ‘This is a time where a lot of teams might fold or might break up and stop trusting each other,’ Howard said, ‘but for us to win a championship we have to stay focused and stay together. It’s a long process and a long season and if we do that we’ll be playing better come June.'”