Dwight Howard: Breaking Down Preseason Debut of Lakers' Star Center

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Dwight Howard: Breaking Down Preseason Debut of Lakers' Star Center
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The long-anticipated debut of Dwight Howard finally materialized on Sunday night in Los Angeles, as the Staples Center was rocking for the team's game against the Sacramento Kings.

The Lakers lost 99-92, as Kobe Bryant led the way with 21 points. New point guard Steve Nash couldn't get into much of a rhythm, and the Kings managed to spoil the first time Howard ever put on Lakers purple and gold.

It was clear from the start that this wasn't a normal preseason debut.

Joking around and laughing in the tunnel, Howard brings a life to the team that wasn't there over the past two seasons of disappointment.

He also brings a defensive presence and offensive awareness that makes it conceivable to see this Lakers team as a title contender.

Here's a look at his first entrance on the court, per our own Bleacher Report Twitter account.

Showing no ill effects from offseason back surgery, Howard was able to play 33 minutes on the night. Los Angeles clearly wanted to make a statement in this game, and left its starting five out on the court to close the game out against the Kings.

Here's Howard's line:

33 Minutes, 19 points, 12 rebounds, 8-for-12 shooting, 3-for-8 FT, 4 fouls, 5 turnovers and 4 blocks.

Never without the big play, Howard managed to make some fireworks happen with an alley-oop from Kobe Bryant, one of many the fan faithfuls hope to see this season.

Overall, being healthy and active for this game has to keep fans and the coaching staff happy. Although the team lost in the closing minutes, preseason is a time to come together and fix mistakes, not win games.

As the Lakers prepare for their season opener against the Dallas Mavericks in less than 10 days, Howard appears poised to reclaim his position on the court for his new team. When he and the rest of this team clicks for the first time, it's going to be fun to watch.

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