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Dwight's domineering displays only figure to make the game that much easier for his teammates, the majority of whom are stuck on the wrong side of 30. As he showed on Sunday night, Dwight can erase the mistakes made by the aging legs and gambling hands of Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Metta World Peace on the perimeter while also holding his own man to man.
ESPN's J.A. Adande also pointed out rather astutely that the Lakers' porous transition defense should improve by virtue of having Howard on the floor.
Not that the Lakers can count on Dwight to sprint back and contest every time the ball leaks out. Rather, the opposition won't be able to push the pace so readily if the Lakers drop the ball through the hoop as easily or as accurately as they did with their shiny new center on the floor. Nor will the Lakers be concerned about giving up opportunities in transition if teams feel the need to send Dwight to the free-throw line so frequently, even if he doesn't always convert.
The results are already rather astounding. After surrendering an average of 27 fast-break points over their previous three games, the Lakers limited the Kings to just 11 such points on Sunday with Dwight Howard on hand.
Dwight's impact wasn't lost on the offense either. Time and again, defenders were afraid to leave Howard's hip and, if anything, were more prone to glomming onto the big man in the paint.
The formula was laid plain during L.A.'s opening possession: The ball goes to Dwight, the defense flocks to him, Howard kicks the ball out to Kobe Bryant, and the Black Mamba swishes home an uncontested three-pointer.
From then on, Dwight was as much a decoy on the offensive end as anything. Even Metta World Peace wound up with a wide-open baseline drive for a layup on account of Dwight's magnetism.
As Steve Nash, another of the Lakers' new weapons, said after the game:
He made the game easier for everyone. He's such a presence and takes up so much space when he just rolls to the basket. So, it's a gift to play with someone like that.