Dwight Howard rebounded in his second appearance as a Los Angeles Laker with 33 points and 14 rebounds, as L.A. lost its second consecutive game to begin the 2012-13 season.
Despite the good performance by their newest star, there’s something wrong with the chemistry on the court for the new-look Lakers. On paper, they should be winning and have every ability to do it, but it’s just not translating onto the court right now.
First off, the team isn’t playing help defense. But, wait, isn’t this about centering the offense on Howard? I’ll get there, stay with me for a second.
Los Angeles gave up more than 30 points in three quarters at the Rose Garden on Wednesday night. For a team with a defensive-minded coach like Mike Brown, that’s simply unacceptable.
What’s gone wrong?
It’s an issue of chemistry, undoubtedly, and knowing where each player will be on defense. It’s an issue of knowing when to help and when your teammate can handle his man. That will come with time, and it’ll eventually lessen the strain on the offense in the process.
Still, when the Lakers do have the ball, they need to continue to increasingly involve Howard in their offensive sets. Feeding Howard more down low will open things up on the perimeter for Metta World Peace and Kobe Bryant.
That’ll also help minimize the rash of turnovers that have limited the team’s offense through the first two games of the season.
Despite the quick-strike focus of the Princeton offense, the Lakers should slow things down a bit by centering things more on Howard, at least until they can get into a better groove together.
Howard has shown he has the ability to knock down free throws after question marks arose from a miserable 3-of-14 performance against the Dallas Mavericks.
So, while it may seem simple, it’s crucial the Lakers give him the ball and feed off his ability to draw double-teams and get to the line. It will slow down the game, taking some of the pressure off the team’s defense as it continues to develop into a cohesive unit.
The scariest part about D12’s game is that he isn’t even playing at 100 percent. Once he’s up to snuff and the team starts to gel, look out for this Lakers team.
It isn’t as bad as everyone thinks, and there’s nothing but positives ahead as long as Big Dwight is getting the ball in the post.