In 21 minutes of uninspired work, the physically gifted big man finished with seven points, eight rebounds, one assist, five turnovers and 3-of-9 shooting from the charity strip before being ejected. Prior to entering the tunnel, he could be seen yelling at Laker GM Mitch Kupchak.
Instead, Sunday night should have served as a tipping point. One in which the city of Los Angeles woke up to realize that Dwight Howard isn't worth a max contract, much less the billing of being the face of its franchise.
In his postgame conference, Howard was quoted as saying that he needed a couple of weeks to clear his head (don't laugh) before he could comment about his plans for next season, closing with the words, "I deserve that."
Fair enough. Here is what he doesn't deserve, however.
He doesn't deserve the right to decide the course of such a storied franchise with his ineptitude.
Of all the uncertainty facing the Los Angeles Lakers this summer, there is one thing they absolutely know beyond the shadow of a doubt.
Dwight Howard is a child. And do you know what children love doing more than anything else? They love to play games.
If Dwight really wanted to re-sign, he would have let it be known by now, especially when it's with an organization that can pay him the most money and has always been committed to winning.
Well, get ready for the sequel LA, because he's about to do the exact same thing with you.
With the franchise currently in shambles and coming off a season he was kind enough to classify as a "nightmare," we should all know by now that Dwight is always at his most dangerous when he is talking out of both sides of his mouth.
Why bother giving him the opportunity, though?
For all the pain and heartache that Laker Nation had to suffer through this season, none of you should have to deal with the anxiety of potentially being jilted at the altar by a guy who has never been able to commit to anything in his life.
Consider it a blessing that Dwight is a free agent and any further dealings with him are strictly voluntary from this point forward.
Now is the time to take a stand.
If you have any doubt about whether this is the right course of action, think about the fact that Kobe Bryant, soon to be 35 years old, will spend the better part of the calendar year busting his butt so he can return at full strength to make another run at a championship.
At the end of the day, franchises are built around talented players who live to play basketball.
Dwight Howard is just a guy who plays basketball to live.
That's why his offense still sucks. That's why he clowns around with the press even when his team is struggling to keep its head above water.
And that's why he got ejected Sunday night, removing his association from the team's season-ending humiliating loss like it was a crime scene.
If this was poker, don't think for a second that wasn't a foreshadowing tell.
So why bother going on all in with a guy whose career and character has been a bluff in itself?
It's time to let this clown just walk away.
Better yet, make a real statement and walk away from him