Dwight Howard Not Worried About Lakers Struggles: We'll Be Ready for the Playoffs

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIDecember 23, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (39) confers with a referee during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

The 16-16 Los Angeles Lakers have lost three straight games entering Thursday's matchup with the San Antonio Spurs, but center Dwight Howard is taking the long view amid the team's struggles.

"It's not about how you start; it's how you finish!" Howard told TMZ Sports at his OxeFit after-party in Los Angeles.

The Lakers have not started well, although injuries to LeBron James and Anthony Davis have hindered the team's progress.

They've also been without Kendrick Nunn (knee) all season and Trevor Ariza (ankle, health and safety protocols) for all but two games.

Still, the Lakers are just 26th in offensive efficiency, per Basketball-Reference, and there's plenty of room for improvement on that end regardless of whom is on the court.

L.A. is only 32 games deep into an 82-game regular season, though, and Howard is confident the team will be good when it matters the most.

"We good, man. It's early," Howard said. "We gonna be ready by the time the playoffs start. That's when we start dominating."

The Lakers also have a nearly brand-new roster from last year, with the only holdovers being James, Davis and Talen Horton-Tucker. Naturally, it's taking time for the team to form chemistry, especially with the group being short-handed all year.

"This is a brand-new team than it was in 2020. All of us are really trying to learn how to play together and get our games going," Howard noted.

The Lakers close the calendar year with five games beginning with the Spurs matchup. They'll also play in the Christmas Day prime-time game when they host the Brooklyn Nets at 8 p.m. ET in Crypto.com Arena's debut.