Woj....On Dwight's 1st Game as a Laker

Woj....On Dwight's 1st Game as a Laker

Postby LTLakerFan on Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:31 am

This is in the Dwight thread too but really deserves its own thread as Dwight Howard is on the floor amazingly as a Los Angeles Laker at last.


Dwight Howard's Lakers debut begins with honest intro from Kobe Bryant


LOS ANGELES – The noise had grown louder and louder now, tumbling out of the rafters of the Staples Center, tumbling out of the championship banners and retired jerseys, tumbling out of the cheap seats and down to the beautiful people. Out of the darkness of the pregame introductions, out of the darkness of back surgery and rehabilitation and a long, twisting and sometimes self-sabotaging journey to these Los Angeles Lakers for Dwight Howard, these cheers were the sweetest sound he had heard in a long, long time.

As the bright lights of the Hollywood stage enveloped Howard in the embrace of a deafening din, the strangest thing happened to the planet's most dominant, most indomitable force: The moment moved him to tears.
"Emotional," Howard would say outside his locker Sunday night. "A very humbling experience."

On the occasion of his preseason Lakers debut, perhaps his truest and most important introduction to this most scrutinized job in sports – center for the Los Angeles Lakers – had come after the tears and ovation and his teammates pranking him by pushing Howard to lead them out of the tunnel – only to stop and let him run out there alone. For one, Kobe Bryant doesn't do basketball laugh tracks, nor condone them.
"I don't play those games," he grumbled later.

Between the big noise and a big performance of 19 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks from Howard, Bryant met his new center on the way to the opening jump, clenched the hands of the man brought to Los Angeles to help him win more championships and belted out a most unmistakable mandate: "Let's play some [expletive] ball."

Let's play some mother-bleeping ball, the perfect mantra for this staggering starting five that marched together to the floor for the first time. Howard. Bryant. Steve Nash. Pau Gasol. Metta World Peace. If the public was impressed with Howard's performance in his first game since back surgery ended his Orlando Magic career in March, the Lakers were far less so, because they had been witnessing the old Howard for some time now in training-camp practices.

Dwight Howard had 19 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks in his Lakers' debut. (Getty Images)
No one stressed a 99-92 preseason loss to the Sacramento Kings – even with coach Mike Brown thrusting all the starters back onto the floor in the final minutes – because 22 turnovers told them they're still missing reads on the Princeton offense, still trying too hard to defer to the magnificent talent surrounding them.

At different times, to different degrees, Nash would say, all five of the Lakers starters have been the dominant offensive player on NBA teams. The challenge is "trying to fit in with each other, while at the same time exploit your talent. …At times we press, and at times we misread each other."

From the moment the Lakers made the trade for Howard in August, Bryant had insisted this offense would go through him, and he tried so hard to deliver that message on Sunday night. All of them did. Over and over, the Lakers played pick-and-roll with Howard, tossed him lob dunks – some thunderously finished, some sloppily missed – and everyone could live with the loss, because they understood that Howard needed to get Sunday out of the way.

Howard had to play those 33 minutes, and get up again after everyone gasped at the thud of DeMarcus Cousins slamming him onto his back. "I'm going to have some tough falls, because I play hard, and I like to block all the shots," Howard said.

These Lakers don't wonder defensively about Howard, because they already see the way he's going to change everything for them there. Yet Bryant has gone out of his way to push Howard to become a far more complete offensive player, to, in his words, "challenge him to do more than just screen-and-roll and dunk. We want opposing teams to see him as a dominant force."

For so many reasons, Bryant hated the hijinks some of his teammates unleashed on Howard before the game. Bryant has gone out of his way to make sure Howard understands the glare of playing for the Lakers is unrelenting and unyielding. For all the talent surrounding Howard – all the offensive talent that he never had in Orlando – he doesn't want Howard falling into any false security that somehow he doesn't have to grow his game, that somehow he can rely on what's always worked in the past.

There won't be too many Lakers nights like this for Howard, where no one much minded the final score. It matters here, the way it matters in few other sporting places. This was a night of ovations and cheers and welcoming warmth for Howard, but it won't last long for him. At times, Howard had been prickly over his treatment in Orlando – over the media, over the smallest of slights real and perceived – and some around him still believe he has no idea how easy he had it there. These are the Lakers, and everything's different now. From Chamberlain to Abdul-Jabbar, O'Neal to Bynum, this is where centers are demanded to deliver multiple championships.

Kobe Bryant has made clear he wants Howard to expand his offensive game. (AP)
The beautiful basketball minds of Bryant and Nash and Gasol have been taking inventory on the way Howard opens everything for them, the way he makes the game so easy. When Howard's preseason debut was over, the emotion and nerves and natural uncertainty made for a blurring evening.
"I even forgot some of my pregame rituals," Howard said. "I'll get it back."
Yes, he'll get it all back again, but the Lakers want more out of him, more than he had been with the Magic. And perhaps that's the blessing and curse of coming to a franchise where the standards are so staggering, where such gifted teammates come with conditions.
As Howard passed Bryant's locker on the way to the showers on Sunday night, the Lakers captain bumped his fist and asked Howard: "How did it feel bro?"
"Good," Howard nodded. "Good."
The tears were long gone now, and Dwight Howard's eyes could see clearly: Orlando was gone, and the bright lights of the big city finally belonged to him. On Howard's way to the floor for the first time in a Lakers uniform, Bryant had told him to let's play some mother-bleeping ball, and that wasn't so much of a request, as it was a demand.
For all the magnificent noise tumbling down out of the rafters on Sunday night, that one voice – and those five words – was the truest, most honest welcome Dwight Howard will ever get with these Los Angeles Lakers.

Adrian Wojnarowski

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/nba--dwigh ... 82109.html
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Re: Woj....On Dwight's 1st Game as a Laker

Postby charvin on Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:48 am

Perfect mentality. Do not fall into the trap like Shaq did and loaf through the years. Work on your game, stay fit, and continue to better yourself and dominate the league.

"For so many reasons, Bryant hated the hijinks some of his teammates unleashed on Howard before the game. Bryant has gone out of his way to make sure Howard understands the glare of playing for the Lakers is unrelenting and unyielding. For all the talent surrounding Howard – all the offensive talent that he never had in Orlando – he doesn't want Howard falling into any false security that somehow he doesn't have to grow his game, that somehow he can rely on what's always worked in the past."
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Re: Woj....On Dwight's 1st Game as a Laker

Postby therealdeal on Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:58 am

In light of how exciting these moments are, I'll let this one pass.

Fantastic read by Woj and he's got a great point: these moments are few and they'll be gone soon. If this team doesn't start winning Howard is going to be facing a media storm he's just never seen before. It's time to put up after all the anticipation of the season.

Last night was a great first step, but there's a long way to go.
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Re: Woj....On Dwight's 1st Game as a Laker

Postby LTLakerFan on Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:37 am

I hope this guy is a smart jumper. Not like D. Wade and reckless early in his career.....for obvious reasons. I think he is really into taking his skill sets to a much higher level. They marvel at his footwork and as has been mentioned a number of times he is in a mecca of those types of skills. Between his teammates, his coaches and hopefully Kareem. That across the key to his left graceful hook last night was beautiful. Hell of a game 1st game back after 6 months and what he went through.
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Re: Woj....On Dwight's 1st Game as a Laker

Postby V.V.V.V.V. on Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:49 am

LTLakerFan wrote:I hope this guy is a smart jumper. Not like D. Wade and reckless early in his career.....for obvious reasons. I think he is really into taking his skill sets to a much higher level. They marvel at his footwork and as has been mentioned a number of times he is in a mecca of those types of skills. Between his teammates, his coaches and hopefully Kareem. That across the key to his left graceful hook last night was beautiful. Hell of a game 1st game back after 6 months and what he went through.


I loved that hook shot too. I had no idea he had that kind o f touch near the basket.

Also, I realized I haven't seen him in play too many times, outside of the 09 finals. He really brings it all game, and I mean *hustle*. The guy goes after everything down low, and always out jumps everyone in the paint. His presence is a game-changer, just like Kob. Those guys are going to feed off each other's energy every game.
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Re: Woj....On Dwight's 1st Game as a Laker

Postby John3:16 on Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:02 pm

Great read by Woj, as usual™
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Re: Woj....On Dwight's 1st Game as a Laker

Postby Weezy on Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:04 pm

Kobe seriously didn't like the prank they pulled on Dwight for his first game? I thought it was really funny, they don't need to be serious 100% of the time.
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Re: Woj....On Dwight's 1st Game as a Laker

Postby kray28 on Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:08 pm

Team is 0-6, and even if it is preseason, I don't think Kobe sees this as a time to loaf.

He'd be serious regardless, but he knows what's at stake. That's what makes him who is. As fans, we really should know by now how the bread gets buttered when it comes of this team.
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Re: Woj....On Dwight's 1st Game as a Laker

Postby Juronimo on Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:14 pm

Weezy wrote:Kobe seriously didn't like the prank they pulled on Dwight for his first game? I thought it was really funny, they don't need to be serious 100% of the time.


I didn't have a problem with it either. It was funny and it was a way of showing respect. Nothing wrong with having some fun.
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Re: Woj....On Dwight's 1st Game as a Laker

Postby therealdeal on Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:34 pm

John3:16 wrote:Great read by Woj, as usual™

Hey we're not going to just pretend there's no "™" here are we?
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Re: Woj....On Dwight's 1st Game as a Laker

Postby lakersyunowin on Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:37 pm

Weezy wrote:Kobe seriously didn't like the prank they pulled on Dwight for his first game? I thought it was really funny, they don't need to be serious 100% of the time.


that's kobe's role though right? bad cop of the team? someone has to constantly keep the team driven and hungry, and he's likely the most driven and hungry one there (despite 16 years and 5 chips under his belt)

i was a little thrown off by kobe's offseason transparency - on social media, out having fun and the like. almost seemed like he was winding things down. but he's back into mamba mode it would seem...and i'm okay with it in a way, because this was the first impression of the lakers starting 5 together. as the captain, i think he had to make sure that his "we're here to win a championship and nothing is funner than that" message was clear.

i dunno, i think it's better than going over to the opposite side of the spectrum, which a certain team embraced when they got together (and not even on the court).
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Re: Woj....On Dwight's 1st Game as a Laker

Postby John3:16 on Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:46 pm

therealdeal wrote:
John3:16 wrote:Great read by Woj, as usual™

Hey we're not going to just pretend there's no "™" here are we?


YELL!
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Re: Woj....On Dwight's 1st Game as a Laker

Postby therealdeal on Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:48 pm

John3:16 wrote:
therealdeal wrote:
John3:16 wrote:Great read by Woj, as usual™

Hey we're not going to just pretend there's no "™" here are we?


YELL!

Spoiler:
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Re: Woj....On Dwight's 1st Game as a Laker

Postby puffyusaf#2 on Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:55 pm

Woj is the only writer I automatically read the whole article. Pretty much everyone else, I just check the responses and roll with that. Woj is the man plain and simple.

I love Kobe trying to burn that domination desire into Howard. He is right, Orlando was happy with having a big name, getting some spotlight and some love. Making it to the Finals was good enough and all short comings were forgivable. In LA, you have to produce no matter who is on the court with you. Has Kobe ever been forgiven for not taking that William Parker team nowhere? Nope, no one gave a damn he has scrubs with him. Howard has to learn, and learn quickly, that LA isn't Orlando and the expectation is total domination of the league. Lets make it happen! I'm pumped.
For what it's worth, the Lakers also clinched the Pacific Division, an achievement Bryant dismissed by saying "We don't hang divisions." No, only the big NBA championship banners are considered wall-worthy for the Lakers.
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Re: Woj....On Dwight's 1st Game as a Laker

Postby kidhell on Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:23 pm

I took some great photos at the game last night from our seats which are 11 rows from the court... I'd post a few if someone could explain how to post photos here, I have never been able to figure it out
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Re: Woj....On Dwight's 1st Game as a Laker

Postby LTLakerFan on Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:13 pm

kidhell wrote:I took some great photos at the game last night from our seats which are 11 rows from the court... I'd post a few if someone could explain how to post photos here, I have never been able to figure it out


:man4: :man4: :man4: That didn't or doesn't suck! :jam2:
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Re: Woj....On Dwight's 1st Game as a Laker

Postby Lakerman JSJ on Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:45 pm

I can't remember an article by Woj that wasn't amazingly eloquent and just a fantastic read. If he just was the best source of legitimate NBA rumors & news, that'd be enough for me to respect the hell out of his work, but he's that AND the best writer covering basketball today.

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Re: Woj....On Dwight's 1st Game as a Laker

Postby Doc Brown on Mon Oct 22, 2012 3:29 pm

kidhell wrote:I took some great photos at the game last night from our seats which are 11 rows from the court... I'd post a few if someone could explain how to post photos here, I have never been able to figure it out


Step 1: Upload to photobucket or some website like that

Step 2: Copy image URL

Step 3: Press the IMG button, 1 box over from where you can change your font size on this website when you are posting

Step 4: Paste image URL inside IMG brackets

Step 5: Winning

Step 6: Profit
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Re: Woj....On Dwight's 1st Game as a Laker

Postby kidhell on Mon Oct 22, 2012 3:48 pm

Thanks for the instructions Doc Brown... I have a Shutterfly account... not sure if that will allow non-Shutterly people to see my photos... but let's try this out and see. Image
Image
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Re: Woj....On Dwight's 1st Game as a Laker

Postby thkthebest on Mon Oct 22, 2012 3:51 pm

kidhell wrote:Thanks for the instructions Doc Brown... I have a Shutterfly account... not sure if that will allow non-Shutterly people to see my photos... but let's try this out and see.

Image


Here you go. Basically, surround the URL with two IMG tags like this:

Code: Select all
[img]URL GOES IN HERE[/img]
My signature
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Re: Woj....On Dwight's 1st Game as a Laker

Postby kidhell on Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:23 pm

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Last edited by kidhell on Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Woj....On Dwight's 1st Game as a Laker

Postby kidhell on Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:24 pm

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Last edited by kidhell on Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Woj....On Dwight's 1st Game as a Laker

Postby kidhell on Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:25 pm

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Re: Woj....On Dwight's 1st Game as a Laker

Postby kidhell on Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:25 pm

DWIGHT'S FIRST BASKET AS A LAKER!!!
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Re: Woj....On Dwight's 1st Game as a Laker

Postby kidhell on Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:27 pm

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