This is what Los Angeles Lakers superstar Dwight Howard was supposed to be all along.
Maybe the three games he missed finally gave him an excuse to rest his ailing back. He hasn’t been nearly as explosive as NBA fans have grown accustomed to seeing him, but he’s been effective. Unfortunately for the 2012-13 Lakers, they need Dwight Howard. The vintage version.
Howard looked every bit to be that player and more as he put together a monstrous stat line of 31 points, 16 rebounds and four blocked shots in 40 minutes of action. He went into the game with question marks around his and his team’s ability to stop young perimeter players, and answered the call in a big way as neither Monta Ellis nor Brandon Jennings were able to get comfortable going to the cup.
When Howard wasn’t blocking shots, he was changing them while being as active as ever.
As the Lakers fight for their playoff lives, this is who they need Howard to be on a nightly basis. Whether or not he can actually bring it consistently is less of a question mark than his health. It seems to be clear that there was something holding him back, and for one night, it was gone.
Hopefully, it’s a trend, not a mirage, and a sign that he’s finally the healthy, engaged version of D-12 the Lakers traded for in the offseason. Perhaps, he’ll even stick around for a Hollywood encore if they can turn things around.
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