Archive for the 'Dwight Howard' Category

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Quote Round Up: Saturday Practice

Here’s a transcription of interviews from Jordan Hill*, Dwight Howard, Mike Brown and Steve Nash from Saturday’s Lakers practice. The team faces the Sacramento Kings at STAPLES Center tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m.

*Click on each name to watch the video.

Q: On what he did in practice today:
Hill: I did everything – a full practice, stretched and did everything the team did. We’re still trying to watch out for the back, get my core stronger and see how it goes.

Q: On how the back feels:
Hill: It’s gotten lot better. Still trying to watch out for it, but it feels good right now. (I’ll) see what the trainer thinks, we’ll take a look at it and we’ll go from there.

Q: On if he’ll be ready for the opener:
Hill: There’s a possibility. Like I said, it’s up to the trainers – whatever they feel, however they think – but just got to keep working.

Q: On the team’s fourth preseason game:
Dwight: Everybody looked good in that last game and everybody played hard. It almost felt like a playoff game – the atmosphere was crazy in Vegas. Devin Ebanks came in and he had an excellent game. Pau (Gasol) did a great job all around. The game was pretty good. Our defense picked up, our offense picked up and I’m looking forward to the next couple games.

Q: On his excitement level to be playing soon:
Dwight: I’m very excited. I think everybody is excited just to see me play, which is a great honor. I just want to make sure I’m able to sustain everything that I do so I don’t have to play one game, sit out the next 20 (games) or something like that. I want to make sure that I’m being consistent with this team.

Q: On Steve Blake’s play in the fourth quarter last night:
Brown: Steve Blake did some nice things; he did some nice things for us yesterday. I’m looking for a guy that’s going to keep us organized out there offensively that, at times, can put some pressure on the ball full court, make them work bringing the ball up the floor and be different than what the starters are bringing to the table. The biggest thing is I’m hoping to have a backup that doesn’t turn the ball over.

Q: On what Devin Ebanks needs to do to get more playing time:
Brown: He’s got to defend and defend consistently on a high level. Offensively, he’s got to be quick but not be in a hurry. Sometimes, you have a player a little out of sorts and you can start dribbling all over the place. When that happens, it gets everybody out of sync or out of rhythm. When you’re out of rhythm or our of sync like that, it can have a ripple down effect and affect the entire second unit for a few trips down the floor. So he has to stay composed offensively and play within the system and figure out how he’s going to get his looks within the system.

Q: On what Dwight will bring to the team:
Nash: Dwight is going to bring a lot to our team. He’s going to make the game a lot easier for all of us. Hopefully I can make the game easier for him, but he’s definitely going to make the game a lot easier for me. He’s going to draw a lot of attention; his roll to the basket gives me a great target, but he also is going to draw a lot of attention and open up a lot of teammates for open shots.

Q: On how he feels about playing with Dwight soon in a game situation:
Nash: I’m happy that we can get to another stage of development for our team. We’re learning the offense without Dwight and now we get to learn with him in a game situation. It’s just breaking down these barriers that’s important for us.

Thursday Practice Report

Here’s a round up from Thursday’s Lakers practice before the team headed to Las Vegas in advance of the team’s fifth preseason game.

Jordan Hill Returns To Practice:
Jordan Hill, who was diagnosed with a herniated disc in his back after the team’s first preseason game, went through non-contact drills for the first time since getting injured.

“He did everything that was non-contact, which was good, because it was the first time in awhile that he had a chance to go out there in script,” coach Mike Brown said. “For us, the way we’re playing, he’s got to know specific routes and reads, so there’s a lot that he still needs to do to play catch up. He didn’t do anything live.”

Brown was uncertain about when Hill will return to game action, but did note that it was a positive sign the 6-foot-10 power forward was out on the floor again.

“(The trainers) haven’t given a specific timetable yet, but I know they’re taking this one step at a time,” Brown noted. “The thing that surprised me – I knew he was going to be able to do non-contact stuff today – is we did a warm-up drill where you’re required to run and get out and go a little bit. He got out and ran and they let him do it, so that was a little surprising to me, but it was good to see.”

Gasol Wants More On Defense:
Pau Gasol wants to see more improvement from his teammates on that end of the floor in the next four preseason games, and in the regular season as well.

“I want us to be solid on the defensive end,” the 7-foot Spaniard explained. “That’s what I want to see us do. I want us to be consistent every single game. I want us to stop teams and choke them. That’s what I like to see. Offensively, we have enough talent on this team to be able to score, but if we defend like we’re supposed to do and want to, it’ll be very, very hard to beat us.

Brown echoed similar sentiments, citing transition defense as an area where the team collectively needs to improve, too.

“The one thing I’ve been disappointed in – if there is one thing – is in all four games our transition defense hasn’t been good,” he said. “Even in our last game, whether we’re winning or losing or we don’t have certain guys, we can still get back the right way and make them at least let them score over a contested defense or have the defensive presence and they got to many uncontested layups and/or shots in transition. I told our guys: ‘Let’s do a better job collectively as a group with our transition defense no matter who is on the floor.’”

Dwight Howard’s Return?
The Lakers center continues to make progress, he says, but his main concern – as has been said before – is getting his stamina back.

“It’s conditioning,” Howard stated. “That’s the main thing. Like I told you guys: ‘I don’t want to go out there fatigued and injure something else.’ Most of the time, that’s when you (get) injuries. So I just want to make sure I’m in pretty good shape to play.”

Howard continues to participate in full contact, 5-on-5 scrimmages during practice, and so far, he maintains there is no concern about having any setbacks.

“I came too far from where I was at to go backwards now,” he noted. “I want to continue to work hard as I can every day when I step on the court and make myself better and my teammates better.”

Howard Making Progress

It’s been a long road to recovery for Dwight Howard.

The new Lakers center was just cleared for full contact drills on Monday, Oct. 9. He is still getting his feel back and his touch back, he says, but he’s making progress.

At one point while with the Orlando Magic last season, Howard recalls an instance where the pain was just too much for him to bear.

“There was a practice where I couldn’t even bend over,” he said. “I just felt it all the way down my leg and that’s when I knew something was wrong. I went home and the doctor said: ‘If you can’t do a calf raise, you need to have surgery.’ And I couldn’t do it.”

So he sought medical help.

He spent two days in the hospital after the late April operation, but trying to rehab and trying to regain strength became difficult.

“I didn’t want to hurt myself because I felt like I would re-injure myself,” Howard said. “I couldn’t bend over, I couldn’t lift anything over five pounds and I couldn’t do any kind of movements, so it was kind of tough.”

As Howard put it, post-surgery was “scary.” He was expected to miss the beginning of the regular season, maybe even the entire month of November.

“What a lot of people don’t know is that when I hurt my back, it affected my nerves to the point where my whole left leg was just dead,” Howard explained. “I basically couldn’t do a calf raise.”

Despite all this, the Howard is almost back to his old self again. In 5-on-5 drills in practice, the 3-time Defensive Player of the Year impressed his teammates with his play on both ends, highlighted by a big swat at the rim.

“He’s looking incredible,” said Kobe Bryant. “That defensive play was one of those plays that maybe Bill Russell can make and that’s about it. He was literally out of bounds and flew in and stopped a dunk and it was sensational.”

It’s L.A.’s collective hope that Howard will be erasing shots in games that count sooner than later.

Quote Round Up: Postgame vs. Portland

Here’s a transcription up of postgame interviews with Mike Brown*, Steve Nash, Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace, assembled by Intern Trevor.
*Click on each name to watch the video.

Q: On the team’s play in second preseason game:
Brown: In the first half — in the first quarter particularly — our defense gambled too much. Every time we gambled, it seemed like they scored on us. Once we settled down defensively and started playing by our principles and giving the multiple efforts that we needed to contesting and rebounding, I thought we got some stops. Offensively — the first group and the second group a little bit in the first half — we did a nice job of trying to execute our offense. We got some wide open shots … offensively, we were pretty good in the first half.

Q: On the chemistry between players that haven’t played before:
Brown: Chemistry is great, but when you have Jordan Hill out, Kobe (Bryant) out and Dwight (Howard) out, the guys that are playing together aren’t going to play together a ton this coming season. So what I’m looking for, more than anything else, is individual performances in terms of is: ‘Is a guy playing defense the right way, is a guy trying to help his teammates get better by spacing the floor, making the right cuts, making the right reads offensively?’ And then when he gets a chance to knock down shots, he doesn’t look like he’s in panic mode out there. So there are a few things I’m looking for individually on both ends of the floor more than anything else because I still don’t know who’s going to play when it comes to my backup point, my backup two, my backup three, my backup four and my backup five.

Q: On why the game got out of hand in the second half:
Brown: Well, there are a couple reasons: We had over a 2-hour practice today, so maybe it could be their legs. I’ve been working them pretty hard, but Portland just outworked us. Everything that they did, it was harder, sharper, better, quicker and we did not – in the second half – give a multiple effort to contest the rebound. We made one effort and then we stopped and we just watched. And they got open shots, they got loose balls, they got layups, they got whatever they wanted because we didn’t give the multiple effort to contest the rebound in the second half.

Q: On distributing minutes to starters in the second half going forward in the preseason:
Brown: I’ll continue to do that. Pau (Gasol) needs to work on his conditioning some, Metta (World Peace) needs to work on it a little bit, too. But I’ll continue to give the guys that start minutes into the second half, and then eventually, I’ll play the rotation right. But right now, I’m going to stick with what I did tonight. I’m going to change up some of the guys in our next game. I’m going to give some other guys the backup minutes so I can continue to look at individual guys and different combinations to find out where I want to go with that second unit.

Q: On if anybody moved up on depth chart based on second preseason game:
Brown: I need to go back and watch the tape. Darius Morris, the few minutes he got, were solid. (Andrew) Goudelock’s minutes were solid. Jodie Meeks didn’t knock down shots, but I thought defensively he was good, I thought he got a lot of loose balls, I thought he got some rebounds and I thought he was a presence out there. He just didn’t make shots, so that’s the type of stuff I’m looking for. Offensively, he was never in a hurry. He took what the defense gave him, he kind of understood and knew what we were trying to do offensively. I was impressed with Jodie’s toughness, his composure, his pace, what he did defensively, how he got after some loose balls and some long rebounds.

Q: On what he’s seen from the team thus far:
Nash: We’re continuing to find moments where we see a familiarity and an understanding of what we’re trying to accomplish on both ends of the floor. Right now, we’ve gone over a lot. We’ve had long days and we’re not necessarily producing the way we’d like to, but we’re showing glimpses of all that time on the court. And all that new territory we’ve been covering is paying off. We have to have faith that we’re doing the right things and just continue to grow day by day.

Q: On what team needs to work on:
Nash: We always want to hang our hats on the defensive end of the floor, so for us to shore up that side of the ball will always be number one. But again, the offense is a big, vast, new sea of understanding and knowledge for us, so we’re all trying to not only learn it, but learn how to play together out of it. That takes time and we’re not going to get it in two preseason games. We’re probably not going to get it in eight preseason games. We’re going to have to continue to improve throughout the season.

Q: On how Jodie Meeks filled in for Kobe and Robert Sacre filled in for Dwight:
Nash: It felt good. I thought we had a pretty good little (connection) going out there with the first unit. The ball moved, we created a lot of open shots, we didn’t finish at a rate we’re capable of, but I thought we did a good job executing. We just didn’t make shots tonight. Jodie did a good job, got some open looks and knocked some down. He missed some, but we know he can make them. Robert is a rookie and he’s done very well.
Continue reading ‘Quote Round Up: Postgame vs. Portland’

Howard Cleared for 5-on-5 Scrimmages

Marking the next step of his rehabilitation process from back surgery in April, Dwight Howard was cleared on Tuesday for full contact, 5-on-5 scrimmages with his teammates.

With that clearance came a minutes limit for the three-time Defensive Player of the Year, as he’ll work back in steadily instead of all at once. Howard had previously participated in 5-on-5-on-5 drills, but had been kept out of full 5-on-5 scrimmages.

What’s the difference? The former rotates three teams in and out — often, the team getting a defensive stop stays on the court — while the latter mimics game action.

Howard is not expected to play in the team’s second preseason game against Portland in Ontario at 7 p.m. on Wednesday evening.

Howard to Shaq: “Your Time is Up”

It’s Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak’s hope that one day, Dwight Howard’s No. 12 jersey will hang in the STAPLES Center rafters alongside those of Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and, coming this year, Shaquille O’Neal.

While Abdul-Jabbar has reached out to Howard offering his assistance, O’Neal’s taken a different approach.

Last week on an roundtable with fellow TNT analysts, Shaq essentially said that he’d choose Brook Lopez and Andrew Bynum over Howard, explaining that he prefers (what he considers) more typical back-to-the-basket centers.

Howard has been the All-NBA First Team selection in the pivot every year since 2008, but this isn’t the first time he’s taken criticism from O’Neal.

After Thursday’s practice — in which Howard looked very strong in 5-on-5-on-5 contact drills as he continues to progress from back surgery in April — Howard was asked by a reporter what he thought of Shaq’s recent comments.

Often times, athletes will choose to gloss over or make light of such a story, but give Howard credit for offering his opinion:

I don’t really care what Shaq says. Shaq played the game … he’s done. He’s gone. It’s time to move on. He hated the fact that when he played, the older guys were talking about him and how he played, and now he’s doing the exact same thing. Just let it go. There’s no sense for him to be talking trash. He did his thing in the league, (he’s one) of the greatest to ever play the game. Just sit back and relax. Your time is up. I don’t really care. He can say whatever he wants … I have respect for him and what he did for basketball. That’s it. Like I said, he already did his thing. He played. When my time is up there’s going to be someone else who can do everything I can do and probably do it better. Instead of me talking about it, I’ll do my job to help him get where I’m at. That’s what guys who’ve done it before should do.

CLICK HERE for video of Howard’s media session after Thursday’s practice.

Dwight Slam

Dwight Howard finishes with authority through traffic during the 5-on-5-on-5 drill during Thursday afternoon’s practice.

Injury Update: Dwight Howard

For the second consecutive day to open training camp, Dwight Howard (back) participated fully, going through everything from 1-on-1 and 2-on-2 contact drills to the offensive and defensive skeleton sets being implemented by the coaching staff.

“As much as he’s practicing, to me he’s back,” said Lakers head coach Mike Brown after the team completed the first of two Wednesday practices. “Just waiting for the doctors (and) trainers to clear him. When that happens, he’ll go full tilt. But he looks good out there.”

The night session would feature the first full court 5-on-5 scrimmage, the one thing L.A.’s training staff will hold Howard out of as his rehabilitation process continues.

“I’m still trying to regain strength,” Howard explained. “I’m not playing until I’m 100 percent. Just because I’m doing drills with the team or running up and down, it doesn’t mean I’m ready to play in a game. There’s a difference between running up and down and being actually out there battling. When I’m 100 percent and able to go, then I’ll go.”

After Tuesday’s extensive session, Howard relayed why many of his teammates feel he’s ahead of the expected schedule.

“Hopefully, I will be back for some preseason games,” Howard said. “I think we are going to need it for chemistry and all that stuff. But like I said, I’m not going to rush it.”

The six-time All Star wanted to see how he felt after Tuesday’s first full practice with teammates, and revealed that Wednesday’s work out also went well; the word “setback” has certainly not come up.

As such, optimism reigns in Los Angeles as it pertains to Howard, who spent far more time running up and down the court and dunking than many expected to start training camp.

Dwight Howard Update: Sept. 26

On Sept. 13, we heard the first official Dwight Howard injury update from the Lakers staff, detailing his rehabilitation process.

On Wednesday afternoon, Howard continued to make progress, focusing on upper and lower body strengthening, core stabilization, light running plus some basketball activities.


Assistant coaches Darvin Ham and Chuck Person went through low post moves with the six time All-Star center (see video below), with Howard adding some shooting from the paint and the free throw line.

Howard dropped in a high percentage of his patented baby hooks with either hand, spinning either to the baseline or the middle depending on Ham’s defense, and showed his quick first step getting to the hoop when Ham closed out.

The team continues to stress that no timetable has been determined for Howard’s return, but allowed that there have been no set backs to this point in his rehabilitation.

Dwight Howard Photo Gallery

Can we interest you in 24 photos of Dwight Howard from Aug. 10, the day he was introduced as the newest member of the Lakers?


Follow along as Howard walked towards his presser with Mitch Kupchak, held up his No. 12 jersey for the first time and went on about his day.