Kamenetzky: The Cali Report – Dwight’s return, Clips vs. Griz, Lee’s D, Boogie’s issues

Dwight HowardDon’t look now, but the Lakers suddenly have what appears to be legitimate momentum on their side.

That’s not to say they’ve morphed into the juggernaut many predicted back in October. Such talk would certainly be premature. But it’s safe to assume their surge has grabbed the attention of the entire league, much less the Pacific Division.

The Golden State Warriors are now just two games ahead of the Lakers, a gap that doesn’t feel impossible to close. Were that the case, it could set the stage for a Hallway Series between the current No. 3 seed Clippers and the Lakers. And that would be an exceptionally fun first-round matchup for members of the Kings to watch from home.

Here’s a look at what’s doing for each team.


Wait, hold on a sec. Just want to make sure Jacque Vaughn isn’t sending Dwight Howard to the line one more time before I start writing.

Is it safe?

Ok, then.

You’ll forgive a little wariness after Howard’s long-awaited return to Orlando, which began as a full-throated Howard hatefest but devolved into a lather-rinse-repeat parade to the free-throw line for the former Orlando star.

Vaughn, whose Hack-a-Howard tactics in the first meeting between the teams Dec. 2 at Staples meant 21 FTAs for Dwight, septupled down on the strategy Tuesday at Amway. He fouled Howard early, he fouled Howard late. He fouled him when the game was close, and when the Lakers were up by double digits.

In the end, Howard tied his own NBA record with 39 attempts in LA’s 106-97 win.


More important than the record number of takes were Howard’s number of makes – 25 in all, including a 23-for-30 run after a 2-for-9 start. Howard hit eight of the first 10 tries off intentional fouls, and 10-of-12 in the fourth quarter. One of the worst free throw shooters in basketball suddenly morphed into something straight out of a Tom Amberry video (relatively speaking, at least).

In a season serving as yet another referendum on Howard’s mental fortitude, for one night at least Kobe Bryanthe slayed one of his biggest dragons in a hostile environment en route to 39 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks.

“I missed a lot of free throws, but then I made a lot of free throws,” he told the media following the game. “I think all this stuff was good for me.”

For a guy who has spent most of his career trying to please others, there may have been something cathartic about returning to a city where, no matter what he said or did, most were still going to boo. “I thought that was the best thing for me to come in here and really learn how to block a lot of stuff out and play and not allow it to affect me,” he said. “That’s been big all season to where I would hit a crowd and get up there and brick. It was good for me. I matured as a player and person. I’m happy. I’m happy we won the game.”


  1. says

    Once you decide david zitting utah you might want to
    move in which case I’m going to have to make it safer?
    They will try to help you apply for one. Refinancing is costly for you, given that there are many types of mortgages that you
    can alter. The concept of debt consolidation counseling has been around for
    over a decade. This fund offers broad, and among the cheapest, exposure to the domestic
    real estate market.

  2. Kilgary says

    For all those worried about Kobe single-handedly winning 3 games for the Lakers this season, I’ll point you to their 2009-2010 season where he single-handedly won 6 games. The season resulted in a championship. It’s never a bad thing when Kobe plays out of his head. If the Houston Rockets can win a championship with a 6th seed, you can never count the Lakers out. The 6th seed is there for the taking. It’s still a huge uphill climb; but I think they have a hell of a lot better chance than the 0.2% that the Hollinger ESPN NBA Playoff Odds computer is giving.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>