We’ve heard plenty about the issues Dwight Howard had with Kobe Bryant over the summer, and why he wasn’t happy playing with the demanding superstar. With the center back in town to face the Los Angeles Lakers – he already heard plenty of boos while playing in Staples Center against the Los Angeles Clippers this past Monday – perhaps it’s finally time to close this chapter of his story for good, for both himself and everyone else around the league.
STORY OF THE DAY:
Antawn Jamison and Pau Gasol explained what it was like to see Howard and Kobe Bryant clash, from Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:
“I made my decision,” Howard said. “I’m happy where I’m at. Everybody should move forward. This is my life. If you don’t like it, so what.”
“Dwight and Kobe just didn’t get along,” Jamison said. “There was no definite reason as to why they didn’t get along. They were just two different personalities that couldn’t co-exist. You know how aggressive and straight-forward Kobe is. He doesn’t stroke any egos. What you see with Kobe is what you get.
“They tried once it got started. Once we couldn’t get it going and started struggling, Dwight got hurt and Kobe said some things. I understood what Kobe was trying to do because that’s Kobe. ‘Toughen it up.’ It just did the opposite with Dwight. The more and more we couldn’t put things together and try to get to that point of being the team we thought we could become, it got worse and worse.”
The Lakers’ Pau Gasol said Bryant and Howard’s drama made a “rough” season more difficult.
“There was definitely a lack of understanding and connection,” Gasol said.
How sure was Howard about wanting to join the Rockets? It may have been a decision that went down to the wire for everyone else, but he apparently had one of his representatives looking for a new house in Houston long before an official announcement was made:
The week Howard was to make a decision, one of his representatives had already begun shopping for housing in Houston, a source said. On July 5, Howard chose less money but self-proclaimed happiness with the Rockets.
And here is a more detailed perspective from Howard in regards to what happened with the Lakers, from Sam Amick of USA Today:
“It’s time for everybody to get over it,” Howard continued. “It happened. It’s in the past. I’ve gotten over it. It didn’t work out (with the Lakers last season). The timing was off. It just wasn’t (there). Everybody was injured.
“People can say that I ran from the situation, that I couldn’t handle the pressure. But I think there’s more pressure coming here to win than there was in L.A., because I left the Lakers to come play for somebody else. So I’m supposed to feel like there’s more pressure to win now, because everybody is like, ‘He left the Lakers; can he win?’ And I’m like, ‘I’m happy. I’m going to win regardless.’ I think people just need to let it go, and if they don’t, then that’s on them. I’ve let it go. It’s in the past.”
As for coach Mike D’Antoni, he’s still wondering how going to the Rockets puts him in a better position to be better offensively, from Mark Medina of Daily News:
“Strange they’re doing the exact same thing here that we tried to do so,” D’Antoni said sarcastically, referring to Houston’s offense that entails a heavy dose of James Harden and Jeremy Lin running pick-and-rolls with Howard. “But that’s fine. We’re cool.”
How about how much Howard was featured on offense, though?
“He might be right, but it’s tough when you have three Hall of Famers on the floor at the same time,” D’Antoni said, referring to Bryant, Nash and Gasol. “That’s too bad you’re not the No. 1 guy we go to. But I think a lot of it is you’re not healthy, there’s a lot of pressure and there’s lots of squawking. And there was a lot of stuff that piled on. You can’t fault him for that.”
- It would be surprising if we don’t hear from the league for what Atlanta Hawks rookie Dennis Schroder did to DeMarcus Cousins on Tuesday. Simply unacceptable:
- Vince Carter ate an unintentional elbow from rookie center Steven Adams during Wednesday’s game between Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks, and decided to retaliate with an elbow of his own. (via HardwoodParoxysm09):
Carter was ejected from the game and could face a hefty fine or suspension for his unprofessional behavior. There is no place in the game for intentional elbows to the face, regardless of the result.
- We’ve heard Kevin Garnett talking about bar fights in the past, but did Larry Sanders of the Milwaukee Bucks actually throw down in a bar fight? He is being investigated for doing as much, from Jermont Terry of TMJ4 (via jocksandstilettojill): “Police say they’re looking into a huge fight at about 1:15 a.m. Sunday morning at Apartment 720 on Milwaukee Street, downtown. The I-Team’s police sources say Sanders started that fight while in the VIP room – a fight where Sanders allegedly broke champagne bottles over a man’s head while security tried to break up the fight. He also allegedly punched the man’s brother in the eye. Police spokesman Mark Stanmeyer later said Wednesday that a victim, who is 26 and from Sussex, “told officers that his forehead was cut when he was struck with a bottle during a fight.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
After a decisive 97-80 victory against the Chicago Bulls, Paul George talked talked about the dawn of a new era, from Steve Aschburner of NBA.com:
“Their success is the Michael Jordan era. This is a new age, this is a new team. It’s ours till they take it.”
Can someone tell George that it takes more than one season atop the central division to proclaim this as the “Pacers era”? To his credit, he’s having a career year in the early going, according to ESPN Stats & Info:
Paul George: 1st Pacers player with more than 20 points in each of 1st 5 games of a season since Reggie Miller in 1990-91
DISRESPECTFUL ACT BY THE KING:
LeBron James joined an exclusive club while playing against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday. He may have been a little too overjoyed about the matter, as you can see below:
OTHER NEWS FROM AROUND THE LEAGUE: