Over the season, the Los Angeles Lakers have formed a tight-knit group of players. Usually, teams that haven’t been together very long don’t get along as well as this team does. They don’t even like it when the media is unfairly criticizing their teammates.
On ESPN’s First Take, Stephen A. Smith was talking about Clippers star Paul George and said he is “in danger of becoming the second-coming of Dwight Howard” due to the Clippers’ recent loss in the conference semis. Those comments didn’t sit well with Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma and he clapped back at Smith.
While Howard has never won a title, George’s resume isn’t even in the same league. Like Kuzma pointed out, Howard had been to the Finals and he did it as a team’s top star. He also had a stint as the best defensive player in the NBA, and led the league in rebounding five times and blocked shots twice. George is a really good player but his career isn’t close to Howard’s. Plus, the Lakers big man could very well win his first championship this year. That would be the cherry on top of a very impressive career.
Howard Is Having a Hard Time in the Bubble
The allure of winning his first championship was a big reason Howard made the decision to come to the bubble. He doesn’t get a lot of playing time but he’s solid off the bench and brings a lot of energy to the team. That said, he recently opened up about how bubble life is not easy.
“There’s really nothing to do. If I can be honest with you,” Howard told reporters Wednesday. “There’s nowhere to go there’s no way to release anything, any feeling that you might have. It’s just like we’re stuck.”
Bubble life is obviously not natural and it was always going to be tough for these NBA players to deal with it. The Lakers are only one of four teams who have lasted this long and if they win another title, they’re going to be in the bubble for a while longer. If they win it all, the whole experience will be worth it.
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Howard Talks Not Playing vs. Rockets
It’s one thing to be stuck in the bubble with nothing to do, it’s another thing when you’re not playing. Howard barely saw the court in Round 2 of the playoffs due to the Houston Rockets‘ smaller lineup. He made the best of the circumstances.
“I just try to bottle up all the negative energy and try to turn it into something positive when I step on the court or in the locker room or on the bench cheering for my teammates,” Howard said. “It’s very difficult when you’re not playing sometimes — or it’s very easy to sulk and be upset and try to find ways to blame everybody else, but I just thought a lot of positive things and the fact that we’re still winning and we all have our health and we have the opportunity to win the championship.”
Luckily, with the Denver Nuggets coming up next, Howard should be back into the rotation.
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