Dwight Howard didn’t log a ton of minutes in the Los Angeles Lakers preseason debut but the big man made his impact felt with a series of fouls that led to his night ending early.
One technical foul drew some extra attention because it involved Nets star James Harden, who was in street clothes for the game. Harden stood at midcourt with his hands in his yellow hoodie and a mask on, appearing to talk trash to Howard during a review for a flagrant foul on the big man. Everyone looked equally confused when Howard was handed the technical and more chaos would follow.
When it was all sorted out, Howard was hit with a technical and flagrant foul in the sequence, subsequently fouling out after just 13 minutes off the bench. Howard got a standing ovation from the Staples Center crowd, while Russell Westbrook and LeBron James had a good laugh over the situation.
“Oh man, that was crazy,” Howard told reporters of the sequence. “That sequence was crazy. I didn’t know I got a tech. I got a tech for standing by Trevor (Ariza). Then I got a flagrant foul after the guy got a foul on me…I didn’t know I got a tech because I didn’t do anything to deserve one but I’m still going to go out there and have fun, play hard and play aggressive.”
While Howard played just 13 minutes, he made an impact, grabbing six rebounds and notching 11 points.
Malik Monk Shines for Lakers in Preseason Opener
Malik Monk stood out for the Lakers against the Nets, making his presence felt off the bench. The former first-round pick put up a team-high 15 points against Brooklyn, providing a much needed spark off the bench.
“We’re still surprised we got him, to be honest,” Anthony Davis said of Monk. “He’s such a hell of a player. You saw what he did out there the minute that he played. He can score the ball at all three levels, play hard and make the right reads. He’s going to be fun to have this year.”
Monk, along with fellow young-gun Kendrick Nunn, could make a case in the preseason for a spot in the starting lineup.
“Those guys are in the mix,” head coach Frank Vogel said of the pair. “We’re really high on both those guys you mentioned. Malik and Kendrick both had strong nights out of the gate and I thought Wayne (Ellington) played well as well. Those guys are going to have big opportunities to earn big minutes and be a big part of what we’re doing.”
Monk Benefiting From Lakers Experience
While there was much criticism this offseason about the Lakers assembling an old roster, the experience of playing with guys like James, Carmelo Anthony and Rajon Rondo is invaluable for younger players like Monk and Nunn.
“Actually, all the guys are like big brothers to me because I’m pretty young and they’ve been in the league for a minute,” Monk said after the game. “They all just take me in and teach me as much as they can in that day. Tomorrow, they’ll teach me some more stuff and the next day, they’ll teach me some more stuff. Everybody’s taking me in with open arms.”
The Lakers continue their preseason schedule against the Suns on Wednesday.