Dwightmare continues for Howard and the Lakers


Dwightmare continues for Howard and the Lakers

BOSTON - The Lakers were down 30 points to the Celtics midway through the fourth quarter.

Kobe Bryant didn't touch the floor in the fourth. Neither did Steve Nash or Antawn Jamison. Metta World Peace was subbed out around the nine-minute mark after an official timeout.

But Dwight Howard stayed in. The tables had been turned. He wouldn't watch from the bench this time. Coach Mike D'Antoni was sure of that once Howard "decided" to play.

He was left in, deserted by D'Antoni until he inevitably fouled out when he was down 25 points with 5:27 to play.

Bad back? Nah, not bad enough for his coach. Bum shoulder? Meh.

CSNNE.com asked D'Antoni why Howard was left in the game -- in the condition he's supposedly in (or not in, depending on who you ask) -- with all other main rotational guys out.

"Because I think he needs to get his rhythm," D'Antoni said to the media hoard just outside the Lakers locker room. "He's been out for a week, and surely wasn't tired. So just trying to find him some rhythm."

Ah, rhythm. In a fourth-quarter lineup featuring Steve Blake, Chris Duhon, Jody Meeks, and Earl Clark; a lineup that Howard will rarely -- if at all -- ever be in again.

Howard had missed the last three games -- all wins for the Lakers -- but not at the decision of trainers or D'Antoni. According to D'Antoni, Howard could have played.

"Yeah, he's been cleared for a while," he said. "I mean, he's always clear because he has a tear. It's going to be there but he had pain, so obviously he's not going to play with the pain, and he felt better today. That's why he played."

There's that "pain" shot again. The same one that Kobe Bryant gave Howard prior to Thursday's game. Bryant said to ESPNBoston.com, "We don't have time for Howard's shoulder to heal. We need some urgency." Bryant also said that pain is "something that you have to balance out and manage."

D'Antoni echoed that after Thursday's loss, saying, "Well, Howard has to work his way through pain because we don't have a whole lot of other solutions right now with Pau Gasol being out especially."

The process of Howard figuring out his health, though, has admittedly been problematic for D'Antoni.

But while the coach said Howard has been cleared to play for a while now, and "his health his fine", Howard was quick to disagree. He's also not taking much stock in what D'Antoni and teammates are putting out for public consumption.

"I can't get involved with what they've been saying to the media," Howard told CSNNE.com. "I understand they've been saying certain things, but I know my health. I haven't been cleared for weeks to play.

"This is my body, and I have to control my body and my future and my career. So I can't worry about anybody else."

Howard has made that abundantly clear. It's "he" before "we". His team, on the other hand, couldn't care less about the injuries he may or may not have.

And there lies the problem. The disconnect between Howard and the Lakers is quite apparent. It looks and sounds like a player not willing to sacrifice his future for a team he doesn't see in it. And it looks and sounds like a team not willing to sacrifice the present for a future it simply doesn't have.

That has inevitably made things "Dwight Howard vs. Lakers", and as the record shows, it's just not going to work.

"Hopefully they'll start supporting me the way they need to," Howard told CSNNE.com. "Until then, I'm going to continue to do whatever I can to help our team win."

When he "decides" to, anyways.

Ainge on no trades at deadline: ‘Wasn’t for lack of trying’

Ainge on no trades at deadline: ‘Wasn’t for lack of trying’

For the second straight season the trade deadline came and went with no moves from the Boston Celtics.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge continues to look at the big picture as his team moves forward with their roster intact.

“It wasn’t for lack of trying, last year and this year,” said Ainge. “We came away with Al Horford in the summer. We drafted Jaylen Brown, Jaylen just continually getting better. I’m very excited about the future of both those guys. We were also able to get Ante Zizic, who is having a terrific year over in Turkey. I think that our future is looking good.

“We hope to have another good summer this year, whether we use the draft pick, whether we trade the draft pick. I think we can’t go wrong, as long as we don’t screw it up and pay too much for certain assets.”

Ainge: Adding players 'sometimes messes up your chemistry’

Ainge: Adding players 'sometimes messes up your chemistry’

With the NBA trade deadline in the rear view mirror, the Celtics will have to turn to the buyout market if they are looking to make changes to their roster.

Talking to CSN Celtics Insider A. Sherrod Blakely, Danny Ainge explained why signing players who have  been bought out can be a risky move for a team like the Celtics.

“We’ll weigh each guy that comes on the market and see if that can be a boost to our team,” explained Ainge. “At the same time, I like our team. Bringing in new players sometimes messes up your whole chemistry, and it shifts somebody into a different role that they’re not accustomed to doing. You better know what you’re getting.

“We brought in Michael Finley, Sam Cassell. . . PJ Brown turned out to be a very good asset to us. Most of the time it sort of disrupts things. At the end of the year you go, ‘wow, we probably shouldn’t have done that.’ Even though on paper it looked like a great acquisition, it wasn’t as good as everyone thought it would be.”