Dwight Howard, Rockets thump the Lakers

first_imgLOS ANGELES >> You almost had to wonder who would come out of the locker room after halftime. Then again, if the Lakers were unrecognizable on Wednesday, what will they look like after today’s trading deadline.At Staples Center, though, maybe it didn’t matter because the fans who have already given up on the 2013-14 season were there for some unfinished business from last summer.Dwight Howard returned after spurning the Lakers in free agency last year, and the booing was basically a distraction from the 134-108 thumping the Houston Rockets put on the Lakers.Inside the Lakers blog | Box score Worse, Howard put on a show the first three times he touched the ball. The first was a left-handed hook over Chris Kaman. The next was a baseline dunk, after which he drew a technical foul for a little extra celebration.Howard, who didn’t play after the third quarter, followed with a rebound dunk, and he finished with 20 points, 13 rebounds, three blocks and two steals. James Harden added 29 points and 11 assists. Chandler Parsons had 18 points.Kendall Marshall had 20 points and 16 assists and Wesley Johnson scored 24 for the Lakers, but it was all about the boos. There were torrents of jeers for the big man who chose to take his talents to South Texas. They started when he walked on to the court for warmups an hour before tipoff. They continued during the national anthem when he appeared on the scoreboard video board, team introductions and every time he touched the ball.He might as well have been a member of the Boston Celtics. They might get a better reception Friday. Howard was ready for anything, since he had already gone through a similar welcome from the fans in Orlando. And aside from the technical foul, he kept his cool, talked to a couple of fans, smiled now and then and even joined in one of the “Howard sucks” chants.“We’re always going to have fun when we’re playing basketball,” Howard said. “We love what we’re doing. “I wanted to come out here and show the fans here that I’m about winning. Unfortunately (last season) I just wasn’t healthy enough and neither was the team.”So the eight players left in uniform for the Lakers trotted out to take on a team that won its eighth consecutive game. And they were depleted once again.In the first of many expected moves before Thursday’s noon trading deadline, guard Steve Blake — who had just left the court after warmups to change into his uniform — discovered he had been traded to Golden State.In return, the Lakers get MarShon Brooks and Kent Bazemore, who had received scant playing time for the Warriors. Blake will fit right in as a reserve guard for a team gearing for a deep playoff run. The Lakers will simply try to shave their payroll.And the rumors continued to swirl around the Lakers. Jordan Hill, who could apparently end up in any one of four or five cities, was still playing in a gold uniform.Injured center Pau Gasol, another piece of the rumor puzzle, joined the Lakers on the bench for the second half. He’s still a practice or two from returning from a strained groin.“He had a good practice (Tuesday), looked upbeat,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said of Gasol. “But the trade deadline is for everybody. Everybody has to deal with it. When you’re with a team that’s out of the playoff hunt right now, obviously that looms over everybody and I’m sure a lot of guys will breathe a sigh of relief when it’s all over.”Not to mention D’Antoni, who had to wheel and deal on the fly after Blake left the building. The coach didn’t feel much like looking ahead to whatever other moves the Lakers will make.“Right now I’m just anticipating getting a bunch of Advil because I’ve got a little knife stuck in my eye right here,” D’Antoni said afterward. “We’ll see what happens, we’ll deal with it.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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