Dwight Howard Proving He Can Take L.A. Lakers Reins from Kobe Bryant

With Dwight Howard putting forth dominant performances in two of the past three games for the Los Angeles Lakers, it seems like he's finally proving that he'll be able to take over the team once Kobe Bryant decides to retire.

The Los Angeles Lakers scored their biggest road win of the season with a 99-93 victory over the Indiana Pacers—all while Kobe Bryant sat idly, yet wholeheartedly involved in the final three quarters.

Bryant's balky, swollen ankle allowed him to get through the first quarter, giving him the opportunity to show his teammates how to play through pain.

With Bryant out, it was up to the rest of the Lakers to put together a total team effort to pull off the win, and they would need somebody to take control of the game.

Offensively, the team pretty much shared the load. Between Steve Blake and Steve Nash, the offense was able to thrive, with each player doing his part to space the floor between shooters, who smoothly fed into Dwight Howard and vice versa.

However, on the defensive front all the credit has to be given to Howard.

He was able to step up and completely shut down Roy Hibbert, switch off and deal with David West and do his best to corral the little dudes running around the paint all game long.

While George Hill was able to finish the game with 27 points, he was mostly taking three-pointers and scoring with floaters. He and Paul George were a huge portion of Indiana's 38 points in the paint, but Howard's help defense was mostly on point.

Howard was able to finish the game with 20 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks, aside from roaming the paint with a scowl and throwing a few hard fouls to driving guards.

On the one hand, it showed that Howard is still capable of playing the same game he did when he was with the Orlando Magic, but it also showed that his quickness when helping out on defense—which was often with Nash gu...

About the Author