Dwight Howard Re-Establishes Superstar Status in Lakers’ Game 1 Loss to Spurs

In Game 1 of one of the most highly anticipated clashes of the 2013 NBA playoffs, the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Los Angeles Lakers by a score 91-79 to take a 1-0 series lead. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili played as if it was 2007.

Although the Lakers were unable to secure the victory, center Dwight Howard re-established his superstar status with his performance.

In 41 minutes, Howard finished with 20 points, 15 rebounds, an assist and two blocks on 8-of-12 shooting from the floor. He also held Tiago Splitter to 0-of-4 shooting and helped to limit Tim Duncan to a 6-of-15 outing.

While the supporting fire may have been insufficient, Howard displayed just how dominant a force he can be.

That only scratches the surface of how well Howard has begun to play with his back reaching full strength.

Although some will scoff at 20 points being superstar-caliber, the Lakers were down by 13 points entering the fourth quarter of play. Furthermore, the Lakers have finally begun to capitalize on their two-headed monster in the paint.

Howard and Gasol combined for 36 points, 31 rebounds and 28 field-goal attempts—a sign of what has become the Lakers offense.


Under-Appreciated Dominance

Prior to the 2013 NBA All-Star break, there was reasonable doubt about whether or not Dwight Howard deserved to be an All-Star. There was also uncertainty about whether or not he had fully recovered from offseason back surgery.

Over the past two months, Howard has quieted those critics.

Since the All-Star break, Howard has posted averages of 18.4 points, 13.6 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 1.2 steals on 57.8 percent shooting from the field. This enabled Howard to lead the NBA in rebounding and rank fifth in blocks.

Howard also finished the season with 48 double-doubles, which was second to David Lee of the Golden State Warrio...

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