How Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol Proved Mike D’Antoni Wrong

For the vast majority of the 2012-13 season, Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni had been sure about one thing—Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol weren't an effective on-court duo.

But now, with the Lakers' season hanging in the balance, it appears as though Howard and Gasol have finally proved him wrong.

Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding reported on his Sulia page that D'Antoni acknowledged his mistake:

D'Antoni coming clean on his "preconceived notion" that Dwight-Pau couldn't play well together: "It probably wasn't right." He also said he came "to realize that we can play with two big guys. I was a little skeptical at first."

What sold D'Antoni on the big frontcourt? "Because they kept getting better at it...pretty easy assumption." D'Antoni also said Howard and Gasol played better together once each got healthier, with D'Antoni pegging them as "close to 100 percent" now.

To be fair to D'Antoni, who hasn't gotten very many things right in his tenure as the Lakers coach, he was correct in his belief that Gasol and Howard were a tricky tandem to have on the floor together.

Part of what made them look so bad on the court was a lack of inventiveness from D'Antoni himself, but there was also a physical element—namely, the duo's shared injury woes—that prevented them from realizing their potential as a combo.

On the year, Howard and Gasol have played nearly 1,000 minutes together, but have amazingly posted a negative differential per 100 possessions when they've shared the floor. The figure is only minus-0.8 points, but to put that in perspective, there are no fewer than 46 other two-man Laker pairings that have been better this year on a per-possession basis.

But as D'Antoni said, the improved health of Gasol and Howard has changed things for the Lakers.

For one, the Spaniard has been playing his best ball of the season in the month of April—by a...

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