Lakers Don’t Need Happy Dwight Howard, They Need Vintage D12

In a rare occurrence since joining the Los Angeles Lakers, Dwight Howard displayed signs of dominance against the Cleveland Cavaliers. This outing leads to a confirmation of a belief that analysts everyone have begun to agree upon.

The Los Angeles Lakers don't need a happy Howard. They need the vintage D-12.

Matched up against an injury-depleted Cavaliers frontcourt, Howard went off for 22 points and 14 rebounds on 9-of-11 shooting. This continues a recent five-game stretch in which Howard has displayed his previous signs of dominance.

Including the previously alluded to Cleveland performance, Howard is averaging 17.0 points, 16.6 rebounds and 3.0 blocks over the past five games.

This is the type of production the NBA has come to expect from D-12. Unfortunately, these numbers have come rather inconsistently since Howard was traded to the Lakers.

Many have speculated that this is a result of Howard not fully recovering from offseason back surgery (via ESPN Los Angeles).

More recently, Howard suffered what was believed to be a torn labrum in his right shoulder (via ESPN Los Angeles). Fortunately, Howard returned sooner than expected and proved to be healthier than believed (via ESPN Los Angeles).

It's now time that he does more than return to the lineup. He must become the player he used to be.

If Howard is unable to, the Lakers' postseason dreams will be lost.


Interior Dominance: Defense

Dwight Howard is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year award winner. He won those awards in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Had he not gone down with a back injury with 10 games remaining in 2011-12, the numbers suggest he could have won it again last season.

Unfortunately, Howard has not yet reprised his role as an elite defensive stopper with the Lakers. Instead, he has been the best defensive player on the 26th-ranked scoring de...

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