LOS ANGELES, CA (News4usonline) – The Los Angeles Lakers have their version of the Big Two with LeBron James and Anthony Davis starring in the current motion picture about the Purple and Gold. Center Dwight Howard could make it the Big Three if he has the season that reflects the way he played Sunday evening against the Charlotte Hornets at Staples Center.
“He;s been developing and doing a great job all year on both ends of the floor,” Davis said. “Dwight’s been able to block shots, rebound, get us second-chance opportunities and also finishes around the rim. Anytime he’s on the floor, he definitely makes us a better team.”
In nearly 23 minutes of action on the floor, Howard looked very much the dominant athlete that made him a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, racking up 16 points and 10 rebounds. For good measure, Howard added four blocked shots in the Lakers’ 120-101 win against the Hornets.
“That’s why we brought him here,” James said afterward. “We felt like everyone else was writing him off. We feel like we can give him a great opportunity and we believe in him. We believe in his word and he’s making the most of it. We’re truly excited to have him here right now.”
Howard’s production was needed because the Hornets, for most of the game played fearlessly and were not in awe of a superior roster they were going up against. The Lakers led by just two points after the first quarter. By the time halftime came around, Charlotte had made it a one-point ballgame.
And though the Lakers had edged them with a six-point advantage in the third period, the Hornets were still sticking around within close proximity of Los Angeles.
It wasn’t until the final quarter of play when James and the Lakers flexed hard enough that the Hornets finally wilted. James scored 14 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter to help the Lakers take a 33-21 advantage in the period, thus creating more than enough wiggle room for the home team to collect its second win of the season.
Howard made an impact in the period as well, only at the defensive end when he recorded three of his game-total four blocks.
“They’re a good team, man. They’re a good team, Charlotte forward Miles Bridges said. “We were just trying to get them out in transition, but they were doing well in the half-court offense. They were getting all the shots they wanted, so it was tough for us. We have to execute. We have to try to get a stop, but it’s tough. They’re going to be a championship team one of these years. It’s hard.”
Led by the game-high 29 points that Davis produced, the Lakers had six players score in double figures. Davis scored 25 of those points in the first half as the Lakers tried to keep the upstart Hornets at bay. Charlotte, whose roster is devoid of household names, was held to 38 percent shooting from the floor.
Where the Hornets made up the difference was at the free throw line. Charlotte attempted more shots at the free throw line (21 of 23) than the Lakers (11 of 14). The Lakers, though, came through with a much better percentage from the field, shooting 52 percent for the game. In the end, the Lakers’ version of the Big Three-James, Davis and Howard-used their collective muscles to keep the young-laden roster of Charlotte in check.
“I wasn’t thinking about doing anything but whatever I can to help the team win and keep the crowd energized,” Howard said. “Great things happen when you do that, so I just want to continue to do that; do whatever it takes and enjoy it.”
Lead photo courtesy of Jevone Moore