Dwight Howard, Metta World Peace Out vs. Nets

Darius Soriano —  February 5, 2013

The Lakers just can’t seem to catch a break this season when it comes to players missing games. Heading into Brooklyn (still feels weird to type that) tonight against a good Nets team, the Lakers could use all the help they could get. Instead, they’ll be down two starters:

Dwight not playing is somewhat of a surprise, but not something that should be a shock. Though he’s had multiple days to rest his ailing shoulder, he’s made it clear that he wants to be close to pain free when he returns. If he’s not yet to that point, he’s not likely to suit up. You can argue whether Dwight should be playing, but only he knows what he can tolerate when on the floor and still be effective enough to help the team. If he doesn’t think he’s there, he shouldn’t. I understand that can be frustrating, but it is what it is.

But while missing Dwight could at least be somewhat foreseen, this was less so:

On the review of the play, you can easily understand the NBA’s position here. At the time, it didn’t look like too much, but the replay does show Ron extending his hand upward and connecting with Knight’s face/jaw. The fact that the suspension came down after the Lakers had already had their shootaround is unfortunate (the game plan is in place, but now must change), but that’s just how it goes.

Missing Ron will be a big deal tonight as he’s been a key defensive player all season, but especially with Dwight out. Ron has guarded all three front court positions with Dwight out and that versatility will be missed sorely. Especially when you consider the player likely to replace him is Antawn Jamison who, putting it kindly, isn’t known for his exploits on defense.

The rest of the Lakers will need to step up both in defending the paint, but in helping on the glass to try and account for missing their top two defensive players. Expect Earl Clark to play even heavier minutes and for Kobe to have to play a lot of SF with Blake and Meeks picking up  the slack at SG with Kobe sliding up. Needless to say, though, beating the Nets just got a lot harder after this news.

Darius Soriano

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7 responses to Dwight Howard, Metta World Peace Out vs. Nets

  1. I hate this season.

    (do love the OKC and Warriors wins earlier, though)

  2. Yup this season is cursed.

  3. Artest is really lucky that a punch wasn’t thrown back in his direction by Brandon Knight. It would have escalated things and put a magnifying glass on Artest, who instigated the incident with a headlock and jab to Knight’s face. In Auburn Hills, no less. Really stupid.

  4. Metta is a ticking time bomb. IMO he has outlived his usefulness as a Laker. Beating up a point guard? The fact that he was matched up with Knight speaks to the lack of emphasis the Pistons placed on defending him. Way to meet your team’s need, Metta. Get suspended for something stupid when they are already down 1 starting center and are battling for their playoff lives. Sorry for the rant, but I am just sick to death of the selfishness of some of the Lakers’ players.

  5. Darius (et al)–Any word on who will start in MWP’s place? Will we see Nash and one of Blake/Morris/Meeks in the starting backcourt and Kobe at the 3? AJ at the 4 and Earl Clark at the 3? AJ at the 3? A rare Devin Ebanks sighting?

  6. If Devin Ebanks cannot get minutes tonight, there will be absolutely no justification for his presence on the roster….

  7. Smart move by Dwight in regards to the shoulder. If he feels that, due to the pain, it’ll hinder him on the court to the point that he can’t help the team at this time, its best to sit out.

    Maybe, just maybe, with the suspension of Ron, we’ll get an Ebanks sighting. And if so, maybe he can pull an Earl Clark, so to speak, and take advantage of the opportunity in the same way that E-Clark did and force D’Antoni to release him from the Dog House. Doubt it.

    Back to Dwight, but on another note. As a Lakers fan, Dwight’s interview with SAS was only upsetting because I want that definite commitment from him that he’ll remain a Laker after this season. However, I also understand that, as an UFA (Unrestricted Free Agent), he has every right to weigh his options and eventually decide what’s best for him and his family long term. Fact of the Matter is that the Front Office decided to play Cee-lo, now it’s all about rolling Headcracks (4,5,6).