From Kevin Ding, OC Register: What’s wrong with you if the Greatest Teammate Ever is fed up with you? Well, what’s wrong with Dwight Howard is he still isn’t trying. And for Steve Nash – who has spent close to two decades in the NBA making anyone who tried hard next to him look better than ever and who said during his own MVP heights that if everybody worked as hard as him, he wouldn’t even be in the league – not trying is infuriating.
From Royce Young, CBS Sports: In the end, the Lakers’ annual Grammy road trip was a massive success. At least relative to the rest of the season.The Lakers went 4-3 on the trip, almost equaling their previous total of road wins (they were 5-15 away from Staples before the trip started). Considering their position and performance, that’s really not all bad. That is if their circumstances were different. Starting the trip with a 20-25 record was a problem, and one that required an almost impossible task of near perfection. Here’s how the trip went: They beat the Timberwolves, Pistons, Nets and Bobcats. They got waxed by the Celtics, blew a fourth-quarter lead against Phoenix, were humbled by the Heat and oh, lost Pau Gasol for 6-8 weeks along the way too
From Eric Pincus, LA Times: The Lakers won’t make the playoffs without some help. On Sunday, after falling to the Miami Heat 107-97, the Lakers got some assistance from both theOrlando Magic and Sacramento Kings. At 24-28, the Lakers are in 10th place in the Western Conference, with hopes to climb to eighth before the end of the season. The Utah Jazz (28-24), Houston Rockets (28-25) and Portland Trail Blazers (25-26) are in their way. The Lakers need to overtake two of the three teams and on Sunday the Magic knocked off the Blazers 110-104 and the Kings beat the Rockets 117-111. If the Lakers sweep the two remaining games against the Blazers, they’ll own the tiebreaker. Just two losses behind, the Lakers mathematically have it within their power to pass Portland. The Rockets have a 2-1 series lead and are three losses ahead. The Lakers have the better conference record, so a victory over Houston at Staples Center on the final day of the season could give the Lakers the tiebreaker. That means the Lakers still need help from other teams to outpace the Rockets.
From Elizabeth Benson, Lakers Nation: The Lakers had a decent road trip. They went 4-3 over the Grammy trip, which lasted 13 days away from the comfort of home, but they failed to make up any ground. The team encountered two injuries on the trip; one that will sidelinePau Gasol for six to eight weeks, at minimum. There has been slight progress as the team has won seven of their last 10 games, but there are still a plethora of questions lingering around regarding the team’s identity.
From Eric Adelson, Yahoo Sports: The pain flared just moments after tip on Sunday. On his first trip down the court, Dwight Howard felt Miami Heat players grabbing at his injured right arm. “They got me early,” he told Yahoo! Sports in the quiet of the Lakers locker room after Sunday’s 107-97 loss. “They would yank it back.” Howard said the Bobcats did the same thing in Charlotte Friday night – even worse, in fact. “It’s like a jolt,” he said. “Then it hurts the rest of the night.” This is the daily reality now for Dwight Howard, who no matter how publicly he is painted as soft, is playing with an injury that is not going away anytime soon. The torn labrum in his right shoulder is very real, and so is the pain. Howard says he’s trying to do everything he can on the court, but also adds: “I’m trying not to make [the injury] even worse.” When asked how long doctors say it might be before the pain goes away, Howard sighed. “No timetable,” he replied.