Wednesday Storylines

Dave Murphy —  March 13, 2013

Dwight Howard stepped to the free throw line and took a deep breath. Dwight stepped to the free throw line. The free throw line. The line. Again and again, 39 times, matching his total number of points. It’s a lot of times at the line. It’s a lot of points. It was his first trip back to a city where he had been much loved, a city that he jilted badly, awkwardly and way too many times before it was finally over – a long messy divorce in that messy way that divorces can be. There can be a fine line between being fouled for basketball reasons and being fouled for other reasons altogether. Sometimes the line isn’t there at all.

There’s guys that always have to clown around. Dwight’s one of them. He’s the kid in school that wants to make you laugh, the actor at the party who won’t stop after he manages to tell a good one. Dueling Shakespeare lines anyone? It’s just who he is and the fact that he came wrapped in an outsized package with outsized expectations further complicated things. Playing hurt and making excuses and telling jokes when it just wasn’t that cool anymore. Until he started playing according to the expectations of a major media market and the team started winning. We love our zany guy because he’s our zany guy. Winning cures all.

Adrian Wojnarowski for Yahoo Sports, on heckles, boos and broken hearts.

Dave McMenamin for ESPN considers a season full of Minesweeper distractions, now moving forward. Dave also reports on Pau Gasol’s rehab progress.

Lately, it has seemed as though Earl Clark is starting to hit the proverbial NBA wall. Ramona Shelburne from ESPN Los Angeles has the story.

Kevin Ding from the OCRegister on last night’s hostile environment and Dwight killing them with kindness.

Andy Kamenetzky from the Land O’Lakers likens the improved team chemistry to improv and theater situations.

Mike Bresnahan from the LATimes recaps Orlando – buried at the line.

Eric Pincus for the LATimes, previews tonight’s game against Atlanta.

Ben Rosales for Silver Screen and Roll and the flipping of the switch, a beast or burden story.

Aaron McGuire for Gothic Ginobili offers a stretch run primer including the idea of the Lakers targeting the sixth seed in the western conference.

Kirk Goldsberry for Grantland charts Kobe’s season as the structure of his game changes.

Elizabeth Benson for Lakers Nation on the big drama and the new normal.

***

Tonight’s the second night of a back-to-back, step right up folks, we got your tickets here. The Lakers are always a draw when the big top comes to town but there’s a new storyline now. The giant is awake and the national swivel-heads are starting to rethink this thing. The Atlanta Hawks are also on a back-to-back and a bit of a skid. Currently in seventh place in the east, they lost to Miami last night. Their starting point guard Jeff Teague rolled an ankle late in the third quarter and is listed as questionable. The Lakers arrive at an opportune time, looking to extend their win streak to five.

The Lakers comeback parade hasn’t turned into a bandwagon yet but it could. At the moment, it’s a fine line. The team has only just reached the lunatic fringes of a playoff bracket they were supposed to own. Seventeen games to go and we’re drawing beads on ducks in a gallery and hitting more than not. The lights in the cabin were turned low but a big man with a broad smile wasn’t done telling jokes and doing impressions. His teammates looked up occasionally and smiled with earbuds in. We love you man. Just don’t leave us until we’re ready for you to leave us. And keep winning. The night went dark and turned to day and night once again. And the banks of white light clicked on and bodies crashed and whistles blew. Dwight Howard stepped to the free throw line and took a deep breath.

Dave Murphy

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9 responses to Wednesday Storylines

  1. howard had monster game

  2. From the other thread:

    T. Rogers March 13, 2013 at 8:46 am Joe M,

    I don’t want Miami getting anywhere near the ’72 Lakers 33 wins in a row record. Someone needs to upend that team ASAP
    ________

    When the Miami team put themselves together, a lot of people speculated about 73-9. I don’t think that they will ever get that record, but I think they will try very hard to win 34 in a row. Remember that Riley was on the 1972 Lakers, so I am sure he would like the team he runs to own that record. Something to watch as the season winds down.

  3. The games Miami will have to win to get to 34:

    Tonight @ Philadelphia
    Friday @ Milwaukee
    Sun 17 @ Toronto
    Mon 18 @ Boston
    Wed 20 @ Cleveland
    Fri 22 vs Detroit
    Sun 24 vs Charlotte
    Mon 25 @ Orlando
    Wed 27 @ Chicago
    Fri 29 @ New Orleans
    Sun 31 @ San Antonio
    Tue 2 vs New York
    Fri 5 @ Charlotte
    Sat 6 vs Philadelphia
    Tue 9 vs Milwaukee

  4. dave m: we’ve got a ticket to ride and we don’t care? the beatles said it best.

    and yet it feels that way at this time of the season and giddiness comes to mind when there are tickets to be sold; everywhere and anywhere there are lakers coming to town. we saw quite a display from howard last night. kobe bryant, notwithstanding set the stage early and often for the new big fella. and that hasn’t been brandied about till now: big fella.

    and another big fella just coming around the bend in pau gasol; lingering fasciitis and all. although concern is for floor spacing; looks like coach d is looking forward to pau’s return and they’ll figure it out. these are veteran players and coaches, they’ll figure it out, sooner rather than later we hope.

    based on the newfound chemistry and overall laker play, can’t wait for another winnable game tonite vs them hawks over there in hot lanta.

    Go Lakers

  5. rr, I’m thinking the streak ends on this road trip. Boston on the second of a back-to-back works for me.

  6. dave h – when we get to the bottom we go back to the top of the slide.

  7. dave m: still lmao….and pretty much how the season’s progressed so far.

    now, does that dizzying circular 40 foot drop come in instant replay? and always looks good going backwards.

    Go Lakers

  8. They’re playing better, but I’ll never understand why D’antoni has nailed Ebanks to the bench. What gives? Ebanks isn’t even playing in blowouts!!!