LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 30: Dwight Howard #12 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives against Eddy Curry #52 of the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center on October 30, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Since Dwight Howard became a Laker, his recovery from back surgery has been steeped in managing expectations.
At first, Howard was not expected to take the court until January. Then, Howard was not meant to play in the preseason. Now, the talk is about getting Howard back to 100 percent.
Against the Houston Rockets, Howard looked like he has taken a massive step forward. For a guy who puts himself at 75-80 percent, he sure looked like he could jump with the best of them. Howard collected all three of the Lakers' blocks on the night, and he excited Lakers fans by showing signs of his famed athleticism.
Among the various highlights, Howard finished off a Kobe Bryant alley-oop that had fans cheering. The big man was running the floor all night and throwing down dunks with authority. Howard ended the night with 28 points and 13 rebounds, leading the Lakers in both statistical categories.
Sunday’s win against Houston marked the fourth time in this young season that Howard has led the Lakers in scoring. Sunday night also marked the fifth time Howard has led the team in rebounding. After 10 games, Howard has led the team in both categories in the same game thrice.
Although Kobe Bryant earned deserved recognition for his triple-double, Dwight Howard’s noticeable physical progress had fans, teammates, and coaches watering at the mouth.
With new coach Mike D’Antoni bringing in a fast-paced offense to Los Angeles, Howard’s return to health should lead to more dunks and alley-oops. After Sunday’s win, Howard said, “Once we all get in great shape, it’s going to be tough for teams to play us, especially when we run that offense.”
Dwight Howard has recorded double-doubles in his last four games, and he’s been the top rebounder in each of the last four contests—for either team.
If Dwight Howard is currently only at 80 percent, the Lakers are going to be scary-good when Howard gets 20 percent better. Also, there is a minor matter of Steve Nash coming back…