Dwight Howard is Right to Criticize Lakers, Mike D'Antoni for Lack of Defensive Focus
Riding a wave of momentum, the Lakers came out flat and spoiled a five game winning streak by losing on the road to the Denver Nuggets, 114-126, and in turn dropping to 14-15 overall.
If it didn't pop out at you, take another gander at that final score. Those season high 126 points allowed came in just 48 minutes of play. There was no overtime, nor something like a 50 point explosion from the likes of Andre Iguodala or Danilo Gallinari. Instead, six Nuggets hit double digits, with Corey Brewer leading the way off the bench with a career high 27 points, and the Nuggets shot 45-94 (48%) from the field, and 12-22 (55%) from downtown.
126 points allowed is just unacceptable.
Prior to Howard's ejection, the Nuggets scored 21 points in the third quarter. Following his ejection, the Nuggets closed the quarter with another 18 points for a total of 38. For the quarter, the Nuggets shot 11-19 (58%) from the field, including 5-8 (63%) from deep.
Following the game, defense was a main theme from the post-game reporters.
Coach D'Antoni was the first to respond. When given a followup question regarding the offensive rebounds and defensive woes, D'Antoni was asked:
Reporter: "Was that a hustle thing or positioning thing, or a little bit of both?"
D'Antoni: "You'd have to ask them, I don't know. Whatever it was, we didn't come off the ball, and they did. Somebody did something, and we didn't do it."
D'Antoni's statement definitely seems to come off as a shot at his players. He deflects any personal blame by stating, "You'd have to ask them," and he doesn't offer any sort of schematic explanation as for why the woes occurred. Obviously, D'Antoni was not pleased with the defensive effort of his squad.
Next up was the most interesting post-game response from Howard.
Reporter: "We've been talking about this all season, the area of defense, what was plaguing you guys tonight on that end?"
Howard: "The pick and roll defense wasn't great tonight. The help wasn't there, the help the helper wasn't there. It just has to be better overall."
Reporter: "Those are things you have talked about a lot of times this season, what's the learning curve going on in regards to that?"
Howard: "Those guys gotta be in the right spots, and they have to be taught it. It has to be something that you practice on, so guys can understand [what] they have to go through. You can't just talk about defense, and talk about where to go, you actually gotta show guys where to go."
Dwight Howard definitely takes a shot at Mike D'Antoni with this statement. I guess Howard isn't too fond of D'Antoni being proud of practicing defense for half an hour. Howard shifts to the second person, referencing D'Antoni when he states, "You can't just talk about defense, and talk about where to go, you actually gotta show guys where to go." Clearly, Howard wants more focus on the defensive end, and he must feel that his coach isn't living up to the task of preparing the team with defensive
ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME. I CANT BELIEVE I WANTED THIS GUY HIRED. ARE YOU EFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFING KIDDING ME!!!!!!!!!