Dwight Howard's first year with the Los Angeles Lakers has not gone as well as he would have liked. That has rarely been more apparent than in his post-game press conference on Friday after the Lakers sustained a 120-89 defeat to the San Antonio Spurs, their worst ever home playoff loss, in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals.
Howard told reporters "We can't make excuses" early on, but his responses from that point on ran contrary to that thinking. He initially lamented the Spurs' excellent offensive night as a product of the Lakers' defensive effort, saying, "Next game, we need to do a good job of not letting them get easy looks at the basket." But he later bristled at a question that brought up the Spurs' 61 percent shooting from the field.
"I don't think we allowed them to shoot 61 percent," Howard said. "DeJuan Blair's shooting Tony Parker floaters and making them. Guys are hitting shots and it's like, 'Dang, we can't catch a break.'" If that's not an excuse, it's certainly closer to one than it is to an admission of accountability.
Howard ended the presser on a sour note, too. Asked about whether Tiago Splitter's injury would motivate him and Pau Gasol to "dominate" in Game 4, Howard smirked, paused, and asked "Anybody got some better questions?" Without a response, Howard got up and walked out.
If there's solace for Howard to take from a lost season that seems destined to end on Sunday in Game 4, it probably lies at least in part on the likelihood that a playoff exit will keep him from answering questions, at least for a little while.
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