The Los Angeles Lakers are heading into a highly-anticipated Christmas Day matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers with the Western Conference’s best record despite losing three consecutive games.
Dwight Howard has been one of the key pieces to this great 24-6 start with his rejuvenated attitude and defined role.
When Howard joined the Lakers on a non-guaranteed deal, it was because of his prior inability to accept a role and his overall perceived immaturity in the league. Howard quickly proved people wrong and continues to do so even if people are no longer surprised by his on-court production.
In yet another great Howard moment, he spoke about the Lakers-Clippers matchup on Christmas Day and how they simply need to view it as another game, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
“The championship is won in June — it’s not won on Christmas,” Dwight Howard said after the Nuggets, owners of the No. 2 record in the West, trounced the Lakers with a 73-51 second half Sunday. “This is not an ego test for us. We’re not trying to see who’s better right now. We want to make sure come playoff time that we’re the best team going into the playoffs and at the end of the playoffs that we’re the best team in the world. That’s the goal. That should be our mindset.
Howard also said the Lakers need to avoid playing with emotions as that style of play is what they believe lost them the first meeting with the Clippers:
“We can’t allow emotions to get in the way of what we’re trying to accomplish. I think we were super emotional in the first game, and it showed. So we can’t play with our emotions. We’ve got to play with our will and our purpose. And if we do that, we should win the game.”
First of all, Howard saying things like this should bring a smile to all Lakers fans as these are the kinds of statements that great role players make when it comes to their team.
In addition, Howard is completely right. The Lakers have fallen in their two biggest games during the 2019-20 NBA season — Opening Night against Clippers and the recent loss to the Milwaukee Bucks — in part because they let the game get away from them.
When at their best, this Lakers team is an easy championship contender. And to prove that, they’ll need to remain calm and composed against the Clippers on Christmas Day.
If they do that and can get the win, it could change a lot for this team’s outlook.