Is it time for the (short-lived) Dwight Howard era to end?
After last night’s blowout loss to the San Antonio Spurs, cementing the Lakers’ exit from the playoffs in an embarrassing sweep, columnist Bill Plaschke has some tough words for the highly-touted center.
“This is like a nightmare,” said Howard later. “This is like a bad dream and I couldn’t wake up out of it.”
Here’s how that nightmare can end. The Lakers don’t re-sign it. The Lakers walk out on Dwight Howard the way he walked out on them. The Lakers shake themselves awake after watching Howard’s pathetic performance Sunday and have the courage to move forward without him.
Yesterday’s loss marks the first time the Lakers have been swept in the opening round of the playoffs since 1967, something fans won’t forget as the team decides whether or not to re-sign Howard in the offseason.
So what do you say, Lakers faithful: Should the team stick by Howard, or move forward without him?
Photos: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times, Joe Klamar / AFP/Getty Images
Remembering Jerry Buss: Longtime L.A. Times sports columnist Bill Plaschke doesn’t hold back in his accolades for Lakers owner Buss, who passed away at the age of 80 yesterday.
Jerry Buss was one of the greatest owners in the history of professional sports, the creator of the most entertaining championship teams ever, a fearless pioneer who bonded a giant and disparate city under a brilliant blanket of purple and gold.
Look back at Buss’ life, weigh in on his impressive NBA legacy, or read the rest of Plaschke’s eulogy for the man who brought 10 championships to L.A.
(AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)
Getting Steve Nash is a steal for the Lakers: Lakers shouldn’t stop with the acquisition of the future Hall of Fame point guard. This makes them more attractive to Dwight Howard.
Photo: The Lakers sent point guard Derek Fisher packing in a trade earlier this season and have now brought in Steve Nash. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times
This felt like the end of a Lakers era: The playoff loss felt like more than the end of the season. For a team that is 9-13 in the last two postseasons, the question is “What now?”
Photo: Thunder point guard Derek Fisher gets past Lakers guard Kobe Bryant after faking a shot during Game 5 on Monday night in Oklahoma City. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times
Time-lapse video of changing the Lakers basketball court to the Kings ice rink.
Lakers miss the point in trading Derek Fisher: Fisher has lost more than a step on the court, but he was one of the Lakers’ leaders in the clubhouse and a buffer between Kobe Bryant and the rest of the team.
Photo: The Lakers traded veteran point guard Derek Fisher to the Houston Rockets on Thursday. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times
Comparing Lakers fans and Clippers fans — on the analyst’s couch: Of course, they’re different psychologically. For one thing, only one group needs its team to win. It’s all in the “locus of control.”
“Lakers fans are realists, while Clippers fans are optimists,” clinical psychologist Nancy Lee says, based on her professional interactions with followers of both franchises.
… “Lakers fans have an internal locus of control,” she says. “This means they feel responsible for their own destiny. They attribute success to hard work and perseverance.
“Clippers fans have a higher external locus of control. So they believe that fate, chance or luck determine events.”
Photo: Clippers and Lakers fans have different expectations — and reactions — when it comes to their teams’ accomplishments and failures. Credit: Gina Ferazzi, Jake Stevens / Los Angeles Times
June 14, 1987: The Lakers’ Magic Johnson sprays Champagne on teammates and photographers during a locker room celebration after beating the Celtics 106-93 and winning the NBA championship.
Photo credit: Michael Edwards / Los Angeles Times
Magic Johnson inspired Lakers’ Pau Gasol in more ways than one: Long before he became an NBA star, Gasol wanted to be a doctor. He was 11, and Johnson had just announced he had the AIDS virus. Though basketball is his life, Gasol’s interest in medicine hasn’t waned.
Photo: Lakers forward Pau Gasol observes a surgery by Dr. David Skaggs at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Credit: Lori Shepler
Ron Artest filed paperwork to legally change his name to Metta World Peace.
Photo: The Lakers forward disagrees with a referee’s call during a playoff game against the New Orleans Hornets. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times
Remember this? Broderick Turner reports that Artest won’t be able to change his name just yet. Why? “Outstanding traffic warrants.”
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A funny thing happened to Ron Artest, columnist Bill Plaschke writes. First he changed his name, now he’s hosting a comedy tour.
“I changed my name because I got tired of Ron Artest, he’s a [expletive],” said Metta World Peace. “And when fans get mad at me, they can’t say, ‘I hate World Peace.’ “
Wanting to give World Peace a chance, I met the Lakers forward in his first public appearance since he petitioned to legally change his name earlier this summer. We shook hands and I called him Ron. I didn’t use his new first name because, frankly, I had no idea which part was his first name.
“World Peace is going on the back of my jersey, so Metta is my first name,” he said. “It’s Buddhist, but I’m Baptist.”
Photo: Artest made his comedy debut Friday night at the Improv Hollywood. Credit: Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times
How a city reached its limit with the Dodgers: Los Angeles’ love for the Dodgers was unconditional for four decades. But their grip on L.A. began to slip in 1998, and now their popularity is in free-fall. How did this happen, and can they get it back?
Illustration: Once known as a Dodgers town, the Lakers have become the team of preference in L.A. Credit: Paul Rogers / For The Times