On Wednesday night, Kobe Bryant added another notch to his already full belt of achievements. The Lakers guard became the fifth player in NBA history to score 30,000 points and stands as the youngest to ever do it (though it took him the most games). At age 34, he joins a small group of elite – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlin – as the only players to reach the total. For comparison, Wilt was a year older when he reached the mark.
Yet, for all his offensive prowess, everyone isn’t smitten with Kobe’s play this season. Enter Dwight Howard.
Howard has insisted that free throws aren’t the reason the Lakers are struggling even though Howard has missed 108 of them so far…68 more than Blake Griffin who’s in second place. Let’s not forget that the Lakers got crushed on the boards in a loss to the Rockets.
While taking zero percent of the blame for the Lakers’ loss, Howard has done his best to make it look like Kobe’s lack of defense has been the problem. Last night in NOLA, Dwight screamed at the Black Mamba to help him on defense even though it wasn’t his duty to rotate over.
“I don’t have a problem with saying anything to anybody, and it should be that way,” Howard said after the Lakers’ victory over New Orleans. “We have to be able to talk to each other. We’re a team. We’re a family. And the more chemistry we develop that way, the better we’ll be as a team.”
“After two recent games Howard has complained about going over to help others on defense but no one rotating to help cover his man. Houston backup center Greg Smith had 21 points Tuesday night in a Lakers loss, and Howard attributed it to that ongoing problem.” [OC Register]
As we predicted earlier, this situation is getting combustible by the minute and Dwight still hasn’t committed to the Lakers long term. Remember the days when Bynum shooting threes was the worst of the Lakers’ center issues?