Dwight Howard tells those criticizing him to settle down

Dwight Howard wants his critics to relax a little.
(Harry How / Getty Images)

NEW YORK -- Dwight Howard has a message for anybody criticizing him.

Settle down.

The Lakers center wanted to remind everybody he was still not 100%.

“I wasn’t even supposed to be playing until January and I’m playing now. What do you expect?” he said after the Lakers’ shoot-around Thursday afternoon. They play the New York Knicks tonight.


Howard has been criticized because of his inaccurate free-throw shooting and also for some subpar games on offense, most recently a three-for-nine shooting effort Tuesday in the Lakers’ 100-94 loss to Cleveland.

Howard reminded people who “expected me to be high-flying” that he had back surgery last April to repair a herniated disk.

“I’m not in terrific shape,” he said. “I’m still working through that. I have a long way to go. Only thing I can do is continue to play as hard as I can.”

Meanwhile, the Lakers will be without Pau Gasol a sixth consecutive game because of knee tendinitis. They are 1-4 without him and searching for answers.

Two Lakers greats -- Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson-- even had a recent phone conversation, Bryant revealed Thursday. The presumed topic: what to do with the Lakers, who are 9-13 overall, 2-7 on the road.

Johnson has been a vocal critic of Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni’s push-the-pace offense. Johnson also wants D’Antoni to create more activity for Gasol near the basket.


Reporter links

Delonte West

to the Lakers

A top-five seed may already be out of reach for the Lakers

Kobe Bryant talks Lakers’ struggles with Stephen A. Smith, Part 1