The Lakers lost two straight road games last week, in Sacramento and Memphis, before a big win in Dallas.
Center Dwight Howard, who averaged just seven points and 6.5 rebounds over those two defeats, blamed himself.
“The two games before [Dallas], my energy wasn’t there,” Howard said. “For this team to be successful it doesn’t matter how many points I score or how many rebounds I get. As long as my energy is there on the defensive end and I’m active on the offensive end if I’m running, it just picks everybody up. My energy level has to stay high.”
Howard responded with a 15-point, seven-rebound game against the Mavericks in a big Lakers victory, 115-89. Howard’s defense was tremendous, represented in the box score with five steals and two blocked shots.
“I was upset at myself for the last two games before Dallas,” Howard said. “My energy level was very low and we can’t be successful that way.”
Howard has been recovering from offseason back surgery, and while he’s pain-free and healthy enough to play, stamina remains a concern.
“My energy and my activity have to be there every night for this team,” Howard said. “I’ve got to find other ways to score until everything is 100%. Until then, I have to do the best I can on the defensive end, bringing a lot of energy, being active, blocking shots, changing shots, getting steals, doing all the things that I can do to help this team win.”
The Lakers have a lighter week ahead with just three games, all at home (Indiana, Denver and Orlando).