Former Laker Dwight Howard and Rockets eliminated by Trail Blazers

Rockets center Dwight Howard looks to score against Trail Blazers center Robin Lopez in the second half of their playoff game Friday night in Portland.
(Steve DiPaola / EPA)

Former Lakers center Dwight Howard and his Houston Rockets teammates were eliminated from the first round of the playoffs, 99-98, on Friday night when Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard made a three-point shot on an inbounds play at the buzzer.

Howard joined the Rockets in the off-season, declining a bigger contract offer to remain with the Lakers. The Rockets (54-28) captured the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference, while the Lakers (27-55) were decimated by injuries the entire season.

In Howard’s lone season with the Lakers, the team won 45 games but didn’t last long in the first round of the playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs after Kobe Bryant went down with a torn Achilles’ tendon one game before the regular-season finale.


Howard averaged 26.0 points, 13.7 rebounds and 2.83 blocks in six postseason games with the Rockets.

A number of former Lakers also made it to the postseason.

Trevor Ariza averaged 15.6 points a game for the Washington Wizards, shooting 49.1% from the field and 46.4% from three-point range, helping his team get past the Chicago Bulls in five games.

Andrew Bynum played two games for the Indiana Pacers, after signing late into the regular season, before succumbing once again to knee issues. The Pacers play the Atlanta Hawks in Game 7 at home on Saturday.

Matt Barnes (Clippers) will host Steve Blake (Golden State Warriors) on Saturday in one of five Game 7s to be played over the weekend.

The Lakers drafted Marc Gasol, but traded him to the Memphis Grizzlies for his brother Pau in 2008. The Grizzlies will try to defeat the Thunder in Oklahoma City in Game 7 on Saturday, but they’ll need to do so without Zach Randolph, who was suspended for the game because he threw a punch at rookie Steven Adams.

The Thunder have a pair of former Lakers in Derek Fisher and Caron Butler.

Chris Douglas-Roberts, who was in camp with the Lakers in 2012 and summer league in 2013, was knocked out of the postseason with the Charlotte Bobcats, victim of a sweep by the Miami Heat. Ex-Lakers Jannero Pargo and Josh McRoberts were also felled by Miami.

The Lakers also originally drafted Patrick Beverley in the second round of the 2009 NBA draft, but traded him the same day to the Heat. Beverley went down with Howard and Josh Powell, who won titles with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010, and the Rockets.

Finally, the Lakers also drafted Toney Douglas in 2009, trading him on draft night to the New York Knicks. Douglas has already advanced to the second round with Miami.


Poll: With Mike D’Antoni out, who should be the next Lakers coach?As Lakers prepare for coaching search, Ettore Messina could make list

Next Lakers coach? Sports book gives Steve Kerr, Derek Fisher the edge

Twitter: @EricPincus